~post by Merrilee
I bet if Mary Roach wrote textbooks, you could get a lot more high school students interested in Biology. I say this because I’m three-fourths of the way through her new book, Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, and even the parts that are too disgusting to repeat here (and trust me, there are plenty) are completely fascinating, and often hysterically funny. Of course, not everything in the book is gross. For instance, do you know the first name of the doctor who treated President Garfield when he was assassinated? Doctor. That’s right, the doctor’s name was Dr. Doctor Bliss.
Or how about this: is it really possible to lower the national debt by chewing your food more thoroughly? MUCH more thoroughly?
On the other hand, you can only write so much about adventures on the alimentary canal, as the cover says, without writing about its products, including flatulence and, um…. solid waste. From the mouth to the other end, from Eskimo kisses to pet food to “prison wallets”, from cultural food preferences to transit times (“The human digestive tract is about thirty hours and the scenery on the last leg is pretty monotonous,”) the human gastrointestinal tract is all here, in all its funny, icky detail.
PS. The footnote on page 151 is possibly the best footnote in any book EVER!
Copies of Gulp are available on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.