cover image Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream: A Day in the Life of Your Body

Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream: A Day in the Life of Your Body

Jennifer Ackerman, . . Houghton Mifflin, $25 (253pp) ISBN 978-0-618-18758-4

Just as Michael Sims does in his planetary guide, Apollo’s Fire (Reviews, June 11), science journalist Ackerman (Notes from the Shore ) uses a single day as a narrative framework for examining a wide array of scientific information, but she has chosen a much more intimate subject: the human body. Starting with a 5:30 a.m. wakeup call and working through to the wee hours (with a pause for a restorative midday nap), she explains the complex details behind some of the body’s most basic functions. The day is a somewhat arbitrary structure for topics that could be discussed at any time (she holds off on exercise until the late afternoon, for example), but the arrangement is never obtrusive, and Ackerman’s prose is inviting. While she doesn’t offer a radical new perspective on the human body, she does provide a steady stream of interesting information on things like the tiny hair cells inside the cochlea that enable us to hear even the briefest of noises, and the aphrodisiac allure for women of the odor of men's underarm sweat. All in all, Ackerman offers an pleasant day’s diversion. (Oct. 2)