Mary Roach on Gulp | Tantorious

Tantorious is a semi-monthly podcast series featuring interviews with well-known authors, hosted by Allan Hoving and presented by Tantor Audio.

Mary Roach is the author of the books Stiff, Spook, Bonk, and Packing for Mars. She has written for Outside, Discover, New Scientist, National Geographic, and the New York Times Magazine, among others. Her new book, Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, is a New York Times bestseller. In it, Roach – called America’s funniest science writer by the Washington Post – takes us down the hatch on an unforgettable tour.



Excerpts from the audio interview:

Q: When did you become interested in this subject, and why?

A: When I was reporting the zero-gravity toilet chapter for Packing for Mars. It’s right up my… alley. I tend to cover things related to the human body and often the more taboo elements. So it’s kind of a wonder I didn’t get to this sooner.

Q: What’s your favorite part of the book, or of the alimentary canal?

A: I would have to say it’s a tie between the mouth and the rectum. [laughs] There’s a sentence that hasn’t been said before! Saliva is sort of a miracle substance, and that was fascinating.

Q: Are there unsung parts of the digestive system that are really interesting?

A: The human stomach is equipped with all kinds of safety mechanisms, all these reflexive things that happen without your realizing it, including throwing up and farting. We can get into those further if you’d like – or not!

Listen to a sample of the Tantor audiobook edition of Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, narrated by Emily Woo Zeller.

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