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Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law

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What’s to be done about a jaywalking moose? A bear caught breaking and entering? A murderous tree? Three hundred years ago, animals that broke the law would be assigned legal representation and put on trial. The answers are best found not in jurisprudence but in science: the curious science of human-wildlife conflict, a discipline at the crossroads of human behavior and wi What’s to be done about a jaywalking moose? A bear caught breaking and entering? A murderous tree? Three hundred years ago, animals that broke the law would be assigned legal representation and put on trial. The answers are best found not in jurisprudence but in science: the curious science of human-wildlife conflict, a discipline at the crossroads of human behavior and wildlife biology. Roach tags along with animal-attack forensics investigators, human-elephant conflict specialists, bear managers, and "danger tree" faller blasters. Intrepid as ever, she travels from leopard-terrorized hamlets in the Indian Himalaya to St. Peter’s Square in the early hours before the pope arrives for Easter Mass, when vandal gulls swoop in to destroy the elaborate floral display. She taste-tests rat bait, learns how to install a vulture effigy, and gets mugged by a macaque. Combining little-known forensic science and conservation genetics with a motley cast of laser scarecrows, langur impersonators, and trespassing squirrels, Roach reveals as much about humanity as about nature’s lawbreakers. When it comes to "problem" wildlife, she finds, humans are more often the problem—and the solution. Fascinating, witty, and humane, Fuzz offers hope for compassionate coexistence in our ever-expanding human habitat.


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What’s to be done about a jaywalking moose? A bear caught breaking and entering? A murderous tree? Three hundred years ago, animals that broke the law would be assigned legal representation and put on trial. The answers are best found not in jurisprudence but in science: the curious science of human-wildlife conflict, a discipline at the crossroads of human behavior and wi What’s to be done about a jaywalking moose? A bear caught breaking and entering? A murderous tree? Three hundred years ago, animals that broke the law would be assigned legal representation and put on trial. The answers are best found not in jurisprudence but in science: the curious science of human-wildlife conflict, a discipline at the crossroads of human behavior and wildlife biology. Roach tags along with animal-attack forensics investigators, human-elephant conflict specialists, bear managers, and "danger tree" faller blasters. Intrepid as ever, she travels from leopard-terrorized hamlets in the Indian Himalaya to St. Peter’s Square in the early hours before the pope arrives for Easter Mass, when vandal gulls swoop in to destroy the elaborate floral display. She taste-tests rat bait, learns how to install a vulture effigy, and gets mugged by a macaque. Combining little-known forensic science and conservation genetics with a motley cast of laser scarecrows, langur impersonators, and trespassing squirrels, Roach reveals as much about humanity as about nature’s lawbreakers. When it comes to "problem" wildlife, she finds, humans are more often the problem—and the solution. Fascinating, witty, and humane, Fuzz offers hope for compassionate coexistence in our ever-expanding human habitat.

