One of my brothers-in-law gave me Mary Roach's splendid
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, which I finished reading tonight. Cadavers are used in valuable medical, automotive, and criminal justice research, and organ donors ("beating-heart cadavers") actually save lives. Roach interviewed some of the folks who do this research; indeed, she watched some of it underway. She also discusses some of the unsavory history of cadaver research, and takes a detour through the grotesque topic of medicinal cannibalism. This could have been a dry, technical book, but Mary Roach has a wonderful sense for humor, which shows through on almost every page. On a few occasions, she appears over-eager to see certain events first-hand, grossing out even the professionals in cadaver research. Still, she is respectful of the human beings whose cadavers are being researched and of most of the people whose work she observed first-hand. This is a book that's well worth reading, though you might not want to be seen reading it in a restaurant, as I was earlier today.