Zoe Cormier (Profile Books) 2014, 331pp, RRP $29.99
Cormier, a member of Guerilla Science, a group that has successfully aimed to make science more accessible and fun (!), here discusses at length three of the major pleasures enjoyed by homo sapiens, why we love them, how they delight and often hurt us, how we try to manipulate, regulate, deny and repress them, and how they really do go together, just like the title suggests.
The first part, Sex, is possibly the most amusing (of course), with a study of how human sex acts are quite unlike those of any other animal, how human reproductive organs are bigger and deliver much more pleasure than in any other animal, how sex drives people mad or can prove a redemptive experience, and more. Drugs is darker, naturally, although Cormier notes that really they shouldn’t be, as many ‘scary’ drugs (like LSD, which could be cautiously used in the treatment of certain mental illnesses if its stigma was removed) are less damaging than they’re made out to be, while everyday drugs like sugar, alcohol and caffeine destroy lives.
And finally, Rock ‘N’ Roll spends a bit too much time establishing just what music is, why we hear it as music and how exactly it connects in the brain and becomes something sexy, emotional or revolutionary. Much is made of the inner ear, dull scientists and sociologists who have labelled music a dreary evolutionary quirk, and ‘amusics’ (people who can’t hear music) – some of whom might well be dull scientists and sociologists.
Enlightening, funny and distinctly pleasurable for much of its length, this is mostly very readable, so if it’s rocking don’t bother knocking!
This title is available through Allen & Unwin. Click here to purchase your copy.