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review 2017-09-11 05:57
Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal - Mary Roach

TITLE:  Gulp:  Adventures of the Alimentary Canal


AUTHOR:  Mary Roach


FORMAT:  e-book


ISBN-13:  978-0-393-24030-6




NOTE:  The Flat Book Society Book Club selected Gulp by Mary Roach as the book to read for September and October 2017.




When a book is titled “Gulp: Adventures of the Alimentary Canal” and marketed as popular science, the potential reader assumes they will be reading a book that discusses how the digestive system works and other interesting facts about the alimentary canal.  Well… that is NOT this book.  This book is something of an unfocused hodge-podge of breezy, superficial facts; throw-away statements (we want to know more!); and odd historical stories about the scientists and their less than savoury experiments on the digestive tract.


The book is divided into 17 chapters which loosely  follow the physiological structure of the alimentary canal, beginning with taste and smell, and covering such topics as organ meats, cultural food preferences, chewing, gastric acid, saliva, swallowing, being eaten alive, eating too much, intestinal gasses and flammability, extra-curricular storage functions, colonic direction, constipation, and gut-microflora transplants.  After a while I found that the chapters started to blur together due to the collection of random facts, pointless fillers, multiple side tangents, and not-so-witty footnotes. 


I’m not really sure what the aim of this book was supposed to be, but it is more entertaining (if you find potty humour and fashion commentary entertaining) than educational.  In any case, Roach seems to take delight in showcasing the more sensational trivia and taboos about the digestive system, while at the same time providing excessive fashion commentary of the people she interviews.  There is very little actual science in this book and a limited coverage of the functioning of the alimentary canal.  This book emphasized the strange and bizarre occurrences related to the digestive system, but never fully explained the system itself.   


I found the writing to be a little sloppy with odd sentence structures, interesting single sentence comments that went no-where and lack of clarity between fact and personal opinion.  In addition, the author has an irreverent, rambling style with excessive asides, puns, dodgy humour and innuendoes, and a preoccupation with toilet humour that might appeal more to a 12 year old boy trying to revolt his baby sister than someone actually looking for information about the topic.  The excessive, crude toilet humour also didn’t appeal to me.


The subject matter has the potential to be extremely interesting; however, this book is not.  One reviewer described this book as the “Trivial Pursuit version of the “adventures on the alimentary canal,” not the informative, organized tour designed to give insight in an entertaining way”.  I can’t really argue with that.


I would not recommend this book to anyone, except possibly the aforementioned 12 year old boy in the hopes of enticing him away from the computer/ TV for a while.  There is too much filler and pointless trivia; and very little actual science in this book.



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review 2015-12-04 23:15
I Tried.
Cody's Dragon - K.M. Mahoney

I wanted to like this book. I really did. Unfortunately, I just couldn't.


I liked the idea of dragons. Yay, gimme some awesome overgrown lizards. I can't comment on how well the dragons were portrayed in this novel, heck, I can't even tell you how much of the word was fleshed out. I didn't get that far.


I finished reading at around chapter eight. I know, I know, not very far in. Here's the thing though, I found myself trudging through this book. Constantly checking how long I had to go until I was done. Then I realised, why am I even reading it? Whats the point of reading a book that is making me not want to read. Now, this is probably me being quite harsh, but well, whatever. 


I think that my main problem with this book is the insta-love. I can't stand it. I'm sorry, I just can't. And this book was particularly bad. Like I don't even think Cody knew the dragon's name and he had fallen in love. The dragon I can understand, because they have this dragon power thing, which lets them know if its true love, and their soul mate and blah blah blah. But Cody? Nope, he's a regular old (well, he aint old, but yanno) human. I'm sorry to those who do like insta-love. I just don't. Its not for me.


If insta-love is your thing, then I would definitely recommend this book. Hopefully you'll make it past chapter eight.

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text 2015-07-05 21:40
Reading progress update: I've read 70 out of 835 pages.
A Game of Thrones - George R.R. Martin

Sneak peek of the cover of the 6˚ book of the series for the people who finished all the books already:


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