USF Book Club: Packing for Mars

Howdy book lovers! The USF Book Club’s next meeting will be on Friday, October 7, 2011 from 12 noon – 1 pm in the USF Community Garden (located next to the School of Education Parking lot, entrance at Turk Blvd. and Tamalpais Terrace).

We will discuss Packing for Mars by Mary Roach.

Packing for Mars is the San Francisco One City One Book selection. Join us and all of San Francisco in reading this one, which I have heard a lot of good things about. You can read an interview with Ms. Roach that appeared in the SF Chronicle last year to get an overview of Packing for Mars. To get a copy, you can request it through SF Public, Link+, put a hold on Gleeson’s copy, or read it on one of our iPads or our Kindle.


With her wry humor and inextinguishable curiosity, Mary Roach has crafted her own quirky niche in the somewhat staid world of science writing, showing no fear (or shame) in the face of cadavers, ectoplasm, or sex. In Packing for Mars, Roach tackles the strange science of space travel, and the psychology, technology, and politics that go into sending a crew into orbit. Roach is unfailingly inquisitive (Why is it impolite for astronauts to float upside down during conversations? Just how smelly does a spacecraft get after a two week mission?), and she eagerly seeks out the stories that don’t make it onto NASA’s website–from SPCA-certified space suits for chimps, to the trial-and-error approach to crafting menus during the space program’s early years (when the chefs are former livestock veterinarians, taste isn’t high on the priority list). Packing for Mars is a book for grownups who still secretly dream of being astronauts, and Roach lives it up on their behalf–weightless in a C-9 aircraft, she just can’t resist the opportunity to go “Supermanning” around the cabin. Her zeal for discovery, combined with her love of the absurd, amazing, and stranger-than-fiction, make Packing for Mars an uproarious trip into the world of space travel.

–Lynette Mong

Email to get on the mailing list. Hope to see you there!

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