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
As always, Mary Roach did her research and provided some very interesting information, but it wasn't her best work. It did not have the humor and bite that are characteristic of her books.
The narrator gave each scientist interviewed a different accent, and it was distracting at best. I hated the narration so much that I would never recommend the audiobook. Get it in print, or as an ebook, instead.
I love Mary Roach,and this installment is no exception. Though not as good as Stiff, it's still both interesting and amusing (and much better than Bonk). From the tongue to the anus, it's an fun trip, though there are a few areas that are definitely not for the squeamish. I wasn't really thrilled with the narrator - she was fine, but she really didn't add a lot to the text. Maybe that's a factor of a non-fiction book, as opposed to a novel filled with characterizations.
The narrator did different "voices" for different people mentioned in the book, which has a distracting, cartoony influence on the listening experience. Plus, it seems Roach was more interested in pursuing the "ick" factor than in detailing a broad scope of information about the digestive system. She didn't really mention the liver, pancreas, or small intestine, for instance, and spent a ton of time on saliva without much time on the tongue. All in all, I would have preferred more information with less forced cleverness.
See above. Broadening the scope and not assuming what would gross out the reader might have led to a more appealing book.
As I mentioned above, the narrator did a lot of cartoony voices, which didn't appeal to me. She did have a clear, exact voice and good pronounciation, but sounded a little "actor-y" to me.
Didn't need as much time with the cows' stomachs, would have liked more breadth of the digestive organs and their roles, such as the liver, pancreas, and tongue.
Not terrible, but I've read other Mary Roach and this is probably my least favorite of hers. Stiff and Spook were great.
I really enjoyed my first foray into the world of Mary Roach (I know, how did I, not pay any attention to her until now?). Her conversational style was perfect for an audio book and the subject matter was utterly fascinating for me (because my scientific curiosity always exceeds a traditional ick factor that this book would hold for most). My only complaint is that the conversational manner of the work was sometimes distracting to me because of a seeming lack of organization and separation of topics.
Gulp ranks pretty high. In some ways, it's an ideal audio book. Small, interesting episodes around a single theme, lively narrator, and lots of humor.
Roach's descriptions of the scientists who are so drawn in by what seem to us the humdrum (or gross) details of how our bodies work.
Bubbly, round, and irrepressible. She gives a solid performance, although at times I was annoyed by her delivery - which was a little over the top on the humor
Fun times in your tummy. (also, I don't really like this question)
Totally worthwhile, especially if you like light-science non-fiction.
Stiff was one of my absolute favorite books and I was unblieveably disappointed when Roach's second book, Bonk... sucked so bad! I love Roach's ability to feed me interesting new data and make me laugh at the same time. With Bonk, I didn't really feel like I learned much. So happy that Roach got this one right!
Moving further from work extended my daily commute... thank God for Audible.
Unlike the finite length of the alimentary canal, my love for this book knows no end. Gulp was recommended to me by a friend and, now that I’ve finished the book, I will be similarly evangelistic… in fact I’ve already recommended Gulp more than any other book in the last few years.
The writing is smart and funny. The content is weird and interesting. That should be enough for any would-be Audible customers. But there are a few other things I would like to mention to entice listeners.
Firstly, the content isn’t *just* about the alimentary canal. It’s really so much broader than that, as you’ll soon realize in the first few chapters where we learn about (amongst other things) food preconceptions, overpriced olive oil, vegetarian catfood and the psychology of eating. The narrative takes a similarly winding path down the gastrointestinal tract with enchanting diversions along the way.
Secondly, there are very few truly icky moments… I was only revolted once (for those interested, it was during the description of one culture’s inclination to suck the nasal discharge of their young with their mouth and spit it out). The writing is never exploitive, and I got the impression that Roach wants to inform and educate – not disgust.
Thirdly, the transition from printed page to audiobook is flawless. Emily Woo Zeller is a first class narrator, and an absolute delight. She brings the words to life and I could hear the sparkle in her voice as she was reading some of Roach’s wittier lines.
At times hilarious, at times baffling, and yes – at times a bit gross. But never boring. You will not regret this purchase.
I recommend everything every written by Mary Roach. Science+Hilarity=WIN. From teenager to senior citizens, I've never met a person who didn't love a Mary Roach book
Delivers what it promises, interesting stories, historical tidbits, really gross things that cause you to make weird faces while you are listening and exclaim things like "Oh my G-d" or "Ewwwww" The stories about how people discovered so much about the AC, and the weird things people do to it still were fun but I guess I wanted a little more science along with the ancecdots a la "A Natural History of the Senses"
Educational, clever, and a little gross.
Mary Roach is not afraid to ask questions.
I'm not using three words. She was pretty good, but could be off-putting at times. 95% of the time, I liked her. The rest of the time she used a nasally voice when reading dialog that seemed more mocking than reenacting. It wasn't done purposefully, I'm sure. Just a limit to her skill. Still, overall she did a wonderful job.
Mary Roach is clever, smart, and brave. I will read anything she writes. Not only am I entertained (and occasionally grossed out), but educated.
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