Best-selling author Mary Roach returns with a new adventure to the invisible realm we carry around inside. Roach 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 as our guide, 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.
©2013 Mary Roach (P)2013 Tantor
I LOVED this book. As she did in "Stiff," Mary Roach tackles a less than savory subject with intelligent and humor. I learned a lot of great info about the digestive track, and I laughed out loud at many of Roach's vignettes and explanations. Who knew that ingesting someone else's fecal material could restore your probiotic balance and help you heal, for example? If you have any interest in how the body really works, you will love this book. However, if you are a bit squeamish,you may want to pass. This is not nearly as, well, upsetting as "Stiff," but the subject matter is often inappropriate for "polite company." I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Emily Woo Zeller's narration was spot on. Such a fun listen!
I'd hoped to learn some new things about how a healthy body works, but this was mostly a collection of oddities. There were some interesting moments, like learning that organ meats have more vitamins than vegetables. I think it was just a bad fit for me.
This book was very interesting and had some funny bits. I certainly learned some things about the body and digestion. It was entertaining and informative. I found some of the anecdotes just a touch on the insensitive/judgmental side...a little compassion for the unfortunate people who made the record books with their unusual stories would have felt better to me, as a listener. If we must be voyeurs we can be compassionate voyeurs, no? Still an excellent listen; it kept my attention, gave me some laughs, and made me a little bit more informed. The narration was good (read: not annoying).
You can't help but love listening to a super performance about a certain biological function and some related weird behavior connected to same. At about four points in the book, I just had to take out the ear buds and not listen to the rest of the "tidbit." Glad I listened to it all, and happy to move on to a more boring next selection.
Say something about yourself!
If Mary Roach taught science, all the kids would earn A's. No, she's not a scientist, and this isn't research to reference on a term paper...but her humorous approach, irreverent wit, and ability to hunt down the most bizarre facts, combine to make any subject she tackles so entertaining and interesting you'll devour every word. One minute she is seriously discussing biology with academicians, the next she is telling the reader to blame those particularly malodorous *floaters* (flatulence) on the dog. Gulp is like her other one-syllable titled books (Stiff, Bonk, Spook), nothing is sacred, and nothing is off limits...including laughing while you learn. Like Isaac Asimov's Fantastic Voyage -- Gulp is a little like boarding a tour bus and being swallowed instead of injected into the human body; Roach is the tour guide/comedian that narrates the trip with an entertaining story, or bizarre fact at every stopping point on the way out. And there's only one way out of the alimentary canal...
Some of the subject matter was a tad gross--even more so than Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers (which I thought was a little better), butt that is part of the tour. You won't want to listen around meal time, and her in-depth (npi) look at the *prison wallet* might have you skipping ahead. But, her trip to the dog food tasting facility, or her conversations with the bean tasters were hilarious. I would never had made it through the interviews, discussing controlled experimentation of flatulence, with a straight face. For all of us that were admonished at sometime for our *irreverent sense of humor* (Ms. B. from Biology and Principal L.)...this one's for you.
I believe a reviewer should finish a book before submitting a review. What do you think?
Oh it was okay. I enjoyed the usual Mary Roach funny tone which is always the best part. It was for me pretty much a gross out experience but I knew that going in, so no fault of the author or book itself. I guess I was wanting something more, I'm not sure what, maybe if I could have felt a bit more informed, wait......I did learn one thing...or I thought I did... never mind, now I've forgotten. So I will chalk this one up to an easy fun listen, just not memorable in any way.
Narration is very good and Roach describes, using detailed research and graphic but appropriate language, a clinical context that is fasinating to anyone in the medical field or with interest in the digestive system.
I am a grower. A tangle of vines weaving round myrtle branch fences. Rusty metal, soft stone, and worn wood. Unkempt curls and knees covered in clay. I listen.
Fascinating! Entertaining! Surprising!
I love Mary Roach's work. I have read all her books, but I have to say I was a little hesitant to read this one. I didn't know what to expect. Could the digestive system really be that interesting? Would I just be grossed out the whole time? I decided to jump in anyway. I was not disappointed. I think Mary Roach's genuine fascination with the world creates a contagious atmosphere of awe. Many time through out the book I found myself thinking "Wow! that is really interesting." Her style of writing also has a certain light hearted joy to it. Making you almost feel like you are there with her while she is sticking her whole arm into a cow. A spectator to a good friends adventures. I was also not grossed out at all. Well maybe a little bit during the saliva part, but in general I was not. I even ate lunch a few times while listening.
Yes and I love the way she narrates!
I found the most interesting part to be getting a larger perspective on what people believe about the body. Every age it seems has it's thing. Today it might be Gluten intolerance, but 100 years ago it might have been bosom snakes. Self diagnosis run amok no matter what period you live in. Also a perspective on what science and medicine had to say. It is really amazing to see things from a larger scale. It really puts todays beliefs in perspective.
I highly recommend reading this book if you like Mary Roach! You will really really enjoy it!
I listened to most of this on a road trip, with very mindful breaks where I turned off the book. I'm sure if a video camera had been posed on my face while I listened it would have been really funny. I was making all kinds of disgust faces during a lot of it. That being said, it was fascinating; I have bought all of Mary Roach's audiobooks and enjoy them. Just be warned!
Yes. Many of my friends, for better or worse, are fascinated by poo. This book is more or less a documentary on their favorite subject.
Its all really good. I loved the chapter on what different species like to eat and why.
Think she did other Mary Roach books. They are far from boring.
"A Book For Those Who Enjoy Taking A Dump"
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