After the recent kerfuffle with horsemeat in IKEA meatballs, I thought I’d make an intro to my most recent read by mentioning that it included a lengthy section on a man supposedly selling dumplings made of human flesh. I’d much prefer the former. (The book was Mary Roach’s ‘Stiff’, a look into the history, culture, and oddity of the human cadaver.)
This book was my workday morning walk companion, an audiobook I downloaded from my library – did you know you can download free audiobooks with your library card? Well you can, and it’s genius. My new commute is a short drive downtown to a parking spot near Devon’s office in Fort Point – our ten minute morning date – followed by a half hour walk to my office in Haymarket.
Usually I’ll stop by Sportello to treat myself to a cup of coffee and two hard boiled eggs for my breakfast. Sportello also has delicious quiche for $3, and each morning they have a daily special to tempt me. On Wednesday they have donuts, Friday they have everything bagels – I broke down and ate one last week, the same day weakness caused me to forgo my black and plain morning brew for a cup of their peppermint mocha, which they made fresh with a massive dollop of homemade dark chocolate ganache. Ganache in my coffee. For breakfast. I felt bad for two seconds.
On this walk I walk over a bridge by the Tea Party Museum (historical, not political), where my ears are violated by the blaring fife and drum music over the PA system. I can choose to walk through downtown, or loop the long way on the waterfront, past the hotels, Quincy Market, and the North End. A few times I’ve had a cup of coffee at Flat Black instead – they have good Americanos (ie: flat blacks…). They also have three locations downtown, which makes it confusing if you are meeting a friend for coffee and don’t specify. They have these fun IKEA lamps too, that I’m always intrigued by, but too lazy to purchase and put together myself.
I love these morning walks because I can start the day with a clear head, and feel a sense of accomplishment before I even start my work.
#3. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
Paperback, 304 Pages
Published by W. W. Norton & Company (May 2004)
(Listened to the audiobook.)
So about this book. Cadavers. A lot of snark. Accessible science. There’s something to be said about listening to bizarre science facts before heading into work – you always have something odd to entertain (or concern) your coworkers with.
When I was working in Coolidge Corner, I’d routinely walk an hour to work, listening to each of the archived RadioLab podcasts until I had caught up. Stiff felt at times like a RadioLab piece, although admittedly I wasn’t as smitten – after a while I felt like I had exhausted the topic, and yet at the same time not gone deep enough. That said, I’m looking forward to Roach’s newest book: ‘Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal’.