Title: Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal
Author: Mary Roach
Publish Date: April 1, 2013 by W. W. Norton & Company
# of Pages: 348
Buy it*: Amazon
(From Goodreads) The irresistible, ever-curious, and always best-selling Mary Roach returns with a new adventure to the invisible realm we carry around inside.
“America’s funniest science writer” (Washington Post) takes us down the hatch on an unforgettable tour of our insides. The alimentary canal is classic Mary Roach terrain: the questions inspired by our insides 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 names 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? We meet scientists who tackle the questions no one else thinks—or has the courage—to ask. And we go on location to a pet-food taste-test lab, a bacteria transplant, and into a live stomach to observe the fate of a meal.
Like all of Roach’s books, Gulp is as much about human beings as it is about human bodies.
Rating (1-5, 5 is exceptional)
Quality of Writing – 5
Pace – 4
Enjoyability – 4
Insightfullness – 4
Ease of Reading – 4
Voice Acting – 5
Overall Rating – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach provides an inside look into the marvels of the digestive system.
Sounds gross, right? Well, sometimes it was! But mostly the book was fascinating. Roach has an impressive ability to turn textbook topics into an entertaining educational journey. She makes bathroom talk seem like an acceptable dinnertime conversation. I really enjoyed this book in all its grisly details and delighted in the random facts I was able to absorb.
Mary Roach’s writing style mixes facts with humor. Gulp is well-written and clearly well-researched. The book’s pace is swift as Roach moves food through the mouth, digestive system, and on out. And yes, she covers it all. From nutritional needs, flatulence, and ailments of the digestive track, no topic is left unexamined.
What I like about Roach’s style is that she’s immersive. Gulp is not simply a book about the digestive system—the book touches on Roach’s experiences as she herself learns about the digestive system. From analyzing spit to discussing coprophagia (a nice term for poop-eating), Roach gets firsthand experience and meets a wide cast of characters that she discusses in her book.
Mary Roach has done her research and knows her facts, making this book an insightful look into the mouth, intestines, and other bits. The breadth of topics she covers is extraordinary—all of them are interesting, and you can’t help but want to learn more.
Anyone who listens to audiobooks knows that the voice acting can make or break the book. The voice actor in Gulp was well-suited for this book. Her voice was friendly, amused, and easy to understand. I enjoyed listening to her immensely.
Have I convinced you to read this book yet? If you’re looking for something a little different in the non-fiction area, this book is worth checking out.
What’s the last non-fiction book you read? Have you tried listening to a non-fiction audiobook?
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