30 review for Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law

  1. 5 out of 5

    Petra X has the munchies

    I've read quite a few Mary Roach books. All 3 or 4 stars, none of them ever quite hit the heights for me and eventually I got bored with her light-touch pop science writing that had plenty of humour and not enough science. This book is different, and not at all like her other books. There is still humour, but it is minimal, and there is plenty of deep investigation and science. Essentially the book is about plants and animals that are seriously dangerous to people. I have the two most dangerous I've read quite a few Mary Roach books. All 3 or 4 stars, none of them ever quite hit the heights for me and eventually I got bored with her light-touch pop science writing that had plenty of humour and not enough science. This book is different, and not at all like her other books. There is still humour, but it is minimal, and there is plenty of deep investigation and science. Essentially the book is about plants and animals that are seriously dangerous to people. I have the two most dangerous plants in the world growing in my garden. I knew they were poisonous but not that much! One is a tree whose little seeds we call jumbie beads. They are very pretty, shiny scarlet with a big black dot, lovely for jewellery and in the book they are rosary beads. Abrus pecatorius is the botanical name and they are deadly. The other is the castor oil plant. That is where ricin comes from. There is a picture of me (taken a while back when my grass hadn't been cut - grass here grows 6' or 7' tall if it isn't cut every couple of weeks) behind a young one. They have very pretty fuzzy red pods when mature. No one plants them here, they are weeds. The book discusses which method of preparation leads to the most deadly poison from the plants! Since I can't read yet, my eye sees a white veil dotted with tiny black dots , I'm listening to this. I'm getting used to audio, but it's not as good as print.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    A few years ago my partner and I were hiking in a state park in Maryland. Because it makes me feel free to pee in the woods my bladder is weak, I had to heed the call of nature about half way through our hike.  I moved off the path, checking the ground for poison ivy (I made that mistake once and it's not one I'd like to make again). Finding a clear spot, I squatted.  When I pee in the woods, I scan all around in case someone is coming. I don't know why because if I can see them, they can see me a A few years ago my partner and I were hiking in a state park in Maryland. Because it makes me feel free to pee in the woods my bladder is weak, I had to heed the call of nature about half way through our hike.  I moved off the path, checking the ground for poison ivy (I made that mistake once and it's not one I'd like to make again). Finding a clear spot, I squatted.  When I pee in the woods, I scan all around in case someone is coming. I don't know why because if I can see them, they can see me and once my pants are down around my ankles, well....  So anyway, there I was squatting and feeling free and looking all around. Suddenly, a large black furry thing entered the periphery of my vision. Bear! my mind screamed! I don't know for sure but I think my pee stopped mid-stream.  "S!" I whisper-yelled. "S! There's a bear! Right behind us!" S looked around and, city dweller that she is, said, "Are you sure? It's probably a dog." "YES!" I whisper-screamed again. "I'm sure! It's a bear, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!"  I stood, pulling up my pants, ready to flee. The big, furry bear came running in our direction, passing a couple yards away. Abruptly, perhaps catching our scent, it came to a halt and turned around. "I think you're right, Jenna," S said (now also in a whisper). "Dogs don't run that fast!" When I get scared, I tend to laugh maniacally and shout "fuck" over and over.  "Ha, ha, FUCK, ha haaaa!" I cackled, forgetting to whisper-yell.  With that, the bear suddenly rose, higher and higher and higher. Black bears, when standing upright, are between five and seven feet tall. In my memory, however, this was a giant bear, looming twenty feet above us.  "Oh my god, fuck, ha, ha, ha. Fuck!"  "Shhh! What should we do?" S hissed, motioning for me to keep my voice down. My mind went from panic to 'take-control-of-the-situation' mode. I recalled having heard that when confronted by a bear, you should make a lot of noise and make yourself appear larger.  Waving my arms in the air, I started yelling "Whoooooo!!!!! GRRRRRRR! EeeeeyAAAAAAhhhh! Boom, boom BOOOM!". The confused bear did not turn and run. Instead, it kept looking at us, at me, no doubt wondering what the fuck I was doing and why I didn't realise I just looked like an idiot. "Oh, fuck, ha, haaa, haaa! S, I don't think it's working! Ha, haaa, haaa-fuck!" I turned around to see S holding a log, yes, a freaking log, above her head. I don't know how she managed to do that; it must be like in those stories you hear of women lifting entire cars off a child. Her fear gave her strength, whereas mine just made me laugh and curse like a crazy person.  It made me feel safer to see her with that log, even though I figured it wouldn't do jack-shit to stop the bear if it decided to eat us. It continued to stare at us, nose sniffing the air.  "S!", I whisper-yelled, the shouts not having worked. "I think we need to run!".  We had seen how fast that bear could go, much faster than us, but I didn't know what else to do. Not only can bears run fast, they can shimmy up a tree in seconds. We took off racing in the opposite direction. S, with the hundred pound log above her head, instructed me to call for help.  "Ha, ha, ha! Who do I call, fuck! I don't know who to call, ha hah, haaaa!" Of course, even if I'd known who to call, it's not like anyone could get to us, a few miles up the trail. There wasn't time for a ranger to come and stop that bear from mauling us if it decided it'd had enough of my antics. We weren't in the city after all, with a police station just around the corner. We ran and ran, S with her log and me giggling and cursing, all those miles back to civilization. Near the beginning of the trail, a woman was walking towards us. Knowing we must appear like lunatics, I tried to explain. "BEAR! Bear ahead!" I managed to get out. I hope she didn't get eaten because she continued on, looking at us like we'd escaped from an asylum. Well, if she was eaten, it's not my fault. She shouldn't judge crazy-looking women fleeing the woods, even if they're laughing hysterically or running with a twenty foot log above their head.  Thankfully we didn't get eaten, though it was no thanks to me. Maybe S saved us with that log or, more likely, the bear never had any intention of bothering us.  Had Mary Roach published her book Fuzz a few years ago, I might have known not to act like I did. As she explains, you only need to make noise and attempt to look larger if a bear's ears are lying flat. Our bear had no intention of messing with us.  Of course, if I ever see a bear again, I'll still be scared and unable to control my laughing and cursing. When you suddenly encounter a large animal in the woods, it's kinda hard not to be scared. You're reminded that we humans are pretty damn weak.  Ok, let's talk about the book. Mary Roach is, as always, entertaining, writing in a lighthearted way about things that aren't all that lighthearted.  We humans like to think we're above nature and everything should bow to us. Animals should stay out of our environments, even as we take more and more of theirs. Plants should know which ones are weeds and stop growing where they're unwanted. We use all kinds of methods to rid our world of life we don't like.  Mary Roach travels around the world talking to people whose jobs it is to control animal populations and "keep them in their place". They're nature's "fuzz", the police of the natural world.  At times it was difficult to read and it's not as funny as Ms. Roach's previous books. Some of the methods of curtailing animal populations or dealing with "killer" animals are downright cruel.  However, in India, where gods and goddesses often take the form of animals, attitudes about animals are different than in the west. I enjoyed reading about the way they handle and think about elephants and macaques. The macaques are especially amusing and she related one story about a macaque that got into a medical center and took to pulling the IVs from patients' arms to drink the glucose water. I suppose it wasn't so amusing to the patients and nurses....  In the west, many people are now calling for more humane methods than previously used, or are content to reside alongside other animals. Hopefully in the future, we'll stop killing animals just because they're somewhere we don't want them to be. As Ms. Roach sensibly points out, "Supermarkets and chain stores don’t poison shoplifters; they come up with better ways to outsmart them." There are lots of fun facts in this book, including facts about scat and how to identify not just the animal it came from, but its health, its gender, the number in the area, and more. Ms Roach added drawings of big cat scat and I amused myself by noting the similarities to my Chloe's poo (very similar to that of a lion and a bobcat, but not as long. You're welcome.) I had to skip over a few of the more disturbing ways we "handle pests" but for the most part, enjoyed learning many new things in this book. And if I encounter another bear in the future, hopefully I'll remain calm, appreciate its beauty, and take a selfie. Unless those ears go down and then...... Ha haa haaaa fuck!!!!!!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    Man vs. Nature. As we encroach further and further into territories once the feeding grounds of wild animals, clashes are inevitable, which is the focus of this book. Not just animals but threatening plants and invasive species are also discussed. Roach travels all over the world investigating the mitigation efforts that are being employed by various cultures in an attempt to protect people as well as animals. My favorite parts were the bears in Colorado, though I admit I can find them fascinatin Man vs. Nature. As we encroach further and further into territories once the feeding grounds of wild animals, clashes are inevitable, which is the focus of this book. Not just animals but threatening plants and invasive species are also discussed. Roach travels all over the world investigating the mitigation efforts that are being employed by various cultures in an attempt to protect people as well as animals. My favorite parts were the bears in Colorado, though I admit I can find them fascinating because I don't live where I would run into any. They infiltrate houses, stealing food, they can open the refrigerator, take out a carton of eggs and remove the eggs one by one. Monkeys that hold cell phone hostages until they are given food by the tourists. Yellow eyed penguins, only found in New Zealand that are now in danger of extinction. Much information in this book, sometimes a little too much, but as always her research seems impeccable. Her trademark humor is inserted here and there but not as much as in some of her works. ARC by Edelweiss.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Olive Fellows (abookolive)

    Click here to hear my thoughts on this book over on my Booktube channel, abookolive. The topic of Mary Roach’s eighth (!) book is human-wildlife conflict, or, what problems arise when humans and the natural world attempt to co-exist in the same spaces. She discusses things like using forensic work to deduce whether or not a wild animal was responsible for an attack on a human, elephants destroying rice crops, and even using gene modification to drive a pest species into extinction. It’s an entert Click here to hear my thoughts on this book over on my Booktube channel, abookolive. The topic of Mary Roach’s eighth (!) book is human-wildlife conflict, or, what problems arise when humans and the natural world attempt to co-exist in the same spaces. She discusses things like using forensic work to deduce whether or not a wild animal was responsible for an attack on a human, elephants destroying rice crops, and even using gene modification to drive a pest species into extinction. It’s an entertaining book, but doesn’t avoid the normal hangups associated with her work (see the above video for more on that).

