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Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal | [Mary Roach]

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal

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?
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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

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (1266 )
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Performance
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  •  
    David 08-02-14
    David 08-02-14
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    "Great book about a pretty disgusting subject"
    If you could sum up Gulp in three words, what would they be?

    interesting surprising fun


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Gulp?

    Description of gas and the possible start of fire-breathing dragon legends


    What about Emily Woo Zeller’s performance did you like?

    Great voice, clear and crisp reading, funny accents at the right times


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, a couple of chapters at a time were perfect


    Any additional comments?

    Really enjoyed it

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kinni Peters Carrollton, GA 04-20-14
    Kinni Peters Carrollton, GA 04-20-14 Member Since 2013

    Kinni

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    "I would love to have a few beers with Mary Roach."
    Would you consider the audio edition of Gulp to be better than the print version?

    I haven't read the print version, but the audio was fantastic.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The alimentary canal, of course!


    What does Emily Woo Zeller bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    She has great inflection, and carries off all the humour with panache.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laurie Florence, KY, United States 02-22-14
    Laurie Florence, KY, United States 02-22-14 Member Since 2005
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    "Barf"

    This is the second, and the last, Mary Roach book I will be listening to. I thought perhaps she might provide interesting facts - instead it is quite simply boring and somewhat gross. Imagine someone reading a clinical trial to you - and how dull that would be. Just stupid!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    amanda APO, AP, United States 08-09-13
    amanda APO, AP, United States 08-09-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Great"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Gulp to be better than the print version?

    yes, this was so fun to listen to! great narration!


    Any additional comments?

    What a fun book, interesting and entertaining, and I def learned about the human body!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    laurie SARASOTA, FL, United States 05-31-13
    laurie SARASOTA, FL, United States 05-31-13 Member Since 2011

    I have edited 38 national best sellers and had a writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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    "Disappointing, Boring Content"

    I loved Mary Roach's "Stiff." It was fascinating and hilarious. Not so "Gulp."

    Although Emily Woo Zeller does a wonderful job as a reader, the content just isn't very interesting. I'm not put off because some of the material about the digestive track is gross--I have a high threshold for disgusting subjects--but the chapters offer a lot of minutia that is dull, dull, dull.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Teresa BEACON, NY, United States 05-14-13
    Teresa BEACON, NY, United States 05-14-13 Member Since 2011

    I am a long-time listener to audible books - commuting, hiking - love 'em! Especially historical fiction and thrillers!

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    "More than I wanted to know."
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I would not recommend this book if my friend has a sensitive stomach. The author spend a great deal of time on the end result of digestion. I teach the Digestive System to my 4th graders, but it was still too much for me. Maybe if I didn't listen to the book while driving to school in the morning, eating breakfast in the car!


    Were the concepts of this book easy to follow, or were they too technical?

    Easy to follow.


    Have you listened to any of Emily Woo Zeller’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I don't think I have heard her before. But she was excellent.


    Was Gulp worth the listening time?

    A qualified yes.


    Any additional comments?

    I learned a lot of interesting trivia about the history of the science of the digestive system, and the culture surrounding it.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Winston Salem, NC, United States 05-05-13
    William Winston Salem, NC, United States 05-05-13
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    "Disappointment"

    I tried and tried to like this book after reading so many glowing reviews here and in print. I tried starting it over twice in a different frame of mind. But I just never enjoyed it and couldn't finish it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jay Minneapolis, MN, United States 04-25-13
    Jay Minneapolis, MN, United States 04-25-13 Member Since 2004
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    "Stellar Book If You Don't Mind Thinking About...."

    Mary Roach has a gift for delving into topics we don't like to talk about, digging out the most interesting aspects, and then presenting that information in an interesting and humorous way. Gulp discusses all the gross things involved in digestion (e.g., saliva, your colon, fecal transplants) but was only occasionally gross. I learned a lot of fascinating stuff that I can't talk about at the dinner table but which connected to my own digestion and my recent colonoscopy. The reader was excellent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maxwell Peevey Nebraska City, NE 04-22-13
    Maxwell Peevey Nebraska City, NE 04-22-13 Member Since 2008
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    "Entertaining and fascinating"
    Would you listen to Gulp again? Why?

    Probably not. Very interesting but I do not think it warrants another listen.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Not applicable


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Not applicable


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    brenty United States 06-22-14
    brenty United States 06-22-14 Member Since 2008
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    "Fascinating"

    While the subject matter itself is not inherently appealing (or palatable), both the style of writing and the narration enjoyable and entertaining.

    If you are a fan of her previous works, I think you will find this a worthwhile entry in the catalogue. And for those unfamiliar with the author but interested in a lighthearted tour of digestive matters -- both scientific and historical -- you likely won't find a more varied and engaging book on the subject.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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