BINDERY: Mara Altman / Gross Anatomy

Tuesday, August 28, 2018 - 7:30pm to 9:00pm

The Bindery hosts an evening with Mara Altman, as she celebrates her new book Gross Anatomy. With Mara in conversation is Becca Andrews.


Mara Altman's volatile and apprehensive relationship with her body has led her to wonder about a lot of stuff over the years. Like, who decided that women shouldn't have body hair? And how sweaty is too sweaty? Also, why is breast cleavage sexy but camel toe revolting? Isn't it all just cleavage? These questions and others like them have led to the comforting and sometimes smelly revelations that constitute Gross Anatomy, an essay collection about what it's like to operate the bags of meat we call our bodies.


Divided into two sections, "The Top Half" and "The Bottom Half," with cartoons scattered throughout, Altman's book takes the reader on a wild and relatable journey from head to toe—as she attempts to strike up a peace accord with our grody bits.


With a combination of personal anecdotes and fascinating research, Gross Anatomy holds up a magnifying glass to our beliefs, practices, biases, and body parts and shows us the naked truth: that there is greatness in our grossness.



“I love how Gross Anatomy delightfully reveals Mara Altman's upbeat and life-affirming obsession with the human body -- our lovelinesses and not-so-lovelinesses. Lots of people will soon feel far more body-positive because of this book.”– Jon Ronson, author of The Psychopath Test


 “Forget that old fake news about sugar and spice. With wit and candor, Mara Altman tells us what girls are really made of – and it’s a hair-raising revelation.”Tom Robbins, author of Even Cowgirls Get the Blues


Gross Anatomy is a charming, deeply-researched, whole-hearted embrace of our imperfections, the things that women don't talk about because we feel they mar our societally imposed notions of femininity. But after reading Mara Altman's exploration of her body (and ours) you'll feel more comfortable with yourself, from head to toe.” – Jennifer 8. Lee, author of The Fortune Cookie Chronicles



Mara Altman enjoys writing about issues that embarrass her (e.g. chin hair), because she has found that putting shame on the page diffuses the stigma, leaving her with a sense of empowerment and freedom. Her first book, Thanks for Coming, an investigation into love and orgasm, was translated into three languages. Her work has appeared in The New York TimesSalon and New York Magazine among other publications. Before going freelance, She worked as a staff writer for the Village Voice and daily newspapers in India and Thailand. She is an alumna of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and lives in San Diego with quite a few other hairy beings.


Becca Andrews is the assistant news editor at Mother Jones, where she also writes about the Southeast, gender, culture, and sometimes, all of that at the same time. Before joining Mother Jones as an editorial fellow in 2015, she wrote for newspapers in her home state of Tennessee. A Southern woman through and through, she has a lot of opinions about biscuits. Give her internet validation on Twitter at @kbeccaandrews. Author photo by Einat Gilboa.


Please note: this event will be at The Bindery, 1727 Haight. 


Bar opens at 7, event begins at 7:30pm.


RSVP appreciated but not required


If you cannot attend the event but would like to request a signed copy of Gross Anatomy, and/or Thanks for Coming, order below and put your request in the comments field. 

Gross Anatomy: Dispatches from the Front (and Back) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399574832
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - August 21st, 2018

Thanks for Coming: One Young Woman's Quest for an Orgasm Cover Image
ISBN: 9780061577116
Availability: Out of Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - April 14th, 2009