Poops and Giggles

“Sometimes people are like, ‘Ew, I don't want to read a book about digestive health,’ and I’m like, ‘No, this is not about digestive health,’” explains Mary Roach, the author of Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal. “It's an unconventional travelogue through the food chute.”

Whether she’s writing about “prison hooping” — smuggling contraband in the rectum — or intestinal-gas researcher Colin Leakey, whose name she pronounces “colon leaky,” Roach gobbles up details lesser writers might miss and excretes pure gold.

“The rest of the body is secluded and sterile and kept pristine. The alimentary canal is kind of anything goes. It's like an offshore gambling zone. It has its own rules and is smelly and gross and full of bacteria. It's a hole that goes all the way through us, and it afforded me a lot of interesting stops along the way,” she says.

In the book, Roach taps into our universal adolescent obsession with farts, burps and exploding bowels, and once she's grabbed us by the guts, she morphs into an eloquent science teacher translating medical scholarship into funny stories.

Roach will read from and sign copies of Gulp at 7:30 p.m. tonight at the Boulder Book Store, 1107 Pearl Street in Boulder, and at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Tattered Cover, 2526 East Colfax Avenue. For more information, call 303-477-2074 or go to boulderbookstore.net.
Tue., April 22, 7:30 p.m., 2014

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Kyle Harris has been Westword’s Culture Editor since 2016, writing about the arts, music and film.
Contact: Kyle Harris