As I mentioned in my last post, I listened to some audiobooks on a recent long, solitary drive to visit my family. After starting with a book I had already read, I listened to Mary Roach’s Bonk, read by Sandra Burr. I picked this up on a whim at the library—it looked like an interesting book that would hold my interest in the car. (I do own Roach’s Stiff, but haven’t read it yet, so her name probably jumped out at me on the shelf.)
Mary Roach achieves a nice blend of fact and humor, keeping her audience entertained while educating them at the same time. It is obvious she becomes fully immersed in her research and subject matter, even becoming a subject herself in Bonk (her husband is a real trooper!). Roach’s enthusiasm and delight were infectious. I ended up laughing out loud or having other visceral, vocal reactions to many parts of this book.
Among the many specific topics covered, Roach delves into the history of sexual scientific research, including the broad experiments and studies of Alfred Kinsey and the Masters and Johnson team. She explores erections, orgasms (male and female), Princess Bonaparte’s self-diagnosed unfortunate condition of having a clitoris too far from her vagina, the historical and medical significance of dildos and vibrators, surgical or medicinal solutions historically used for sexual deficiencies, effects of Viagra, a recipe for simulated semen, and more. Aside from the Princess Bonaparte anecdote, another section that stood out to me was the current methods for hog insemination in Norway. Also the fact that people could be so utterly clueless about the mechanics of their own body parts!
While I found there to be perhaps a few too many footnotes, that sometimes went off on tangents, they were still amusing and interesting. Overall, Bonk was an informative if lighthearted book for people interested in the topic, but don’t want or need to slog through a textbook of technical language. Looking forward to reading Roach’s Stiff in the future!
Listened to audiobook from July 13 to 16, 2012.