818: My Planet by Mary Roach

by Gerard


818.602: Roach, Mary. My Planet: Finding Humor in the Oddest Places. New York: Reader’s Digest, 2013. 160 pp. ISBN 978-1-62145-071-9.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 800: Literature
  • 810: American literature in English
  • 818: American miscellaneous writings in English
  • 818.6: Written after 2000
  • +02: Miscellany

Mary Roach is one of the most quirky, witty, and amazing writers I have ever read. For me, she ranks up there with John Hodgman, Dave Barry, and Simon Winchester. She’s so much fun, in fact, that I have four books by her planned for this quest. Her latest book, My Planet, is a collection of 62 of her columns previously written for Reader’s Digest. They explore her world—everything from dishwashers to paint chips to RV vacations to makeup and beyond.

Roach’s slant way of looking at life yields a ton more pleasure most people’s. After buying a Touchless Trashcan and finding that it open at random intervals when she passes, she theorizes that it simply wants a conversation or a hug. She wonders aloud why certain cold medicines contains both an expectorant and a cough suppressant, leaving her trapped phlegm is an endless, internal loop of despair. While at a new container store, she muses on the possibility of our civilization reaching a point where we’ll need containers for our containers. And so on.

This is a good, slim volume of funny asides. It can easily serve as a bathroom reader or a nightstand book, around when you need a few pages to divert your attention. Although, you can just as easily (much like me) devour the whole thing in 3 hours, giddily laughing along while your wife thinks you’re slowly going insane. An absolutely fun book.