A thoroughly unique mind.
Authors you love even through their books that you don't.

A solid Mary Roach read.

Mary Roach is known for her accessible and, at times, even quite humorous science writing--she made a big splash with her first title, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, and she's been quite popular ever since.

I really enjoy accessible science writing (frankly, science has to be made accessible if I want a chance in hell of even vaguely understanding it) and I find it just plain takes a good writer to make science (and most nonfiction, really) understandable, so these types of "popular" science books are usually very good reads.* Sadly, though, I wasn't all that turned on by Roach's previous two titles, Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife and Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex. But I was very, very pleased with her latest, Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void.

Mars Space exploration and travel to the moon is one of those subjects I never seek out consciously, but which I often enjoy reading about serendipitously. (One of my favorite books ever to index was In the Shadow of the Moon, about the evolution of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs) I never would have picked up Roach's book based on its subject, but I blew threw it in a couple of dedicated nights of wee-small-hours reading, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

I didn't bookmark anything for quoting; Roach's style is best taken as a whole. And yes, she did put in the obligatory chapter about sexual intercourse and weightlessness, but I'll tell you what the really interesting chapter was: how NASA went about trying to solve the problem of astronaut, ahem, elimination. And I don't mean being cut from the program. I mean the problem of trying to poo in (early in the program) plastic baggies or (later in the program) a toilet that could handle waste without letting fecal matter out to circulate through the cabin. Now THAT was the money chapter, in my opinion. 

*I realize, in a funky ironic twist, that this sentence itself is barely understandable. See? Good writing is hard!