- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (12 April 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393081575
- ISBN-13: 978-0393081572
- Product Dimensions: 15 x 3 x 21.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,074,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal Hardcover – 12 Apr 2013
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More About the Author
As probing as an endoscopy, Gulp is quintessential Mary Roach: supremely wide-ranging, endlessly curious, always surprising, and, yes, gut-wrenchingly funny. --Tom Vanderbilt, author of Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)"
'Fascinating [and] funny...Roach pulls off the serious stuff, too. She forces us to re-imagine ourselves not as spinal, brain-driven bipeds, but as 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 --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Air swallowing (aerophagia) or overeating producing burps , belching and heartburn are explained, as are stomach rupture and competitive eating with startling revelations.Read more ›
"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.Read more ›
By Mary Roach
Though author Roach was recently called "America's funniest science writer" (Washington Post) she is not a scientist and claims that she often times has to fake her way through interviews with the experts. This alone was enough of an endorsement to get my attention, yet I've read her work before and pretty much knew what I was in for. Or did I?
Though author Roach starts off with a non-alimentary canal location (the nose) it's quickly explained that it is through the process of smell that we eat what we do, not necessarily because of how it tastes. Eighty to Ninety percent, to be exact. And on she travels, down our inner tubing, splashing next into the stomach. Since mine is on the sensitive side, I paid close attention to this particular chapter, before moving on down.
"...stomachs can digest themselves. Gastric acid and pepsin digest the cells of the stomach's protective layer quite effectively...the organ swiftly rebuilds what it breaks down. A healthy adult has a new stomach lining every three days."
Food for thought indeed.
The author offers tons of interesting facts, figures and things to consider, here are just a few; Laundry detergent is essentially a digestive tract in a box, fecal transplants can cure intractable C. diff infection, internal cleansings are very unhealthy, humans secrete two types of saliva--stimulated and un-stimulated and Elvis did not die of an overdose. I'm not telling, you'll have to read this baby to find out the truth.
Over the years, as you can well imagine, many, in the name of science, came up with all sorts of reasons why and how the body digested food and ways to help the process along.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great toilet book...literally! But much more than that. It's fascinating and quite serious at times.Published 2 months ago by Susie M.
I don't recommend reading this straight after Sunday dinner. She's a hilariously funny writer, probably the best popular science writer around. Read morePublished 3 months ago by James O'Mahony
It's OK, but there is a lot of irrelevant explanations regarding what goes on in prisons and other facts which are not of much interest. Read morePublished 3 months ago by D'
I really did not like this book. I did not understand why Ms Roach has to describe everybody she meets. It reads like a Bill Bryson's book about science. I just did not like it. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Mu
Best non-fiction I have ever read. Leant to at least 5 people nowPublished 5 months ago by Glory_Supreme