Mark our words: by the time you finish reading this smart and sassy exploration of the alimentary canal, you will have a new appreciation for the spiritual practice of excluding nothing from your heart. Mary Roach, a bestselling author of four books, has rightly been called by the Washington Post "America's funniest science writer." With energy and creativity, she discusses chewing, swallowing, digesting, and excreting with exotic side trips where she writes about the Jonah and the whale story, the drooling of babies, the journey of the bolus, the smuggling of cellphones and other objects in the rectum, and the problems Elvis Presley had with his bowels.

Mary Roach's Gulp is jam-packed with information. Here's a brief sampler of data we found interesting:

• Americans eat, on average, no more than thirty different foods on a regular basis.

• Without sniffing, we miss as much as 90 percent of the smells going on around us.

• People like what they eat, rather than eat what they like.

• When you blush, the lining of your stomach blushes too.

• Wounds that take weeks to heal on the skin will heal within a week inside the mouth.

• The technical terms for chewed food which paves the tops of your molars: toothpack.

Thank you, Mary Roach, for giving us a fresh appreciation of the marvels of the human body.