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SFPL Announces 2011 One City One Book Selection:
Packing for Mars by Mary Roach

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Michelle Jeffers
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mjeffers@sfpl.org
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April 25, 2011

San Francisco Public Library Announces 2011 One City One Book Selection: Packing for Mars by Mary Roach

 

Cover for Packing for MarsThe San Francisco Public Library, in partnership with the first annual Bay Area Science Festival, invites San Franciscans to participate in the 7th Annual One City One Book: San Francisco Reads program by announcing the selection of Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach.

“Bay Area writer Mary Roach’s book gives readers a laugh-out-loud funny view of interplanetary research and exploration while still marveling at the significant scientific achievement of sending humans into space,” said City Librarian Luis Herrera. “By selecting Packing for Mars, the One City One Book program takes one big step towards promoting science, literacy and the joy of reading for all San Franciscans.”

Known for her candid and hilarious explorations of the odder side of science, Mary Roach now turns to her most compelling subject yet - space.

Space is a world devoid of the things we need to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh produce, privacy, beer. How much can a person give up? How much weirdness can they take? What happens to you when you can't walk for a year? What happens if you vomit in your helmet during a space walk? Is it possible for the human body to survive a bailout at 4,000 miles per hour? To answer these questions, space agencies set up all manner of quizzical and startlingly bizarre space simulations -- making it possible to preview space without ever leaving Earth. From the space shuttle training toilet to a crash test of NASA's new space capsule (cadaver filling in for astronaut), Packing for Mars takes us on a surreally entertaining trip into the science of life in space and space on Earth.

A fascinating and funny tribute to space research, Packing for Mars will engage readers this summer and fall. The Library encourages everyone to participate in informative programs in September, October and November, including a Mary Roach talk at SFPL’s Koret Auditorium on November 2.

Mary Roach is the author of the bestselling books Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, and Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex. She lives in Oakland, California.

In searching for a compelling title, the ten-person selection committee for One City One Book considered books that met as many as possible of the following criteria: high literary quality; reflective of universal issues facing San Franciscans; mirror the diversity of San Francisco; have connections to San Francisco (either through the content or the author’s relationship with the city); available in key languages; available in large quantities; appealing to adults and teens; available in paperback; capable of sparking provocative discussions; and lend themselves to engaging public programs around the book.

Packing for Mars is available as a trade paperback from W.W. Norton & Company. The book is also available at the Library in audiobook and e-audiobook formats.

One City One Book: San Francisco Reads is supported by Friends of the San Francisco Public Library and the Bay Area Science Festival.

The Bay Area Science Festival is a 10 day, community-wide celebration of science that will take place Oct.29-Nov. 6, featuring lectures, debates, hands-on activities, special exhibitions and a variety of other informal science education experiences for Bay Area residents of all ages.

For more information, visit the San Francisco Public Library website at www.sfpl.org. All programs at the Library are free.