Gulp by Mary Roach
If you know me, you know about my mega lady crush on Mary Roach. It began when multiple people purchased me copies of Stiff, simply because of the cover (I used to want to be a mortician). That cover sold me instantly... and I didn't even yet know the awesomeness that awaited me inside.
We all have those authors that we will be right there to purchase anything they write. Roach is one of those for me. Everything she writes is fascinating, gross and humorous... and Gulp was no exception. One of the illustrations was of the Bristol Stool Scale ("fluffy pieces with ragged edges, a mushy stool"), for God's sake! She is my kind of chick!
America's funniest science writer (Washington Post) takes us down the hatch on an unforgettable tour. The alimentary canal is classic Mary Roach terrain: the questions explored in Gulp are as taboo, in their way, as the cadavers in Stiff and every bit as surreal as the universe of zero gravity explored in Packing for Mars. Why is crunchy food so appealing? Why is it so hard to find words for flavors and smells? Why doesn t the stomach digest itself? How much can you eat before your stomach bursts? Can constipation kill you? Did it kill Elvis? In Gulp we meet scientists who tackle the questions no one else thinks of or has the courage to ask. We go on location to a pet-food taste-test lab, a fecal transplant, and into a live stomach to observe the fate of a meal. With Roach at our side, we travel the world, meeting murderers and mad scientists, Eskimos and exorcists (who have occasionally administered holy water rectally), rabbis and terrorists who, it turns out, for practical reasons do not conceal bombs in their digestive tracts.
Like all of Roach's books, Gulp is as much about human beings as it is about human bodies."