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Interview: Mary Roach Investigates Science's Funniest, Strangest Corners

Fuzz
'Any time I find a little pocket of science that I didn't know about I get very excited'
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  • Fuzz
  • 'Any time I find a little pocket of science that I didn't know about I get very excited'

Publisher's Summary

One of Bookpage's Most Anticipated Nonfiction Books of 2021

Join “America’s funniest science writer” (Peter Carlson, Washington Post), Mary Roach, on an irresistible investigation into the unpredictable world where wildlife and humans meet.

What’s to be done about a jaywalking moose? A grizzly bear caught breaking and entering? A murderous tree? As New York Times best-selling author Mary Roach discovers, 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. 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. Along the way, Roach reveals as much about humanity as about nature’s lawbreakers. Combining little-known forensic science and conservation genetics with a motley cast of laser scarecrows, langur impersonators, and mugging macaques, Fuzz offers hope for compassionate coexistence in our ever-expanding human habitat.

©2021 by Mary Roach. (P)2021 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

“Roach is an observant and witty writer with an eye for detail and a passion for facts. As it turns out, she is also a remarkably skilled narrator with a pleasant mid-range voice. She reads with verve, and her phrasing and pacing keep the text moving while enabling our laughter or stunned amazement. Roach also re-creates accents, conversations, and speech patterns like the best mimic. What a delightful and informative listen.” (AudioFile Magazine, Earphones Award Winner)

"An idiosyncratic tour with Roach as the wisecracking, ever-probing guide... My favorite moments, ultimately, weren’t the funny ones, but those that reveal a bit of scientific poetry." (Vicki Constantine Croke, New York Times Book Review)

"Bestseller Roach sheds light on nature’s malefactors in this often funny, always provocative survey...Roach’s writing is wry, full of heart, and loaded with intriguing facts...This eminently entertaining outing is another winner from Roach." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

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What listeners say about Fuzz

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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Footnotes.

I guess none of her other books had footnotes. Or the reader integrated them into the reading. This method of all them at the end was a little off putting.

10 people found this helpful

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The footnotes

Just like all of Mary Roaches books this is so well researched,interesting and funny. The only thing I didn't care for in this recording is that the footnotes were not read as they appear in the text as with other audio versions of her works.

5 people found this helpful

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Fuzz is most entertaining

Loved this book! Not only humorous but educational as well! Love the authors sense of humor! Definitely will recommend this read!

4 people found this helpful

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boring

I don't know but I was just bored. I tried to like it but it just wasn't there for me.

3 people found this helpful

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Just when it’s needed

Mary Roach knows just when to lighten the mood on subjects that might otherwise bring me to tears. I wasn’t sure I’d make it through a book that I knew would involve animals dying, but she pulled it off.

1 person found this helpful

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Mary is (almost) a female Bill Bryson!

Mary Roach is basically eight tenths of Bill Bryson in every regard as a writer and narrator. She's nearly as dryly witty, nearly as hilarious, and nearly as creative.

In this case, "nearly" is perfectly admirable.

It's like saying a person is nearly as good a boxer as Mike Tyson was at his pinnacle of success.

There is no other Bill Bryson, but for the time being, and if you've burned through all of Bryson's books, you should definitely check this one out. You won't be disappointed at all.

1 person found this helpful

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Very entertaining enhanced by the author's reading

I thought this book was great. Fun to listen to, eye opening and even a a delightful learning experience.

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Intriguing topic and story, poor narration

Very interesting topic and book. It satisfied that desire to learn something while driving. My only issue was the read. Usually, I prefer audiobooks read by the author since they know exactly how they wanted the text to read. However, this is time it just felt painful. Unfortunately, Mary’s read was very monotonous and at times she even had something in her throat. I would think they would have multiple takes to avoid having to use those reads. She also uses accents that were cringeworthy. All in all, a well-written story lacking an equally engaging narrator.

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Interesting and Disturbing

Anyone involved with wildlife should probably hear this; if nothing else, to know their frustrations are shared around the world. The author left a lot of room for more content, as nothing but the USA, India, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific (historical) were reviewed. I was really hoping for more wolves, African as well as jungle-based interaction stories too. The dark part in Reno was only one disturbing section but was kept lighter than the dark parts in India.

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Another great book from my favorite author

As always Mary Roach makes learning about a new topic enjoyable. Weirdly, I didn’t love her narrating it. She was great but I’ve preferred other readers. Can’t wait to see what topic she covers next!!