Daniel Chaikin's Reviews > Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal

Gulp by Mary Roach
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really liked it

Gulp is Roach's 5th major non-fiction book and I think that colors a lot of its character. It feels very casual, and to a large extent Roach is simply having fun in her own way. She follows the topics that interest her, the ones that lead to some of the oddest places. That means as a reader you will be entertained (a word that has a one-off shade of meaning here), but if it changes your life in anyway, its purely accidental. You won't come away with a feeling that you now know the digestive system. Instead you'll feel terrible for Elvis Presley, fascinated and disgusted and slightly impressed by the culture smuggling up there in prison, and you might pause for a second when she slightly modifies the advice of 8 glasses of water day with "but not all at once."

The book has a loose structure, from one end of digestive tract to the other, but mainly this is a collection of essays on specific odd digestive trivia. That makes it perfect for background audio on my daily commute, and I'll continue to seek out her other books.

The reader gets mixed grades*. She reads mostly fine, but she struggles with voices and then compensates for this by doing a lot of voices. (note to narrators of nonfiction - every person quoted doesn't need to be given a unique voice, especially not a strange one that likely has no connection to the voice of the real person quoted.)

*Emily Woo Zeller won an "AudioFile Earphones Award" for Gulp. So, take my criticism with that in mind.


68. Gulp: Adventures On the Alimentary Canal (audio) by Mary Roach
reader: Emily Woo Zeller
published: 2013
format: 8:21 digital audio
acquired: library
listened: Nov 7-16
rating: 3½
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Reading Progress

November 7, 2016 – Started Reading
November 7, 2016 – Shelved
November 7, 2016 –
November 8, 2016 –
November 8, 2016 –
November 10, 2016 –
November 13, 2016 –
November 15, 2016 –
November 16, 2016 –
100.0% "Light, fun, if a bit stomach-turning (I know, terrible pun, tasteless). Review coming later."
November 16, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

This sounds as though it was primarily meant to be entertaining, while "Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ" has a more comprehensive scientific focus. Have you read Gut?

Daniel Chaikin Lisa - right. Roach's interests are scientific, but not exactly practical. I'm not familiar with the book you mention, but it sounds like the focus is to help the reader. Roach more wants to interest you.

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Sounds like a good book to read anyway. Always fun to be entertained while learning something new. I believe that Caroline recommended this book, after I read Gut.

message 4: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Vegan I'm eager to read this. I love her writing. I especially loved Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers.

Daniel Chaikin Lisa Ann - I know Caroline has read it. I should check her review.

Lisa V - Stiff is on my tbr. Hope you enjoy this.

message 6: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Vegan Thanks, Daniel. I hope you enjoy the others. I'll look forward to hooefully reading your review of Stiff.

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