Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal

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W. W. Norton & Company, Apr 1, 2013 - Science - 336 pages
76 Reviews

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. 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 at our side, 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.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - annhepburn - LibraryThing

Totally not my sort of thing, though I appreciated several of the vignettes and learned some interesting info. I just get too queasy at medical info to be able to fully appreciate this book, but I know other people would really like it! Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - kmajort - LibraryThing

Mary Roach is a favorite - asks uncomfortable (but necessary?) question about subjects that make (Americans at least) squirm. Highly recommended to the curious. Read full review


Tasting has little to do with taste
Yourpet is not likeyou
Why we eat what we eat and despise the rest
Can thorough chewing lower the national debt?
The acid relationship of William Beaumont andAlexis St Martin
Someone ought to bottle the stuff
Life at the oralprocessing lab
Can the eaten eat back?
The science ofeatingyourselfto death
Fun with hydrogen
Does noxiousflatus do more
Is the digestive tract
and other ruminations on death by constipation
We can cureyou but theres

How to survive being swallowed alive

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About the author (2013)

Mary Roach is the author of Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War, Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, and Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. Her writing has appeared in Outside, Wired, National Geographic, and the New York Times Magazine, among others. She lives in Oakland, California.

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