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An Amazon Best Book of the Month, April 2013: Mary Roach’s investigations into weird body science were inspired by a
plastic torso with removable organs in her fifth-grade class, “the point at which curiosity began to push aside disgust
or fear or whatever it is that so reliably deflects mind from body.” Since then, she’s investigated death (Stiff), sex
(Bonk), life after death (Spooked), and life in zero-gravity (Packing for Mars). Now, she cruises down the alimentary
canal with Gulp. As you’d expect with Roach, this isn’t a methodical top-to-bottom tour. It’s more delightful and
memorable than that. She’s a gorgeous writer, a master of sly asides, puns, and the bizarre but ultimately relevant
story, sounding at times like an absurdly well-informed comedian (her footnotes are must-reads). And her evocative
portraits of experts obsessed with their piece of the digestive puzzle--the surprising properties of saliva, nuances of
chewing and digesting, and, yes, the incredible control of the colon--coaxes her readers beyond the gag reflex,
inspiring awe for the world inside ourselves. --Mari Malcolm