Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canalby Published 01 Apr 2013
|Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal.pdf|
|Publisher||W. W. Norton & Company|
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 of our insides. The alimentary canal is classic Mary Roach terrain: the questions inspired by our insides 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 names 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? We meet scientists who tackle the questions no one else thinks—or has the courage—to ask. And we go on location to a pet-food taste-test lab, a bacteria transplant, and into a live stomach to observe the fate of a meal.
Like all of Roach’s books, Gulp is as much about human beings as it is about human bodies.
"Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal" Reviews
Mary Roach is an author I can always count on to deliver an amazing book. This time she tackles digestion.
Did you know that holy-water enemas were performed at exorcisms?!
If Jonah was really eaten by a whale, could he have survived?! What if it was a shark?!
What does your pet REALLY want to eat?!
What does it feel like to stick your arm into a fistulated cow's stomach?!
What does it feel like to get a colonoscopy without sedation!?
Is it possible to burst a human stomach?! Eat yourself to death by overfilling?!
Can constipation kill you!? Is that how Elvis died?!
She will explain SCIENTIFICALLY how dragon myths were invented.
Can you literally "knock the shit/beat the shit" out of someone!?
It's VERY interesting, you'll learn A LOT, and Mary Roach is - as always - funny, fresh, and fearless. She's a great author and a very entertaining one.
If you did read my status updates, you can see that at times this book can get pretty disgusting.
But there's also a lot of wonder and amazement and beauty in the book too. You will learn a lot and the world will make more sense to you after reading it.
Finally, I am going to mention some trigger warnings. I know there's a big debate right now over whether trigger warnings are just stupid and ineffective, but I think that if you are a survivor of any of the following: [spoilers removed] you might want to proceed with caution in certain chapters. While Mary Roach approaches everything with a kind of scientific glee, seeing everything with a "that's so cool, and disgusting, but in an awesome fascinating way" glow that is very effective and friendly most of the time can leave me cold when she's talking about people's lives.
Oh, and ditto on the animals. This book is nowhere near close to the horrifying animal abuse presented in STIFF, but I want to warn those who are sensitive to animal cruelty that there are some experiments on dogs and other animals discussed here that are disgusting. Again, a far cry from STIFF, but still something worth mentioning.
In NO WAY to I feel like Mary Roach is making light of anyone (or any animal's) suffering. I think she's pretty respectful and I can understand why she put the stuff in the book. But it is a very graphic book and people who have been through some shit might want to skim or skip. That's all. It still gets a 5 from me.
P.S. And you might not want to read this book while you're eating.
Ahoy there me mateys! For those of ye who are new to me log, a word: though this log’s focus is on sci-fi, fantasy, and young adult, this Captain does have broader reading tastes. Occasionally I will share some novels that I enjoyed that are off the charts (a non sci-fi, fantasy, or young adult novel), as it were. So today I bring ye:
gulp: adventures on the alimentary canal (Mary Roach)
This book was so fascinating that I sat across from the first mate reading fact after fact out-loud to him, prompting discussions – interesting, varied, and oh so disgusting. Seriously ye will not be able to shut yer gob about these odd facts to those in yer proximity. Historical facts about enemas, Elvis, pet food, fecal matter, and saliva (seriously saliva is awesome) abound. Parts of it are funny, gross, but funny. I have always loved this author’s work ever since I read her book about cadavers called stiff. She takes subject matter that gives folks the heebie-jeebies (fecal transplants anyone?) and writes compelling, engaging, and thought-provoking commentary about her explorations of the subject. Other topics she has studied include spooks, the science of sex, and mars. I haven’t read her Mars one yet or the one about the science of war but they are on the list. If ye haven’t read her work I suggest ye give it a go. Taboo topics have never been so eloquently and matter-of-factly written about. I love her. Arrrrr!
Check out me other reviews at https://thecaptainsquartersblog.wordp...
Not as good as Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, nor as informative. It focuses a bit too much on entertaining the reader and less on informing. It wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing but I don’t really find jokes about feces and the holes it can come out of that amusing. There were also some parts, by the end of the book in which I could feel the author trying to gross me out despite her saying at the start of this book that she will treat this subject with respect and not try to disgust the reader. Maybe I’m just too squeamish.
Did you know that the human infant enters the world without information on what is edible and what is not, and until they are around the age of two, you can get them to eat almost anything? Or that saliva could be used to pretreat food stains because of the enzymes it contains (the same enzymes are artificially manufactured for laundry detergents)? Or that one of the reasons we like crunchy foods might be because we have a destructive nature and derive pleasure from destroying things?
Mary Roach is a popular science writer, and her books are accessible and hilarious. Gulp is about food, eating, and the human body: the journey food goes from the moment it passes our lips to the moment it exits our bodies. An interesting and informative book that had me laughing out loud as I read. Don’t skip the footnotes.
— Jen Sherman
from The Best Books We Read In March 2017: http://bookriot.com/2017/04/04/riot-r...
The science geek in me practically peed her pants she was so excited to read this book. (I guess my inner nerd has a mild case of urinary incontinence but that is neither here nor there...) I mean an entire book about the alimentary canal, starting with my home turf, the mouth? Count me in!
Will you enjoy this book? Well, that depends on how you answer the following questions. Have you ever wondered:
If you can die from trying to defecate too forcefully?
Why do animals eat their own poop?
Could the Jonah biblical story have scientific plausibility?
Why doesn't your stomach eat itself until there is nothing left?
What makes farts smell so disgusting?
What is the purpose of saliva and why do babies make so much?
How to prisoners smuggle so much junk up their butts?
I loved every second of finding out the answer to these questions and about 1,000 more that I didn't even know I had. I enjoyed the refresher course on human anatomy and physiology and LOVED Mary Roach's humorous approach to science. You do not have to have a science background to adore this book. It is perfectly suitable for all audiences, particularly ones that don't mind a little potty humor.
The narrator in the audiobook was spot on: Funny, tongue-in-cheek, and pleasant to listen too. This isn't a character-driven novel or anything like that, so the narrator just had to read the book and read it well, and that she did! I listened to this book in about a weeks time and felt a little more informed each day.
Warning: Possible side effects of reading this book include forcing your loved ones (aka the husband, in my case) to listen to about a bajillion facts about pooping, burps, farts, and gas. In case you are wondering, he did not appreciate learning that information, the neanderthal.