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Mar 2, 2013 10:50 AM

"Gulp - Adventures on the Alimentary Canal"

Newest book by witty science writer Mary Roach, release date April 1. No fooling. If it compares to previous works "Stiff" (cadavers) and "Bonk" (just what you think), it will be both funny and fascinating.

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  1. Bumping to say how much I am enjoying this book. She starts at the nose and mouth and heads south from there. I'm most of the way through, where Roach fans will appreciate her glee at discovering an intestinal gas researcher named Colin Leakey, and a paper on the danger of toxic gas in manure pits co-authored by a Dr. Crapo. I'm learning new words, too, e.g. "alvine": of or relating to the belly or intestines. I learned that many toilets in Germany, Poland, and elsewhere have scatological shelves allowing for inspection before flushing, though I don't get why underwater viewing isn't sufficient. Although she is a consummately witty writer, Roach has a keen scientific curiosity about how the human body works, and ultimately respects her sources and subjects.

    1. Thanks, I missed this first time around. Apparently many in my city have seen your review as I am now 25th in line to get it. Will check out her other books. Titles remind me of Carl Hiaasen's books for kids - Hoot, Chomp, Scat, and Flush.

      1. I really enjoyed this as well. I was fascinated about the chapter on pet food and the chapter on spit. I still can't believe that every human generates 2-3 pints of saliva a day! I loved that factoid.

        Also, I really enjoyed her discovery of scientists' names and their specialities (or what they should specialize in depending on their last names). I wonder when she will write a book about bugs.

        The book was amusing and interesting.

        1 Reply
        1. re: beetlebug

          Roach writes/wrote a monthly column for Reader's Digest that was somewhat in Erma Bombeck territory but her books have been human biology oriented. If you have not read the others, I think the best is the first, Stiff (caveat: I skipped the one on astronauts).

        2. Just heard that she is being interviewed on NPR's America's Test Kitchen Radio tomorrow, June 16. In my area, it's at 3pm. Probably a repeat but if so I missed it first time.

          1. This book is classic Roach. Very informative while being fantastically funny at the same time. Not her best work...I agree, that would be Stiff, followed by Bonk....but still a great read. The ironic thing is that this was the book I took with me to the hospital when I was admitted for emergency colon surgery.............