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Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal [Kindle Edition]

Mary Roach
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Product Description


Praise for Packing for Mars:

‘As a science writer Roach is seriously funny. She asks the right questions and provides answers like the best deadpan stand-up comic.’ - The Times

‘An accomplished journalist with boundless curiosity... As funny as Roach can be, she brings serious insight to her subject.’ - New Scientist

‘This is definitely the kind of book that'll have you reading out the juicy bits to friends and a sassier - i.e., ruder - Bill Bryson.’ - Daily Mail

‘Roach has a knack for translating the dry and arcane stuff of science in a way that is eminently readable, informative and eye-openingly hilarious.’

--Time Out

Praise for Bonk:

‘Terrifically witty, hugely engaging... on almost everypage she tells you something to make you gasp aloud or snort with laughter.’ - Telegraph

‘Hair-raising in parts, hilarious in others.’ - Evening Standard

Praise for Six Feet Over:

‘A gruesome joy.’ - The Guardian

‘Full of fascinating nuggets... a funny and informative read.’

--Independent on Sunday

Praise for Stiff:

‘Roach is insouciant to the point of laugh-aloud funny. You could die laughing.’ - The Times

‘Sharply observed, often wryly funny accounts... Engaging and original.’

--Literary Review

‘One to watch…Fabulous, illuminating and nauseously graphic’

---The Bookseller

‘Wheatley’s accomplished debut novel is a poignant and often bleak affair, letting us know from the beginning that there is tragedy and loss in store, but his depiction of small-town life and the redeeming value of the bonds of friendship entice you to keep reading.’ The Herald



‘far and away [Roach’s] funniest and most sparkling book… vastly entertaining’ Scotsman review

‘diverting [and] witty’ The Lady

‘Roach’s writing is quirky, lucid, faultlessly researched and outrageously funny… such a pleasure to read.’ Sunday Business Post

‘Roach’s skill is to draw you into things like this, keep you reading and at the end leave you wondering how you have ever lived without this information. Gulp is an unalloyed pleasure’ Fortean times

‘[Roach] illuminates a tricky but hugely fascinating subject… the best kind of lavatory reading’ Sunday Telegraph

‘Sassy sensibility and good-humoured gusto… the trip from feeding to faeces is laugh-a-minute painless’ The Times

‘[Roach] writes clearly, with gallows humour… compelling’ Evening Standard

‘Fascinating [and] funny… Roach pulls off the serious stuff, too. She forces us to reimagine ourselves not as spinal, brain-driven bipeds, but as a splendid digestive tube that has evolved limbs, brain and everything else’ Sunday Times

‘Gulp is far and away her funniest and most sparkling book, bringing Ms. Roach’s love of weird science to material that could not have more everyday relevance. Having graduated from corpses (Stiff), the afterlife (Spook) and sex (Bonk, full of stunts featuring Ms. Roach as guinea pig), she takes on a subject wholly mainstream. She explores it with unalloyed merriment. And she is fearless about the embarrassment that usually accompanies it.’ The New York Times

‘utterly fascinating… Roach is unafraid to ask questions and her enthusiasm is infectious’ BRSBKBLOG blog

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4144 KB
  • Print Length: 354 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1780743912
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications; 2 edition (1 April 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1851689931
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851689934
  • ASIN: B00C1IA41Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #14,567 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reader's Digestion 1 Jun 2013
By ACB (swansea) TOP 50 REVIEWER
Science journalist Mary Roach has chosen the alimentary tract as the subject of her latest book. She takes us on a tour through the digestive tube from the entrance to the back passage with flexible scope for illuminating the journey with extraordinary facts and figures on the way. The tales of eccentric scientists and their studies along with the footnotes are worth the price of admission to the exploration alone. Taste and smell are the doormen for the digestive tract, chemical scanners for possible dangerous elements (bitter, sour) and desirable (salty and sweet). Saliva is more than a lubricant. It contains enzymes that start breaking down food that are also used in laundry detergents. How we chew is a physiological fingerprint and we learn of Fletcherism, chewing each bite at least 70 times to release nutrients, still used today by some as a slimming aid. Chew and spit as a weight loss strategy is mentioned. Elton John was falsely accused of practising this by a tabloid and received healthy damages. Chewing without swallowing is counterproductive. Everything above the neck (smelling, tasting, seeing) drives eating and everything below puts the breaks on. Why do we enjoy crispy, crunchy foods that the food industry has exploited? Why do Inuits prefer Caribou liver, brain, eyes and stomach contents to eat rather than steak, or babies preferring brain and bone marrow over sweet foods when presented with a selection of mashed foods? The likely answers are here.