  5. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    Any reader who stumbles upon the work of Mary Roach may begin by being baffled, but is soon enthralled to learn some of these little-known scientific discoveries or actions being taken around the world. In this latest book, Roach explores the world of animals and their ‘bothersome activities’, as well as how humans have come to react. While it may seem odd at first, once the reader gets into the book, it becomes apparent what has been going on, even if some of the human reactions are unique or d Any reader who stumbles upon the work of Mary Roach may begin by being baffled, but is soon enthralled to learn some of these little-known scientific discoveries or actions being taken around the world. In this latest book, Roach explores the world of animals and their ‘bothersome activities’, as well as how humans have come to react. While it may seem odd at first, once the reader gets into the book, it becomes apparent what has been going on, even if some of the human reactions are unique or downright far-fetched. Peppering the narrative with great editorialising and some humour, Roach pens another winner that will educate while entertaining the curious reader. Murder is rampant in the animal kingdom, and not just among animals. Roach uses the first few chapters of her book to explore how animals and humans have come to collide and the results when humans straw the short straw. From bears roaming around in forests and mountain ranges in Canada to trampling elephants in rural India, animals have taken their share of victims over the last number of years. It’s such an issue that there are reactionary teams tasked with tracking down the offending animals and, at times relocating them, though capital punishment is not always off the table as well. Human-animal interactions have long occurred outside the traditional hunting mindset and the results, when humans are not properly equipped, can be downright devastating. Roach also takes readers on an interesting exploration of how smaller animals, fowl and four-legged, have caused havoc in a variety of ways. From flying buzzards who end up in the engines of planes to small rodents who target farmers’ fields, Roach documents the ways in which animals have come to become more of a pest than their beauty offsets. While she cannot always surmise a rational reason, she shows that there are many scientists working around the world to study or offer countermeasures, some of which are truly alarming, if you pardon the pun. Part human invasion on animal terrain, part curiosity on the part of creatures, Roach has the reader chuckling as they push through these chapters with glee. Discussion of humane ways in which humans have come to rid themselves of these pests is at the forefront of the discussion, though Roach saves it for the latter chapters. While the types of reactionary measures humans have when ‘pushing back’ against anima,s is almost inexhaustible, there has to be a degree of humanity, so as not to turn culling into torture. Roach takes the time to explore this, from use of glue traps to tasers designed to stun an animal. Technology has allowed a number of new products to flood the market, many of which take humanity into account. However, there are still those who prefer the ways of their ancestors, which may include arcane items sure to kill or mortally maim an animal and send it into agony for the hours it will take to succumb. Another perspective few take into account, but a formidable area for education. As with many of her other books, Roach presents her findings in a serious manner, while added some frivolity to the experience. This helps offset some of the darker or more troubling sections of the narrative, as well as permitting many readers to visualise that which they have not seen before. Roach writes in such a way that the narrative becomes a well-painted picture of what she is trying to express. Organising her findings in clear chapters helps to keep the reader engaged without drowning in too many details. Still, there’s something to be said about how vast the subject matter proves to be, as Roach is able to fill her book with anecdotes and lived experiences, not simply research she culled from books over the years. With a light-hearted presentation, Roach has made yet another reading experience one that I enjoyed and left me wondering where she will take readers next. Wherever that might be, I am happy to have a front row seat! Kudos, Madam Roach, for another stellar exploration on some of the lesser-known scientific areas of everyday life. I applaud you for your efforts and cannot recommend you enough to the curious reader. Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at: http://pecheyponderings.wordpress.com/ A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Fuzz: ….a mass of short, curly hairs. Or ….to make or become fuzzy ….. Mary Roach gets us thinking about things we didn’t realize we need to think about. It’s hard to resist a Mary Roach book— She’s the most endearing scientist/author I know. (Three times we’ve met). When details flew over my head; I certainly didn’t understand everything— but Mary Roach managed to stimulate my thinking anyway…. ABOUT BIZARRE subjects—that seems less bizarre, after she kick-starts our thinking— on a new brain path. Fuzz: ….a mass of short, curly hairs. Or ….to make or become fuzzy ….. Mary Roach gets us thinking about things we didn’t realize we need to think about. It’s hard to resist a Mary Roach book— She’s the most endearing scientist/author I know. (Three times we’ve met). When details flew over my head; I certainly didn’t understand everything— but Mary Roach managed to stimulate my thinking anyway…. ABOUT BIZARRE subjects—that seems less bizarre, after she kick-starts our thinking— on a new brain path. Inside FUZZ … we read about Bears, elephants, leopards, (and ‘why’ they’re man-eaters)… Monkey’s (birth control possibilities?) Cougars, what animals eat, what they drink, how they sleep, and their many varied behaviors…. Along with meeting some folks who work for wildlife agencies. Elephants for example are vegetarian‘s. They like grains,grass, leaves, stems, twigs, bark, etc But Indian elephants won’t eat tea leaves. (too bitter). Ha, most humans don’t like to eat tea leaves either. So, along with learning about predatory behaviors—from our fuzzy friends (behaviors and feelings, etc)…. we also learn a little bit more about our human friends (some very caring), but animal cruelty, is ‘not’ fuzzy! Take for example…. Mary teaches us that suggested progressive USDA Wildlife Services operators give to property who call because they want a mountain lion killed for preying on their livestock or pets. Mary asks…. “What if Wildlife Services made these things a requirement rather than a suggestion? Better yet, what if they arranged and paid for the brush-clearing or the enclosures to be built? What if non-progressive operators had to start being progressive? Mary says…. “Let’s just say the ship is slow to turn. But it’s turning”. Mary Roche said: “I met a lot of good intelligent people at these agencies, professionals who saw their job as protecting people and animals both. But because of the financial model, it can be hard to set aside the nagging sense that institutional priorities are at play. The money is coming from hunters, to a large degree— and that makes it hard for agencies to win the trust of everyone else. (And creates perplexing mottoes like ‘Support Nevada’s Wildlife’. . . Buy a Hunting and Fishing License)” When a bear harms or kills a person, the state wildlife agency may be held liable, and bears, unlike planes, aren’t generating the revenue it would take to cover the costs. There were a couple of lawsuits recently, one in Utah and another in Arizona, where large payouts to families of the victims were paid out. We learn about how hunting alters behavior of the hunted…. and how hunting perpetuates fear and avoidance of humans…. … we learned about inebriated bull elephants (I kid you not)… and the horrors of elephants who electrocuted… Etc etc etc. and shhhh “how animals break the law”…. The human-wildlife squabbles are important… Both humans and animals need healthy boundaries. Mary Roach offers up her knowledge- research - her funny bone - her humbleness—all with the intention to deepening our understanding….animal wildlife. We are blessed with Mary’s fuzzy compassionate humanity and teachings. It’s impossible not to admire this woman.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Melki

