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Gulp Audiobook

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal

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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, April 2013 - Mary Roach is willing to “go there” in the name of Science. She has tackled sexual physiology in Bonk, the life of cadavers in Stiff, and now takes on the (not-so-hot) topic of the digestive system in Gulp. This journey begins at the top and ends at the bottom of the legendary alimentary canal, but Roach does not take us there in a straight line. There are side excursions to visit experts in the field of morning breathe and pet-food engineers. We explore the power of salvia and the origin of mythical fire-breathing serpents. By asking seemingly ridiculous questions like, “Does noxious flatus do more than clear a room?” Roach manages to dismiss those common misconceptions we all seem to have but never question out loud. In Gulp she serves-up Science just the way I like it: Well-researched, relevant, offbeat, and hilarious. —Tricia, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

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  •  
    Scott Scarborough, ON, Canada 12-02-14
    Scott Scarborough, ON, Canada 12-02-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Easily digestible fare"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    First off, I must admit to being a fan of Mary Roach, whose books delve into the eccentricities, trivialities, and the “have you ever wondered how” aspects of our human bodies. In this vein, Gulp dares the reader to boldly explore the splendor of what our bodies do to food from bite to bowel. Roach’s style isn’t to take any of this too seriously, or to drown the reader in arcane science; rather, she interviews experts in various fields or takes on the role of observer or occasional lab rat. All of this is infused with liberal amounts of tongue and cheek humor which is narrated in such a breezy, personal tone that I thought Roach herself was doing the narration. In the end, the reader won’t come away with anything close to encyclopedic understanding of human digestion but if that’s what you are looking for then Gulp is the wrong book for you anyway. Instead if you are looking to have a little info to go with your entertainment, and you don’t mind occasionally being a little grossed out (see the bit on tasters), Gulp may just leave you feeling a little awed by how your body works its unseen magic turning what you have eaten into what you are.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heather United States 06-24-14
    Heather United States 06-24-14 Member Since 2014

    Goodreads reviewer and blogger... also dentist and wife/mom when I get the time!

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    "Awesome, quirky read!"

    The science geek in me practically peed her pants she was so excited to read this book. (I guess my inner nerd has a mild case of urinary incontinence but that is neither here nor there...) I mean an entire book about the alimentary canal, starting with my home turf, the mouth? Count me in!

    Will you enjoy this book? Well, that depends on how you answer the following questions. Have you ever wondered:

    If you can die from trying to defecate too forcefully?
    Why do animals eat their own poop?
    Could the Jonah biblical story have scientific plausibility?
    Why doesn't your stomach eat itself until there is nothing left?
    What makes farts smell so disgusting?
    What is the purpose of saliva and why do babies make so much?
    How to prisoners smuggle so much junk up their butts?

    I loved every second of finding out the answer to these questions and about 1,000 more that I didn't even know I had. I enjoyed the refresher course on human anatomy and physiology and LOVED Mary Roach's humorous approach to science. You do not have to have a science background to adore this book. It is perfectly suitable for all audiences, particularly ones that don't mind a little potty humor.

    The narrator in the audiobook was spot on: Funny, tongue-in-cheek, and pleasant to listen too. This isn't a character-driven novel or anything like that, so the narrator just had to read the book and read it well, and that she did! I listened to this book in about a weeks time and felt a little more informed each day.

    Warning: Possible side effects of reading this book include forcing your loved ones (aka the husband, in my case) to listen to about a bajillion facts about pooping, burps, farts, and gas. In case you are wondering, he did not appreciate learning that information, the neanderthal.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    david Clermont, GA, United States 05-03-13
    david Clermont, GA, United States 05-03-13
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    "Humorously clinical analysis of digestive system"
    What did you like best about Gulp? What did you like least?

    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.


    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzn F Fletcher, VT, US 05-23-13
    Suzn F Fletcher, VT, US 05-23-13 Member Since 2013

    I believe a reviewer should finish a book before submitting a review. What do you think?

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    "GULP>>>>GAG"

    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.

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristine 04-08-13
    Kristine 04-08-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Awesome content!"
    What did you like best about Gulp? What did you like least?

    I thoroughly enjoyed the content as written. The delivery lacked.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    The story, and the investigative aspect. Who looks for this stuff? Awesome!


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Emily Woo Zeller?

    The author. She has an obvious comedic tone that emily doesn't deliver effectively.


    Was Gulp worth the listening time?

    Yes...


    Any additional comments?

    The greatest detraction was the narrator trying to mimic the voices of the various scientists. It sounded mocking even when it wasn't meant to. This is a really cool trip through digestion! I just wish I had time to actually read the book in my own way vs. this. Still love Audible!

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jamie Barrington Live Oak, FL, United States 05-17-13
    Jamie Barrington Live Oak, FL, United States 05-17-13 Member Since 2009

    Fantasy & Sci-Fi lover who mostly refuses to read books without their audiobook counterparts. How else can a girl get any housework done?

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    "Disappointed"
    What disappointed you about Gulp?

    It was very monotonous. After reading all the great reviews and being familiar with Mary Roach's book, STIFF, I guess I had high expectations. Unfortunately, this fell flatter than flat. It was just....boring.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Not sure....something more interesting, I'm sure.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Emily Woo Zeller?

    Tavia Gilbert. The best narrator I've listened to, so far.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment. Boredom.


    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Connie Elliston, MT, United States 04-06-13
    Connie Elliston, MT, United States 04-06-13 Member Since 2016
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    "Another wonderful tour in taboo land"

    Mary Roach has an inquiring mind, and while many of her topics are way off the beaten path, she always uses an approach of scientific inquiry with a quirkiness that's charming and funny and absolutely fascinating. Zeller's reading is right on the mark. As with "Stiff," the fascination factor far outweighs the yuk factor. What a great listen! And what a lot I learned...

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Claire 04-14-13
    Claire 04-14-13 Member Since 2016
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    "Interesting and funny"

    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).

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Sader Toledo, OH USA 05-15-13
    Jennifer Sader Toledo, OH USA 05-15-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Well-performed, but I wasn't wowed by the content"

    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.

    8 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ttim San Francisco, CA, United States 12-24-15
    Ttim San Francisco, CA, United States 12-24-15 Member Since 2009
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    "Probably shouldn't read this while eating your din"

    Mary Roach turns her attention to detailing what happens to food as it travels from our mouths to, well the other end!
    Illuminating and humourous in parts, though at other times quite dry.

    Personally I don't really like her chatty off hand writing style, though others may find this a plus.

    She has a habit of describing what an interviewee is wering or the decor of their office. I don't really see the point of this, its just background noise to the real topic of the book.

    Be warned, some of the content isn't for the faint hearted, but if you really want to know what happens to our food once we've swallowed it then you have to take the rough with the smooth.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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