Gulp Paperback – 6 Mar 2014
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‘The best kind of lavatory reading.’ Sunday Telegraph
‘Sassy sensibility and good-humoured gusto.’ The Times
‘Witty, illuminating and at times astonishing.’ Mail on Sunday
‘Gulp is an unalloyed pleasure.’ Fortean Times
‘No human organ goes unprodded in this epic quest for eupeptic enlightenment.’ The Economist
‘This is a wonderful read, with insight and anecdotes that make for great dinner party discussions or an absorbing read on the toilet. Which is appropriate enough.’ BBC Focus
‘The funniest [science book this year] by far… almost every page made me laugh out loud.’ Sunday Times
‘Gulp is far and away her funniest and most sparkling book… A vastly entertaining pilgrimage down the digestive tract, with Roach as the wittiest, most valuable tour guide imaginable.’ New York Times
‘Insightful, sharp science writing that will have you snorting with laughter is Mary Roach’s speciality.’ New Scientist
‘Diverting and witty.’ The Lady
‘Anyone who can’t cope with being reduced to helpless fits of laughter in public should read it only in the privacy of their own home. Roach’s writing is quirky, lucid, faultlessly re¬searched and outrageously funny… such a pleasure to read.’ Sunday Business Post (Ireland)
‘Joyously funny and intrepidly smart.’ Saga
‘[Roach] writes clearly, with gallows humour… compelling.’ Evening Standard
‘Fabulous, illuminating and nauseously graphic.’ Bookseller
About the Author
Mary Roach is the bestselling author of several popular science books. She has written for the Guardian, Wired, BBC Focus, GQ and Vogue and many other publications. She lives in California.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is a bit of a mixture and dots around from topic to topic whilst keeping in the same area of the body. What is included seems to be at the author's whim rather than anything systematic so you learn more science about one part of the body and more anecdotes about others. I liked the eclectic nature of the content and found the stories and science equally fascinating.
The author has a particular writing style which involves humorous quips as asides and footnotes. This is quite amusing to start with but rather grates by the end - a little too much of a good thing. She is also rather obsessed with what her interviewees are wearing.
I wouldn't say that the book was gruesome but it is dealing with bodily functions (you can work out which ones) and thus is quite graphic in places. Some of the anomalies people have had in their digestive systems are described with a certain amount of glee and there is also some description of some disturbing animal experiments (in the past). I didn't have an issue with any of this because it all added to the book and the story that the author was telling but if you get a bit queasy you might want to avoid some of the pages.
I was pleased I had read this book - I was entertained and informed.
The first half concerns itself with taste, food choice, cultural shibboleths and so forth. The second discusses faeces, mostly. The longest part of the gut, the small intestine which does most of the grunt work, barely gets a look in on the guided tour. Blink and you'll fall straight through the ileocecal valve. This lock gate in the canal, Roach reports, proves that you can't get nutrition from enemas, though you can get vitamins. The Vatican explored this issue in 1600, with respect to fasting nuns during Lent. I am left wondering if you can absorb electrolytes through enemas, and whether some learned Imam is right now delivering a fatwa about what is permitted during Ramadan, when nothing must pass your lips in the day. The colon is also used for smuggling and consuming drugs. But while it's not capacious enough for a suicide bomb (only the bomber will die, even on a plane) it is capable of taking in an iphone, though maybe not a tablet.
Roach is an assiduous researcher and though her writing style is easy to parody I greatly enjoyed this book. I am extremely grateful for it in fact; I dread to think of what ads pop up on the Roach family computer, I'm just glad they don't appear on mine. Perhaps she has permanently disabled cookies.Read more ›
Mary Roach not only follows the food we eat through our digestive tract but recounts past medical oddities, digestion habits of various animals and what Elvis really died of.
It is a fascinating if sometimes slightly repulsive look into our inner workings.
Roach makes information quite accessible to those who have not considered digestion (except when it pains us) and is quite amusing and light-hearted about her research.
I did, at one stage sit down to eat lunch while reading this but found this was not a good idea at all.
An interesting book.
At times, I found the humorous asides a rather intrusive and she was sometimes a bit too flippant about the manner of death of people who had died quite recently. However, these are small irritations and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and will definitely read more in the series.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great toilet book...literally! But much more than that. It's fascinating and quite serious at times.Published 8 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 8 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 8 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 9 months ago by Mu
In the hand of Mary Roach, the alimentary canal functions and working are explained in good and engaging manner. Well done Mary.Published 12 months ago by HRM