Monday, June 10, 2013

#31 (2013/CBR5) "Gulp" by Mary Roach

Every once in awhile, I read a book that I have not already seen on the Cannonball blog, and I get excited that I can be the first one to review it. Invariably, though, I pick up the book too late or read the book too slowly, and a couple days before I finish, someone else has already reviewed my book. I thought I had a good chance with Gulp (2013) by Mary Roach because it's so new, but I guess if I really wanted to be first I should have bought the book instead of sitting on the library's wait list.

Perhaps it's fitting that I was introduced to Roach through past Cannonball Reads. I admire Mary Roach. She follows her interests, is able to learn and do amazing things (e.g., fly on the plane that makes you weightless), and then writes some informative stories about her research. She's written books on sex, death, ghosts, and space travel. Her natural inquisitiveness and good-natured humor make her more entertaining and relatable, and she's pretty fearless when it comes to jumping right in with taboo and/or "gross" subject matter. I'll read anything that she writes.

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal is Roach's latest book, and it's all about the digestive system. Now, the digestive system is a little less flashy than sex and death and not of immediate interest to me. This was definitely a book I picked up because of the author and not the subject. It is a testament to her humor and writing that I enjoyed it. Roach could find something interesting and humorous in a lemon sitting on a table, and although I wasn't quite as enthralled as I have been with some of her earlier books, I enjoyed reading it.

I knew to expect a book focused on the digestive system, but Roach still surprised me with the subjects related to digestion that she decided to explore. Her topics ranged from historical stories of research and ideas on digestion to Elvis's death; smuggling drugs and other contraband; being eaten alive; and fecal transplants. I found myself flying through the pages and never bored. I just saw that Roach's "My Planet" articles were recently published in book format, so I'll be reading those next. And I look forward to whatever topic catches Roach's interest for her next book.

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