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Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal
by Mary Roach

Published: 2013-04-01
Hardcover : 352 pages
6 members reading this now
13 clubs reading this now
3 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 1 of 1 members

The irresistible, ever-curious, and always best-selling Mary Roach returns with a new adventure to the invisible realm we carry around inside.

“America’s funniest science writer” (Washington Post) takes us down the hatch on an unforgettable tour. The alimentary canal is classic Mary ...
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Introduction

The irresistible, ever-curious, and always best-selling Mary Roach returns with a new adventure to the invisible realm we carry around inside.

“America’s funniest science writer” (Washington Post) takes us down the hatch on an unforgettable tour. The alimentary canal is classic Mary Roach terrain: the questions explored in Gulp are as taboo, in their way, as the cadavers in Stiff and every bit as surreal as the universe of zero gravity explored in Packing for Mars. Why is crunchy food so appealing? Why is it so hard to find words for flavors and smells? Why doesn’t the stomach digest itself? How much can you eat before your stomach bursts? Can constipation kill you? Did it kill Elvis? In Gulp we meet scientists who tackle the questions no one else thinks of—or has the courage to ask. We go on location to a pet-food taste-test lab, a fecal transplant, and into a live stomach to observe the fate of a meal. With Roach at our side, we travel the world, meeting murderers and mad scientists, Eskimos and exorcists (who have occasionally administered holy water rectally), rabbis and terrorists—who, it turns out, for practical reasons do not conceal bombs in their digestive tracts.

Like all of Roach’s books, Gulp is as much about human beings as it is about human bodies.

15 illustrations

Editorial Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, April 2013: Mary Roachâ??s investigations into weird body science were inspired by a plastic torso with removable organs in her fifth-grade class, â??the point at which curiosity began to push aside disgust or fear or whatever it is that so reliably deflects mind from body.â?? Since then, sheâ??s investigated death (Stiff), sex (Bonk), life after death (Spooked), and life in zero-gravity (Packing for Mars). Now, she cruises down the alimentary canal with Gulp. As youâ??d expect with Roach, this isnâ??t a methodical top-to-bottom tour. Itâ??s more delightful and memorable than that. Sheâ??s a gorgeous writer, a master of sly asides, puns, and the bizarre but ultimately relevant story, sounding at times like an absurdly well-informed comedian (her footnotes are must-reads). And her evocative portraits of experts obsessed with their piece of the digestive puzzle--the surprising properties of saliva, nuances of chewing and digesting, and, yes, the incredible control of the colon--coaxes her readers beyond the gag reflex, inspiring awe for the world inside ourselves. --Mari Malcolm

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  "GULP by Mary Roach"by [email protected] (see profile) 06/08/13

I always learn something when I read one of Roach’s books. And I usually am laughing when I learn it! Roach has a great (some would say twisted) sense of humor (don’t overlook the footn... (read more)

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