    Humorous science writer Mary Roach's latest book involves the "crimes" committed against mankind by an unlikely culprit - nature. From animals who bite the hands that shouldn't be feeding them to trees that have the audacity to fall on people . . . we are surrounded by impolite lawbreakers. Roach is one of my absolute favorite nonfiction authors, but this book left me feeling unsatisfied, and pretty depressed. Her usual witty quips don't really work here when we discover that most encounters be Humorous science writer Mary Roach's latest book involves the "crimes" committed against mankind by an unlikely culprit - nature. From animals who bite the hands that shouldn't be feeding them to trees that have the audacity to fall on people . . . we are surrounded by impolite lawbreakers. Roach is one of my absolute favorite nonfiction authors, but this book left me feeling unsatisfied, and pretty depressed. Her usual witty quips don't really work here when we discover that most encounters between humans and hungry animals don't end well for the critters. Unhappy subject matter aside, this book seems padded, packed full of irrelevant tidbits to stretch it to book length. I also couldn't help comparing Roach's book to one on the same subject matter that I enjoyed much more - Animals Behaving Badly: Boozing Bees, Cheating Chimps, Dogs with Guns, and Other Beastly True Tales If you want a quick sum-up, it is this - Feeding wild animals is the quickest path to conflict.

  8. 5 out of 5

    karen

    review to come! review to come!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Krista

    When I first paged through (The Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals), I wondered if it might be an ambitious hoax. Here were bears formally excommunicated from the Church. Slugs given three warnings to stop nettling farmers, under penalty of “smiting.” But the author, a respected historian and linguist, quickly wore me down with a depth of detail gleaned from original documents, nineteen of which are reproduced in their original languages in a series of appendices. We have the When I first paged through (The Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals), I wondered if it might be an ambitious hoax. Here were bears formally excommunicated from the Church. Slugs given three warnings to stop nettling farmers, under penalty of “smiting.” But the author, a respected historian and linguist, quickly wore me down with a depth of detail gleaned from original documents, nineteen of which are reproduced in their original languages in a series of appendices. We have the itemized expense report of a French bailiff, submitted in 1403 following the murder trial of a pig (“cost of keeping her in jail, six sols parisis”). We have writs of ejectment issued to rats and thrust into their burrows. From a 1545 complaint brought by vintners against a species of greenish weevil, we have not only the names of the lawyers but early examples of that time-honored legal tactic, the stall. As far as I could tell, the proceedings dragged on eight or nine months — in any case, longer than the lifespan of a weevil. I present all this not as evidence of the silliness of bygone legal systems but as evidence of the intractable nature of human-wildlife conflict — as it is known today by those who grapple with it professionally. The question has defied satisfactory resolution for centuries: What is the proper course when nature breaks laws intended for people? I like Mary Roach: I like the enthusiasm she brings to her research, I like her voice and her compassion, her globe-trotting travel writing and her gentle humour. But I don’t know if I love her books: Whenever I see a new release, I think, “Oh yeah, I like Mary Roach”, but I’ve never given one of her books more than three stars. When I saw that Fuzz was available on NetGalley, I once again said, “Oh, yes please”, and again, three stars (which, in my reckoning, is a solid read, just not life-altering). I’m sure I will read Roach again — I will always think of her as an author I like — and for other readers who like her, I’ve no doubt they’ll like this book, too. (Note: I read an ARC through NetGalley and passages quoted may not be in their final forms.) Animals don’t follow laws, they follow instincts. Almost without exception, the wildlife in these pages are simply animals doing what animals do: feeding, shitting, setting up a home, defending themselves or their young. They just happen to be doing these things to, or on, a human, or that human’s home or crops. Nonetheless the conflicts exist, creating dilemmas for people and municipalities, hardships for wildlife, and material for someone else’s unusual book. Between that opening bit about the history of people suing animals and the publisher’s blurb (What’s to be done about a jaywalking moose? A bear caught breaking and entering? A murderous tree? ), I thought this book was going to be quite a bit weirder than it actually is. What Fuzz actually entails is Mary Roach joining wildlife officers around the world as they try to find the most humane methods of preventing animals from inconveniencing the humans who have decided to build a home in the animals’ territory. This can involve hunting, trapping and relocating, poisoning, and at the cutting edge of wildlife control, gene-editing. The stories, and the overall format of Roach learning something and seeing where that leads to next, became a little samey-same, but it was consistently interesting (except for maybe where the chapter about “killer trees” — in which Roach joined some arborists as they lopped the tops off of dead Douglas firs on Vancouver Island — led into a chapter on the killing potential of castor beans and rosary peas; semi-interesting but felt really off topic.) As always, Roach is an interesting storyteller with an offbeat sense of humour: • I collect my lunch sack and follow along behind a small group of conservation officers heading to the lawn outside. Their leather hiking boots squeak as they walk. “So she looks in her rearview mirror,” one is saying, “and there’s a bear in the back seat, eating popcorn.” When wildlife officers gather at a conference, the shop talk is outstanding. Last night I stepped onto the elevator as a man was saying, “Ever tase an elk?” • The tiny bodega isn’t so much ransacked as flattened. A wall of corrugated steel lies crumpled beneath a concrete support beam. On another occasion, an elephant broke into Padma’s home while she slept. This is a place where “the elephant in the room” is not a metaphor, where elephant jokes are no joke. What time is it when an elephant sits on your fence? Probably around 11: 00 p.m. • “And there is the border with Italy!” I follow Tornini’s gaze to the massive wall that surrounds the Holy See. A gull glides over. There’s your symbol of peace, I think to myself. A bird, any bird, soaring over walls, ignoring borders! Peace, freedom, unity! It’s possible I’ve had too many espressos. And, of course, I learned plenty: “Gooney bird” comes from the term used by the US military for the albatrosses that live on Guam and would fly into jet engines; birds’ innards will not explode if they eat raw rice at weddings (just note the birds that help themselves to rice growing in farmers’ fields); “compensatory reproduction” describes the process by which species will increase their litters and broods to make up for numbers lost to mass culling. Roach always introduces interesting vocabulary and some of my favourite new words were: frass (insect excreta), snarge (the remains of a bird after it has collided with an airplane), kronism (the eating of one’s own offspring). For centuries, people have killed trespassing wildlife — or brought in someone to do it for them — without compunction and with scant thought to whether it’s done humanely. We have detailed protocols for the ethical treatment and humane “euthanizing” of laboratory rats and mice, but no formal standards exist for the rodents or raccoons in our homes and yards. We leave the details to the exterminators and the “wildlife control operators,” the latter a profession that got rolling when the bottom dropped out of the fur market and trappers realized they could make better money getting squirrels out of people’s attics. It’s probably not surprising that Roach comes down on the side of the animals everywhere they come in conflict with humans; not only are the critters just doing what critters do (and rarely are they doing as much harm to humans as the media likes to portray), but short of driving a species to extinction, we’re not very good at managing animal numbers or behaviours. This really isn’t the book I expected it to be (the subtitle about nature “breaking the law” is kind of misleading) but I enjoyed myself and learned some things; I will read Mary Roach again.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Montzalee Wittmann

    Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law by Mary Roach I love Mary Roach's books! I always learn, laugh, get a little grossed out, and am surprised by her tenacity. In this book we find out how different animals and plants are a danger to us but we are the ones to blame. She doesn't say that but when you look at each situation and scenario, man has encroached on, pushed out, or starved out native animals. Encounters are inevitable. Other situations too cause interactions such as garbage. I found the tree s Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law by Mary Roach I love Mary Roach's books! I always learn, laugh, get a little grossed out, and am surprised by her tenacity. In this book we find out how different animals and plants are a danger to us but we are the ones to blame. She doesn't say that but when you look at each situation and scenario, man has encroached on, pushed out, or starved out native animals. Encounters are inevitable. Other situations too cause interactions such as garbage. I found the tree section a bit boring and a lot of other sections have been covered on nature shows but she goes beyond this. She goes to a class to figure out how to tell if a human, bear, or cougar killed a person based on the marks on the body! Like I said, tenacity!

  11. 4 out of 5

    La Crosse County Library

    It's been awhile since I've read a Mary Roach book, and I definitely missed it! Fuzz lived up to the science and the hype in every way. Covering a wealth of animal-human conflicts, the author offers a broad amount of information in fascinating detail, and one mustn't skip the footnotes, which are just as full of humor as they are history and science. From bears, coyotes, and mountain lions to tigers and macaques to albatross and mice - even trees! -Fuzz covers quite a lofty amount of animal-human It's been awhile since I've read a Mary Roach book, and I definitely missed it! Fuzz lived up to the science and the hype in every way. Covering a wealth of animal-human conflicts, the author offers a broad amount of information in fascinating detail, and one mustn't skip the footnotes, which are just as full of humor as they are history and science. From bears, coyotes, and mountain lions to tigers and macaques to albatross and mice - even trees! -Fuzz covers quite a lofty amount of animal-human conflicts. Roach discusses what the issues are, what's been tried, what happens now, and what the impact is, which is the question at the crux of the book. Who's really at conflict with who? Who's to say our needs are more important? What is a sentient being? Fuzz is a book about ethics, and their evolution as much as ours. I learned so much from this book and laughed out loud often too. Ultimately, Roach's book is a modern discussion of overpopulation and conservation, examining research and processes from around the world. The simple fact is as humans require more space to live in, we should expect more animals to enter that space. If we make their lives more difficult, or their territory smaller, they will encroach into our spaces more. Quite often, we are the ones teaching them bad habits. -Jess Find this book and other titles within our catalog.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Toni

    Weird and wonderful stories about nature! Review to follow.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Paperclippe

    Y'know, it's really hard to review a Mary Roach book. I realized this when I was trying to explain my utter delight while reading Fuzz to a bunch of folks whom I would normally recommend books to, and the conversation would inevitably start off with, "You know Mary Roach? The science wri... well, not science exactly, it's more like... Well, she wrote that book, Stiff, about all the things you can do with your body when you're dead?" That's a conversation starter. Anyway, you either know Mary Roac Y'know, it's really hard to review a Mary Roach book. I realized this when I was trying to explain my utter delight while reading Fuzz to a bunch of folks whom I would normally recommend books to, and the conversation would inevitably start off with, "You know Mary Roach? The science wri... well, not science exactly, it's more like... Well, she wrote that book, Stiff, about all the things you can do with your body when you're dead?" That's a conversation starter. Anyway, you either know Mary Roach, or you don't. And if you know Mary Roach, then please know that Fuzz had maybe the most back-to-back laugh-out-loud Mary Roach moments of any of her books that I've had the please to reading, and if you know Mary Roach, you know that that's a lot. A lot. As always, too, Roach is well-researched, informative, humble, humorous, and endlessly readable, even when talking about, okay let's be real, people sometimes being eaten by wild animals... Which I guess is one more thing you can do with your body after you die?

