GROSS AMERICA by Richard Faulk – is a coast-to-coast catalog of the most grandly gross science experiments, beautifully bizarre art, and delightfully disgusting historical sites that America has to offer. Part travel atlas, part trivia guide, Gross America presents these United States as you’ve never seen them before—weird, wonderful, strange, and totally, utterly gross.
And our “Books of Useless Information” series by David Haviland and Francesca Gould:
WHY FISH FART – H ere is another thoroughly distasteful yet utterly compelling book from the author of the New York Times (extended list) bestseller Why You Shouldn’t Eat Your Boogers and Other Useless (or Gross) Information About Your Body. In Why Fish Fart and Other Useless (or Gross) Information About the World, Francesca Gould sifts through the world’s most unpleasant creatures, diseases, physical deformities, culinary delicacies, ritual practices, and hideous torture tactics to uncover every horrifying and stomach-turning fact under the sun.
WHY DOGS EAT POOP - explores a subject positively rife with gross miscellany: the animal kingdom. Indeed, animals do the darnedest things and, in this vastly entertaining book, Gould and Haviland uncover a universe of strange, hilarious, and quite often disgusting animal habits, ailments, and practices, including Monkey-Faced Lamb disease; farting snakes; dino-chickens; and a creature you’ve never heard of that eats with its eyes.
WHY YOU SHOULD STORE YOUR FARTS IN A JAR – In this installation in his gross series, David Haviland plumbs the world of medicine to uncover the answers to such vitally important questions as: What exactly is urine therapy?; Is it safe to fly with breast implants?; How did a nine-and-a-half-inch spatula find its way into a surgery patient’s body?; Why do some boxers drink their own pee?; What is cyclic vomiting syndrome and how can one avoid it?
Any fan of the absurd and/or obscure is sure to delight in these strange, stomach-churning books!
Check out the books below for some great travel-centric inspiration.
HIDDEN CITIES by Moses Gates is a travel book tailor-made for those with the most adventurous spirits. In his compelling and insightful new book, Gates lets readers join him on his travels and reveals the wonders—some off limits, and some accessible to those willing to put in a little effort—that you won’t find in a typical guidebook. He details his explorations of the “true” catacombs of Paris (the ones you have to search for, without ropes or lit pathways); the abandoned City Hall subway station; and the roofs of Sao Paolo that you can scale to get a free view of the sprawling city.
Read a HIDDEN CITIES excerpt HERE.
SAFE JOURNEYby Julia Cameron, bestselling author of THE ARTIST’S WAY takes a more holistic approach to travel. In this book, readers can join Cameron as she describes how she transformed her experience of flying—and imparts knowledge that anxious fliers can employ in their own travels. In this volume, she offers prayers, tools and strategies to alleviate the stress of travel. She teaches readers how to build a support system of people to call before and after your trip; how to pinpoint specific anxieties and meditate on those rather than the whole experience; and so on. Her wisdom will help comfort and soothe even the most anxious of fliers, and SAFE JOURNEY provides not only ways to endure the journey across country, but to enjoy the journey of life.
Read a SAFE JOURNEY excerpt HERE.
GROSS AMERICA by Richard Faulk is not your mother’s travel guide. If you want to do away with the tired beach and bar scene at your next travel destination and try something a bit more daring, this is the book for you. Whether exploring the preserved remains of Siamese twins at Philadelphia’s Mutter Museum or or taking a tour of the last remaining plastic vomit factory in Chicago, the places in this book are sure to make you laugh… and feel kind of nauseous.
Read a GROSS AMERICA excerpt HERE.
Gross America: Your Coast-to-Coast Guide to All Things Gross by Richard Faulk
Oh the family road trip: that shining opportunity for the nuclear unit to scout out the rest of what America has to offer beyond their neighborhood’s borders. If there’s a road map that can spice up this family ordeal a few notches above the obligatory visit to the mountains, the beaches and the historical monuments that constitute road trip tradition, Gross America is the ticket. This fun and informative read is ideal for a source of America’s quirkiest facts, features and potential travel destinations!