Air swallowing (aerophagia) or overeating producing burps , belching and heartburn are explained, as are stomach rupture and competitive eating with startling revelations.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You Are What You Eat 7 April 2013
'Laundry detergent is essentially a digestive tract in a box.' Now, where else but in a book written by Mary Roach, the author who loves wierd science, would we learn such a thing? I mean, it makes sense, but I have never seen anyone write those words. In her new book, 'Gulp' etc, Mary Roach takes us from the mouth to the anus, and all the by-ways in-between. It is one of the more fascinating and informative books I have read in a long time. I am a health care practitioner, but I have learned more about our alimentary canal and the research involved in it's mysteries, than any of my Anatomy and Physiology books. There is so much to know and learn, I want to cover it all, but I won't, I will leave it to you to go on this journey.

"The human digestive track is like the Amtrak line from Seattle to Los Angeles; transit time is about thirty hours , and the scenery on the last lag is pretty monotonous". There you have it, from the first bite of food that is first smelled, chewed, oral digestive acids acted up on, moved down the esophagus to the stomach and into the bowels, large and small intestine and then into the anus, where the food that went in is expelled. The circuitous route taken is fascinating.

Chewing leads to a discussion of saliva, and we learn "Bodily fluids, gas and excrement may disgust us once they leave the body, but "we are large, mobile vessels of the very substances we find most repulsive." We learn a lot about 'gas', it's make-up, smell, testing, who makes the most gas, farting, and on and on. Megacolon, the large bowel dilatation that causes much straining to release it's contents and can cause cardiac arrhythmia and death, as it probably did for Elvis Presley.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seriously funny 29 Mar 2013
I've been lucky enough to read a preview copy of her book. I was an enormous fan of Bonk, and whilst I was dubious that I'd be as entertained during "Gulp" as I'm not a fan of scatological humour and I'm a doctor- so I'm fairly familiar with the alimentary tract- I had underestimated Mary Roach. I think she'd be top on my list for a fantasy dinner party. She takes ordinary things and thinks about them in the most extraordinary way. So this isn't a dull journey through biology, instead it touches on topics ranging from tasting cat biscuits to smuggling smartphones up your bum into jail to why suicide bombers have never "bodypack" their explosives. There is more focus on the top end and the bottom end (to be honest there really isn't much of interest to say about the jejunum no matter how enquiring your mind is) but it a substantial length and you never get tired of it. If you enjoyed her previous books, or are just curious about the human body you will love this. Also a great gift for any scientist in your life.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mary Roach never disappoints 13 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
However disgusting it gets, it's impossible not to keep on reading. Immense fun, and the knowledge slips down easily. The digester's read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By T. D. Welsh TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Like other reviewers I was struck by Mary Roach's pleasant, humorous take on the many wonderful and disgusting facts about the alimentary canal. Of the 17 chapters, about six and a half relate to the anus, rectum, and intestines and their products. There are also chapters on what goes on in your mouth when you eat, how much you can eat before you burst (literally), the properties of saliva, why some foods smell and taste more attractive, etc. What I missed - and what I really bought the book to learn about - was a systematic account of digestion, and how the oesophagus, stomach, duodenum, and small intestine work together to process food and extract nutrients. Whether because the author failed to find sufficiently colourful scientists doing research on those subjects, or because they are too well (or inadequately?) understood, I found little useful material of that kind. But don't let that put you off (unless you too are seeking specific information). It's almost impossible to read this book without learning a great deal, thinking "eeeeeew" from time to time, and laughing quite often.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating!
An unusual subject matter but a fascinating read, well-written and interesting.
Published 1 month ago by SJB
5.0 out of 5 stars and explores them in a funny yet informative way
I'm a big fan of Mary's books. She tackles those subjects that you never really realised- or wanted to admit- that you were curious about, and explores them in a funny yet... Read more
Published 1 month ago by JMay
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by Ruby
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but...
An amusing voyage down the guts, and what you find there. But I did prefer her book on sex; that was more fun, this is workmanlike, a sort of brand extension.
Published 1 month ago by Korhomme
4.0 out of 5 stars All you ever wanted to know, and more, about digestion.
Gulp tells you all, and much much more than you needed to know about the act of eating, tasting, digesting and excreting all that we take into our mouths. Read more
Published 1 month ago by JJ
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative and fun
I expected a systematic journey through the alimentary canal but what I got was much more eclectic and much more entertaining. Read more
Published 2 months ago by GeordieReader
5.0 out of 5 stars very interesting and sometimes funny. Enjoyed this book
very interesting and sometimes funny. Enjoyed this book.
Published 2 months ago by lotty
5.0 out of 5 stars foodie fan
came promptly well packed, looks good tho have yet to read it as bought as a gift for foodie friend
Published 2 months ago by bargain buster
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
Loved this look at your insides - so entertaining. Amazing what goes on under your skin and what people used to believe about bodily functions
Published 2 months ago by Tracey
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and funny
You will never sniff, chew, or swallow food (or consider its end product) in the same way again - I have recommended this book to everyone I know. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Blackberry-rum
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