Caution: if you are like me and like to read while you are eating this may not be the book for you.

Mary Roach obviously likes science. In her previous books she explores space travel (Packing for Mars), sex and reproduction (Bonk), and death (Stiff). In this latest book, Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal she tackles digestion from beginning to end. As in her earlier works her research is fascinating and her delivery is hilarious. If you can get past the yuck factor you will be in for an entertaining and enlightening experience.

A sample of facts from the book:

  • The best method for cleaning fine art? Spit. It’s true–art conservators have found that plain saliva cleans delicate art better than any other solvent. Saliva contains enzymes which dissolve grime.
  • The “study animal of choice” for taste researchers? Catfish. Taste is essentially a chemical reaction. Catfish bodies “taste” as they swim along and brush up against potential food.
  • The animal with possibly the most multi-functional stomach? Penguins. Penguins are able to control the temperature of their stomachs which reduces gastric acids and turns the stomach into “a kind of cooler” for transporting fish hundreds of miles from where the fish were caught to their young in the nest.

Perfect for your summer reading!

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal 348 pages

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