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    love me some mary roach. honestly my interest was waning a bit towards the end of this one, but she really brought it home with the footnotes, which in audio were all stacked together at the end. brilliantly out of context and very enjoyable

  15. 5 out of 5

    Elmira

    Mary Roach's "Fuzz" is as fantastically funny and compulsively readable as her previous books! She is the queen of taking an obscure subject and investigating the science behind it in great detail. Yet her books are lighthearted in nature as well as relaxing to read. In this book, Mary Roach investigates the science behind many negative interactions between humans and wildlife all over the world. There are discussion of the obvious and much publicized wildlife dangers like bears, elephants, wolve Mary Roach's "Fuzz" is as fantastically funny and compulsively readable as her previous books! She is the queen of taking an obscure subject and investigating the science behind it in great detail. Yet her books are lighthearted in nature as well as relaxing to read. In this book, Mary Roach investigates the science behind many negative interactions between humans and wildlife all over the world. There are discussion of the obvious and much publicized wildlife dangers like bears, elephants, wolves, jaguars, and cougars. Then there are chapters about nuisance animals that you may not have considered: rabbits, starlings, squirrels, monkeys, opossums, raccoons, macaques, and seagulls. At what point are these animals enough of a nuisance to be put to death? What is the most painless way to put them to death? Are cute animals more worthy of life than ugly animals? Will reducing the number of one type of animal in an ecosystem have unforeseen effects on other species in that area? There are a lot of subjects covered in these pages, including not only science, but also politics, ethics, philosophy, and religion. It is an informative book that will have you reading funny passages out loud to your family!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Aldi

    Mary Roach remains my long-standing inappropriate pop-science crush (to the point where, upon realising she’d been to visit New Zealand semi-recently for this book, I gasped my shocked betrayal that she’d come to see little yellow-eyed penguins and not meeeee. Mary! What do those splat-footed little feathery hussies have that I don’t? Aside from their overall adorableness, threatened conservation status, and book material potential, that is? Sigh.) Like her previous books, this was well-researche Mary Roach remains my long-standing inappropriate pop-science crush (to the point where, upon realising she’d been to visit New Zealand semi-recently for this book, I gasped my shocked betrayal that she’d come to see little yellow-eyed penguins and not meeeee. Mary! What do those splat-footed little feathery hussies have that I don’t? Aside from their overall adorableness, threatened conservation status, and book material potential, that is? Sigh.) Like her previous books, this was well-researched and engagingly written, full of her trademark wit, persistence to engage with knowledgeable parties, and utter commitment to finding answers. The topic (human/animal conflict as a result of habitat sharing, and the various approaches thereto) actually paired well with David Quammen’s Monster of God: The Man-Eating Predator in the Jungles of History and the Mind, a book I read a few months ago, though Fuzz’s focus was different and went beyond large predators to include various species considered agricultural and/or invasive pests. Some of the content was humorous (loved the inclusion of the Deer Lady anecdote), some – like the section on combing debris for 9/11 victims’ remains while being harried by hungry birds, yikes – deeply sobering. At all times, though, it was fascinating and I wandered off on many a side trip for additional reading (including an entire paper on the cannibalistic habits of herring gulls, lol – what can I say, it was intriguing). Perhaps unsurprisingly, the chapter on pest eradication in New Zealand engaged me the most on a personal level. As someone who’s lived here long enough to share most of the nation’s fierce love for our native species (especially the kakapo, the most bumbling, ridiculous, semi-doomed darling nonsense bird to ever fail at almost every aspect of life without some serious help) but was not raised here and therefore did not absorb a deeply-entrenched hatred of “pest” species (mostly possums, stoats, and rats) in the womb, I have and continue to struggle with NZ’s commitment to the eradication of invasive species. While there’s widespread support for the eradication measures, I’ve seen and heard extreme positions from either end of the spectrum, from those who just want humans to stop meddling entirely to those who literally call for legislation forcing every single New Zealander who owns a cat to have it put down. Personally, I probably fall somewhere in the middle and have no good answers but I’ve always (uselessly, I know) felt rather bad for the species that didn’t ask to be introduced here and are just living according to their nature. Every time I’m out on a hike and spot a possum bait trap, it makes me a little sad, even as I appreciate the necessity. Because you know what else are species invasive to New Zealand that fuck up the native ecosystem? Sheep. Cows. Dogs. Fucking humans. It’s tricky. But I really enjoyed getting Mary’s perspective on it. I have always loved Mary Roach’s style of writing – not just the humour of it (though that’s ever a delight) but the degree of personal commitment and embarrassment-free, game-for-anything spirit she puts into every one of these hunts for knowledge. The world is so full of people who are set in their ways or regard the unknown with suspicion – just knowing that someone is out there who is so relentlessly interested in learning new things that they’ll cheerfully sample rat bait or impersonate a tracking hound on busy inner-city streets, trying to sniff out the scent trail of some overly cologned rando, gives me so much joy. I hope she’ll keep writing books about it. PS: Linguistic pet peeve, but I really wish someone had double-checked on Māori language conventions when editing this book - it's kakapo, kiwi, and kea, no plural 's' involved. I know it seems like a minor thing but when it comes to minority languages with a long history of erasure attempts and resistance, it's even more important to try and use them correctly.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rennie

    This was ok. She’s undoubtedly a charming writer, very funny, and an excellent science translator/communicator, but the reason why I haven’t read anything of hers yet other than Spook is that the topics really just don’t appeal to me at all. Like they pique zero interest whatsoever. Which was my major problem here. I just had a hard time getting interested enough in any of it. Her humor is the major plus, as are the couple of factoids here and there I’m glad to learn. But also a lot of it is jus This was ok. She’s undoubtedly a charming writer, very funny, and an excellent science translator/communicator, but the reason why I haven’t read anything of hers yet other than Spook is that the topics really just don’t appeal to me at all. Like they pique zero interest whatsoever. Which was my major problem here. I just had a hard time getting interested enough in any of it. Her humor is the major plus, as are the couple of factoids here and there I’m glad to learn. But also a lot of it is just really sad, because as usual it’s more examples of how humans screw up nature and then kill everything that’s getting in our way now because we screwed it up. Blergh.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jill Mackin

    Mary Roach has been called "America's Funniest Science Writer." Her books are so well researched and have taught me a lot of quirky things about quite a few subjects: Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal. Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife. She's my favorite nerd! Mary Roach has been called "America's Funniest Science Writer." Her books are so well researched and have taught me a lot of quirky things about quite a few subjects: Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal. Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife. She's my favorite nerd!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Erikka

    I swear, this woman could write a book about air and make it interesting and hilarious. Mary Roach is my favorite nonfiction author without parallel. She is simply perfection. This book sounds dull by description, but it is anything but. She is a genius at taking a topic like "animal control" and making it as interesting as any thriller novel. My husband and I both genuinely enjoyed this, as we have all her other books. I swear, this woman could write a book about air and make it interesting and hilarious. Mary Roach is my favorite nonfiction author without parallel. She is simply perfection. This book sounds dull by description, but it is anything but. She is a genius at taking a topic like "animal control" and making it as interesting as any thriller novel. My husband and I both genuinely enjoyed this, as we have all her other books.

