Gulp by Mary Roach

Gulp by Mary Roach (unabridged audiobook read by Emily Woo Zeller; 8.5 hrs on 7 discs): This is a tour of the entire digestive system, end to end, from cat food tasters to fecal transplants. It’s told mostly with a sense of wonder, with the occasional bit of juvenile humor (because come on, really). The breadth of information is vast and most of the anecdotes are fascinating, but all in all I just could not get over the Ick Factor. As interesting or funny as the text was, I found I could not eat during any portion of this book. The mere mention of gastric juices was enough to put me off my breakfast. Still, it remains – as with all of Roach’s books – an unexpectedly enthralling survey of a subject you likely never gave much though to before. I just didn’t come away with the same desire to read more about any of the case studies presented because, you know, ick.

A note on the audio: Zeller’s decision to do character voices for the real people in the book was a little strange, but it didn’t detract from the narration. I just wonder what the actual people thought of her “impressions”.

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