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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

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4.0 (1738 )
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  •  
    Shannon Fermanian Phoenix, AZ 05-10-15
    Shannon Fermanian Phoenix, AZ 05-10-15

    Movie Chick

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    "Super interesting!"

    Who knew the digestive system could be so interesting?! Sometimes freakishly so. This book was chalk full of information about our internal organs that I never even knew I was curious about. I loved a lot of the historical cases and scientific experiments - some of them almost unbelievable! Super interesting, and very well presented.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joshua REDWOOD CITY, CA, United States 05-02-15
    Joshua REDWOOD CITY, CA, United States 05-02-15 Member Since 2013

    mukor

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    "Who knew poop was so compelling?!"

    Great mix of humor and science. This book probes our nether regions, and fines a way to make the unsavory very palatable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Walter 04-18-15
    Walter 04-18-15 Member Since 2003
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    "Interesting and enlghtening"

    Great core story, peppered with many interesting segues. For the most part I was hooked listening. Made the book seem shorter than expected (expected since our 'core tube' is so diverse in functionality).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Panwend Boise, ID 03-17-15
    Panwend Boise, ID 03-17-15 Member Since 2015

    Pan

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    "loved it"

    The ick factor needs a voice too! Glad there are authors like Mary Roach ♡

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mavety 03-06-15
    Mavety 03-06-15 Member Since 2012
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    "I love Mary Roach!"

    She writes with frankness and humour about topics that make me a big squirmy. During this book, I kept wanting to talk about it with friends: digestive enzymes, bacteria.... Somehow they weren't as excited about the alimentary canal as I was.

    This is gross (in the best possible way) and interesting stuff. What a joy to read a book by Mary Roach! She always delivers. She is a tight and clever writer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julia 02-24-15
    Julia 02-24-15 Member Since 2014
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    "I love Mary Roach"

    Mary Roach has a sense of humor when she broaches a topic. It makes reading about your digestive tract fun.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    As my Wimsey takes me 02-18-15 Member Since 2008

    Words...words. Words.

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    "Lots of interesting information"

    I almost gave up on this one (glad I didn't) because of the narrator's voice. She has an almost child-like sound throughout, which is inappropriate for this book. When she used different 'voices' to distinguish people in conversation, it pulled me right out of the narrative. Very distracting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura 02-12-15
    Laura 02-12-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Fascinating"
    Any additional comments?

    This book was little disgusting, quite graphic at times, thought provoking and utterly fascinating. I enjoyed it immensely. It will give you insight into some concepts you may have never considered before. Highly recommended. I gave the narration four stars, only because the speaker had a habit of including inflections that made it sound like she was laughing at her own joke. It sounds trivial, but it was very distracting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janice LAGRANGE, KY, United States 02-07-15
    Janice LAGRANGE, KY, United States 02-07-15 Member Since 2005

    I am a retired school counselor (middle and elementary) and an avid reader. I am a lover of great mysteries, quirky protagonists, and medical/scientific non-fiction. I travel a lot and love the freedon audiobooks give me to drive, work, and relax while enjoying a good book. On my ipod I have eclectic musical selections as well as audiobooks. I will strive to never steer you wrong in a review.

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    "Another hilarious yet educational book"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend this to my frineds who are of a certain scientific bent. Some people would just be grossed out but if you are interested in why and how we turn food into all of the nutrients and necessary by-products of digestion here you go. You will also find very interesting information about people who have made careers of studying about things the rest of us would rather not talk about.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    As with all of Ms Roach's books this one is very well researched, incredibly interesting and funny- both intentionally and unintentionally. I love the fact that she interviews people in fields of science that I didn't even know existed. I also have learned about people whose jobs would make anyone else's bad day look pretty good such as people who study and evaluate human flatus.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I love the scenes where the author visits scientists in their labs or their research facilities and gets to actually participate in the science. Good ol" Ms. Roach is nothing if not a trooper.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    This is a very interesting question since the book is about the alimentary system. Much of the book is about movements bowel and otherwise.


    Any additional comments?

    Can't wait for her next books. Through her I have learned about corpses, human sexuality, the alimentary system and more and laughed a lot while doing it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Uresh Vahalia 01-23-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Last few chapters are great"

    I am glad I continued to the end. Got a bit boring in the middle. The narration could be better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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