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Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal First Edition Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 981 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0393081572
ISBN-10: 0393081575
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  • Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, April 2013: Mary Roach’s investigations into weird body science were inspired by a plastic torso with removable organs in her fifth-grade class, “the point at which curiosity began to push aside disgust or fear or whatever it is that so reliably deflects mind from body.” Since then, she’s investigated death (Stiff), sex (Bonk), life after death (Spooked), and life in zero-gravity (Packing for Mars). Now, she cruises down the alimentary canal with Gulp. As you’d expect with Roach, this isn’t a methodical top-to-bottom tour. It’s more delightful and memorable than that. She’s a gorgeous writer, a master of sly asides, puns, and the bizarre but ultimately relevant story, sounding at times like an absurdly well-informed comedian (her footnotes are must-reads). And her evocative portraits of experts obsessed with their piece of the digestive puzzle--the surprising properties of saliva, nuances of chewing and digesting, and, yes, the incredible control of the colon--coaxes her readers beyond the gag reflex, inspiring awe for the world inside ourselves. --Mari Malcolm

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In her latest rollicking foray into taboo, icky, and underappreciated aspects of the human body, best-selling science writer Roach takes readers on a wild ride down the alimentary canal. Not that the author of Stiff (2003), Bonk (2008), and Packing for Mars (2010) ever takes a direct route anywhere. No, voraciously curious and intrepid Roach zips off in whatever direction her ardor for research and irrepressible instinct for the wonderfully weird lead her. She begins this hilarious, mind-expanding inquiry into eating, digestion, and elimination with the symbiosis between smell and taste, guided by an olfactorily gifted “sensory analyst,” then profiles Horace Fletcher, proponent of a rigorous chewing routine known as “Fletcherizing” practiced by Henry James and Franz Kafka. We learn more than one can imagine about saliva and our passion for crispy and crunchy foods. Given Roach’s fascination with what we find disgusting, scientific obsessions and bizarre experiments, and horrifying things we do to ourselves, the stories get stranger as she proceeds down the body. Roach interviews a prison inmate about “rectal smuggling” (including cell phones), tells tales of flatulence, and reveals the truth about Elvis Presley’s fatal megacolon. For all her irreverence, Roach marvels over the fine-tuned workings and “wisdom” of the human body, and readers will delight in her exuberant energy, audacity, and wit. --Donna Seaman

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; First Edition edition (April 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393081575
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393081572
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.2 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (981 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,406 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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TOP 500 REVIEWERon April 2, 2013
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