  20. 4 out of 5

    lilias

    Despite it being interesting in parts, I do wish this book had been more like the book I expected. Sometimes being surprised by a book can be a pleasant experience, but in the case of Fuzz, it was a jarring disappointment with a constant feeling of dissonance. Given my familiarity with Roach’s writing and the subtitle of this book being “When Nature Breaks the Law,” here’s what I expected: The podcast Wine & Crime aired an episode about animals being taken to court during the Middle Ages for cri Despite it being interesting in parts, I do wish this book had been more like the book I expected. Sometimes being surprised by a book can be a pleasant experience, but in the case of Fuzz, it was a jarring disappointment with a constant feeling of dissonance. Given my familiarity with Roach’s writing and the subtitle of this book being “When Nature Breaks the Law,” here’s what I expected: The podcast Wine & Crime aired an episode about animals being taken to court during the Middle Ages for crimes they’d committed. Think: rats who had been accused of stealing barley and were thus taken to court. I thought this was the kind of thing Fuzz would talk about. I accepted there would also most likely be sections about animals in present-day who had attacked and killed humans or other animals. Maybe, at a stretch, I wondered whether Roach might include the time Montreal banned pit bulls. Here’s what I got: The first chapter does cover the forensics of animal attacks, and that was a good start. The book, however, quickly slips deeper into animal control rather than in the direction of animals going through the human legal system I had hoped for. And when I say animal control, I mean mass slaughters of tens and hundreds of thousands of animals; mostly birds and rodents. And while I appreciate knowing the straight facts of the outrageous historical and present day methods of animal control, I really hated reading about one example of mass brutality against animals after another. While Roach is on the side of the animals, her usual quips did not blend well with this particular content. (Again, I really wish I could read her take on the rats who had their own lawyer.) Topics Roach explored like poisonous plants and India’s attempts at humane monkey population control were interesting enough, but it was a stretch, really, to say this is nature breaking the law. This book is really about the means by which humans attempt to curb population growth of animals deemed pests or dangerous. With a few exceptions, each chapter was about the evolution humans killing species of animal en masse in detail. That it was set to the tune of Roach’s witty writing that I so enjoyed in Stiff was all the more disconcerting. It really did not work for me. The actual topic of this book would have been better under the guidance of, perhaps, an investigative journalist; a muckraker of sorts. And I would have avoided the book based on the topic and read whatever article summarized the information, instead.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ben Goldfarb

    Had the opportunity to review this book for Sierra Magazine; here's what I wrote: https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/can... Had the opportunity to review this book for Sierra Magazine; here's what I wrote: https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/can...

  22. 5 out of 5

    Marika

    Science writer Mary Roach turns her pen to the intersection of humans and animals. Did you know that there are forensic investigators for animal attacks? Neither did I. And what to do about animals who are seemingly a nuisance like squirrels destroying your garden. Should anything BE done or are humans the one encroaching on *their* world. There is so much in this book that will make readers pause and think...and be entertained. * I read an advance copy and was not compensated.

  23. 5 out of 5

    jeremy

    mary roach's writing is always fun to read: engaging and thought-provoking with ample wit and sardonic humor. her new book, fuzz: when nature breaks the law, is an expedition into the domain of human/animal interaction and conflict, or, more specifically, the ways in which the animal kingdom causes humans inconvenience, annoyance, disruption, hindrance, nuisance, hardship, and/or financial loss (if the animal world had their own authorial analogue, a book about human avarice, destruction, superi mary roach's writing is always fun to read: engaging and thought-provoking with ample wit and sardonic humor. her new book, fuzz: when nature breaks the law, is an expedition into the domain of human/animal interaction and conflict, or, more specifically, the ways in which the animal kingdom causes humans inconvenience, annoyance, disruption, hindrance, nuisance, hardship, and/or financial loss (if the animal world had their own authorial analogue, a book about human avarice, destruction, superiority, stupidity, and disregard for non-human species would make for a convincing and overdue counternarrative). fuzz is more of roach doing what she does best, entertainingly expounding on a chosen subject with her trademark mix of pop science, immersive reporting, and irrepressible personality. we are irrational in our species-specific devotions. i know a man who won't eat octupus because of its intelligence. yet he eats pork and buys glue traps for rats, though rats and pigs are highly intelligent, likely more intelligent—i'm guessing, for i have not seen the sat scores—than octopuses. why, for that matter, is intelligence the scale by which we decide whom to spare? or size? have the simple and the small less right to live?

  24. 4 out of 5

    Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

    Science writer Mary Roach travels around the world investigating the animals and plants in nature that cause problems for mankind. She looks at difficulties for humans presented by bears, elephants, leopards, monkeys, cougars, birds, rats, mice, and even poisonous plants and tall trees. My takeaway from this book is that, over and over, humans find a creature or plant annoying or dangerous or deadly to them, and they take measures to rid the world of the creature or plant, and they never succeed, Science writer Mary Roach travels around the world investigating the animals and plants in nature that cause problems for mankind. She looks at difficulties for humans presented by bears, elephants, leopards, monkeys, cougars, birds, rats, mice, and even poisonous plants and tall trees. My takeaway from this book is that, over and over, humans find a creature or plant annoying or dangerous or deadly to them, and they take measures to rid the world of the creature or plant, and they never succeed, and they generally make things much, much worse. I was also surprised to see the number of people employed as animal welfare officers who are charged with killing animals. I think I was taken aback to not see roaches or mosquitoes addressed here. The book is filled with Mary Roach's hilarious take on science and nature; it's a fun book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Katie/Doing Dewey

