Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal
By Mary Roach
W.W. Norton & Company, 2013. 348 pages.
The human digestive system is probably not on your list of daily contemplations, but it is a necessary and fascinating part of the human body that often gets overlooked. In this engaging journey from beginning to (rear) end, Roach entertains the reader with the elusive world of corporate taste-testers, the amazing stomach-stretching capacity of competitive eaters, the history of flatulence, prison “wallets,” and much more.
Mary Roach, author of best-seller Stiff, has a knack for turning taboo subjects into best-selling books. Roach gratuitously pokes fun at the uncomfortable ick factor of her topic of research, and never fails to thrill the reader with her detail. Though she may appear to veer off topic at times, Roach always makes up for it with bizarre anecdotes and witty humor (oh, the puns). Her research takes her to eccentric scientists that study the mysteries of saliva, intestinal gas, and fecal implants, thus grounding this wild ride in actual (if weird) science. If your inner child loves Ripley’s Believe it or Not, or any kind of gross-out educational material, Mary Roach has got you covered.