    Summary: Aside from some sad bits about pest control, this book was the just the funny, informative read I was looking for. I'll read Mary Roach's writing on pretty much any topic, but she also typically picks quirky, interesting topics I'm excited to read about. Her latest book, to be released on Sept 14, covers contentious human/animal encounters. These include animal "crimes" large and small, from murder or breaking and entering to eating our veggies and pooping on our lawns. It turns out that Summary: Aside from some sad bits about pest control, this book was the just the funny, informative read I was looking for. I'll read Mary Roach's writing on pretty much any topic, but she also typically picks quirky, interesting topics I'm excited to read about. Her latest book, to be released on Sept 14, covers contentious human/animal encounters. These include animal "crimes" large and small, from murder or breaking and entering to eating our veggies and pooping on our lawns. It turns out that there are a ton of fascinating jobs I've never heard of involved in human/animal relations. I always love learning about new professions, so that was one of my favorite aspects of this book. It also included the sharp sense of humor, as well as funny footnotes, that I've come to expect from Roach's books. My main complaint with this book is that it was darker than I'd hoped. Mary Roach has always been willing to tackle tough topics, but an entire chapter on the development of more humane trapping approaches was too brutal for me. If you share my love of animals, I'd recommend giving that chapter a pass. There's nothing in that's worth it. The chapter on keeping birds from eating crops was a little better, but you might want to skip that too. Despite the parts that were harder to read, this is actually one of my favorite books from Mary Roach. A lot of the info on animals and animal-related jobs was fun and entertaining. It was one of those books that made me frequently interrupt my husband to share fun facts. The sense of humor was on point, but Roach also approached tougher topics with empathy and serious consideration. While I really would recommend that animal loves skip the tougher chapters, I'd definitely still recommend this book.This review was originally posted on Doing Dewey

  26. 4 out of 5

    Socraticgadfly

    As I said in a comment on someone else's review a couple of weeks ago, Mary Roach tends to fall somewhere in the 3-star world about every time. To be more accurate, she probably runs about 3.5 stars on average, and individual factors may tip one book up and another down. This goes down, starting with the title and subtitle. Yes, I know editors have final say on these things, influenced at times by their publishers' marketing arms, but an established author gets plenty of say-so. Much of this book is As I said in a comment on someone else's review a couple of weeks ago, Mary Roach tends to fall somewhere in the 3-star world about every time. To be more accurate, she probably runs about 3.5 stars on average, and individual factors may tip one book up and another down. This goes down, starting with the title and subtitle. Yes, I know editors have final say on these things, influenced at times by their publishers' marketing arms, but an established author gets plenty of say-so. Much of this book is NOT about "lawbreaking," first. It's about animal control issues in general. Second, since "nature" can't read, excepting Homo sapiens, this is about as silly as Spanish conquistadors reading the requirimento to American Indians in Spanish. Second? Much of this book is not about science. It's about public policy, which is, yes, connected to political science, a "social science," if one can talk about political science. It's also about ethics, and philosophy is not at all even a social science. OK, the actual content? An interesting, lighthearted read, but Roach throws in some chaff while at other points not following things out further. (For instance, if you are writing political science, why not go beyond that into things why so many cows wander India? Or why not write about why the US, at the local and higher levels, doesn't have more laws for humans about building in wildland interfaces?) In other words, there was a better book waiting to be written, one that could have still contained many elements of Roach's humor, but also have been a more focused, deeper dive.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    I was very excited to see Mary Roach came out with another book and I found this as enjoyable as the others. Filled with her trademark humor and enthusiasm for her subject, and covering a broad range of interesting human/flora/fauna encounters. I wouldn't say this elbowed its way into my top 2 spots (Those honors go to: Packing for Mars, Bonk, and Stiff) but I very much enjoyed myself. As with many of her books, not necessarily for the squeamish or faint of heart--it's not graphic, but given the I was very excited to see Mary Roach came out with another book and I found this as enjoyable as the others. Filled with her trademark humor and enthusiasm for her subject, and covering a broad range of interesting human/flora/fauna encounters. I wouldn't say this elbowed its way into my top 2 spots (Those honors go to: Packing for Mars, Bonk, and Stiff) but I very much enjoyed myself. As with many of her books, not necessarily for the squeamish or faint of heart--it's not graphic, but given the topic, there's certainly a lot of discussion of animals being put down

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kirsti

    Fascinating, occasionally hilarious, frequently disgusting descriptions of what happens when humans and animals want to use the same territory. As I expected, she investigates how people treat bear, deer, mountain lions/panthers/pumas, and moose. She also goes to India to learn about sacred monkey thieves. There's also a lot about bird strikes (in other words, birds crashing into airplanes) and killer plants. At the end of the book, Roach offers a thoughtful analysis of how to coexist with some— Fascinating, occasionally hilarious, frequently disgusting descriptions of what happens when humans and animals want to use the same territory. As I expected, she investigates how people treat bear, deer, mountain lions/panthers/pumas, and moose. She also goes to India to learn about sacred monkey thieves. There's also a lot about bird strikes (in other words, birds crashing into airplanes) and killer plants. At the end of the book, Roach offers a thoughtful analysis of how to coexist with some—but not all—plants and animals. At this point, a bear that has tasted human flesh is not a bear that can be rehabilitated. “If a bear treats a person as food, it will do it again,” Roach quotes a wildlife expert as saying.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey (Akiva) Savett

    If you know Mary Roach’s work, you already know what you’re getting here. And once again, she dazzles. For those of you not in the Roach Tribe, the author has written a series of books, all titled with one word, about the varieties of human existence: sex, death, eating, the supernatural, war (Respectively: Bonk, Stiff, Gulp, Spook, and Grunt). I lied. I forgot Packing for Mars which explores the science involved in space travel for astronauts, their food, exercise etc. I don’t know that I can for If you know Mary Roach’s work, you already know what you’re getting here. And once again, she dazzles. For those of you not in the Roach Tribe, the author has written a series of books, all titled with one word, about the varieties of human existence: sex, death, eating, the supernatural, war (Respectively: Bonk, Stiff, Gulp, Spook, and Grunt). I lied. I forgot Packing for Mars which explores the science involved in space travel for astronauts, their food, exercise etc. I don’t know that I can forgive Roach for breaking her one word title policy. But alas. Now she brings us Fuzz! Tales (or is it TAILS!!??!! Hahahaha. I’m sorry) of animals acting “illegally.” Of course, the subtitle is more for comedy than content, though we do read about bears being held in contempt, on trial, or in the drunk tank. In any case, there’s no need for me to go into the specific chapters because to do so would simply spoil the fun. Just know that Roach brings the same curiosity, empathy, humor, sass, and joy to this endeavor as she has throughout her career. If anyone out there is looking for a first Mary Roach book to dive into, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this one. Obviously, it depends which of the subjects I mentioned above interest you. I found both Gulp and Stiff absolutely fascinating. I suppose that means I’m preoccupied with eating and death. That sounds about right.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Angus McKeogh

    Always funny. Always insightful and just a good read. Nothing like getting a bit of an education while being entertained.

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