The Internet is a Playground: Irreverent Correspondences of an Online Evil Genius by David Thorne
Internet entities usually have a penchant for establishing some of the most unique and appealing personalities in popular culture. But few among these Internet celebrities assume a more sinister personality. Internet sensation David Thorne spills the dirt on the makings of an Online Evil Genius in The Internet is a Playground. With behind-the-scenes access to this quirky character’s life, this book is an enjoyable read for that sassy friend we all have in our lives who enjoy a little bit of mischief and mayhem.
Wonders in the Sky: Unexplained Aerial Objects from Antiquity to Modern Times by Jacques Vallee and Chris Aubeck
The prospect of aliens can be frightening. To admit that an extraterrestrial entity exists somewhere in the stretches of outer space can be a hard truth to swallow. The only thing spookier than thinking about aliens would be an actual encounter with one! In Wonders in the Sky, Jacques Vallee and Chris Aubeck follow the stories of real-life encounters with alien life and weave together connections that can send shivers down the spines of die-hard alien fans.
*Cat Daddy: What the World’s Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me about Life, Love, and Coming Clean by Jackson Galaxy
At first glance, Jackson Galaxy wouldn’t strike anyone as your average cat-whispering hero. He’s rough and he’s tough, but gentle? Not a chance. It’s a good thing we all know that appearances can be quite deceptive! In Cat Daddy: What the World’s Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me about Life, Love and Coming Clean, the tattooed rock star tells us how caring for an injured cat pulled him out of the lowest moments of his life. As entertaining as it is heartwarming, Galaxy’s journey through rehabilitation can teach us much about second chances.
Real Wolfmen: True Encounters in Modern America by Linda S. Godfrey
For those of us who take our investigations of the supernatural world seriously, books that satiate our hunt for real information are few and hard to come by. Luckily, dedicated fans of werewolves can find just the kind of flavor their looking for in Linda S. Godfrey’s book Real Wolfmen: True Encounters in Modern America. Packed with riveting accounts with these midnight creatures, this book is a great read for anyone who can’t help but let their imaginations run wild.
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Between my personal knowledge and tips from a network of reliable friends, I covered a considerable swath. Beyond that, there was a lot of research, mostly online.
Sometimes I started with an object or even a concept and then had to work backward to find someplace where you could go see it. For instance, I knew early on that I wanted to write about the corpse flower—but which particular arboretum to choose was a secondary consideration that came much later on.
For that line of research, I followed science news. I read the New York Times science section and listened to Talk of the Nation’s Science Friday on NPR. Discovery magazine also has some terrific science blogs: Discoblog and The Loom. It was from Discoblog that I learned about the new funerary technology called “flameless cremation,” which was being pioneered in the UK. The practice had not come here yet, but I eventually found a funeral home in Florida that was lobbying local government to allow flameless cremation. This past summer, it became the first place in the nation to offer this new service. (Oh, and by the way, it’s totally gross.)
One thing I saw clearly while researching this book is that progress is decidedly nonlinear. Science is full of dead ends; good ideas are often enmeshed with lots of nonsense that can take decades to strip away; and geniuses in one field can be imbeciles in another. On the other hand, discarded ideas, when viewed from hindsight, often contain the key to solving new puzzles.
Here’s an example. When I was writing about the birth control exhibit at Cleveland’s Dittrick Museum, I thought I was writing about a quaint and distant history. I had no idea that, by the time the book came out, contraception would have become controversial again. The issue had seemed utterly settled—until it suddenly wasn’t. It just goes to show how history is never over and done with. Old stories have a way of coming back, over and over again.
What region had the most destinations?
In the contest for the title of Grossest Region, the North East just barely beats out the West. California and New York, however, are tied as the grossest states.
People might argue that Texas and Florida are underrepresented. But while these are epically weird states, to be sure, weird is not the same thing as gross. However, if I had chosen to include fewer human artifacts and more wildlife—including not just plants and animals, but insects, parasites, and nasty microorganisms—the gross quotient of the South and Southwest would have been considerably higher.
To my surprise, New England is a nearly gross-free zone—at least according to my research. Perhaps it’s the Yankee antipathy to frivolity. But my guess is that they just conceal their shame more effectively than the rest of us. Boston has lots of gross attractions—but that’s the region’s striking exception.
What, in your opinion, are some of the ‘grossest’ destinations in the book?
Well, this is giving away one of the book’s secrets…but, OK: Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum is officially the nation’s grossest attraction.
Actually, that should come as no surprise to any student of grossology, among whom the Mütter is universally regarded as the outstanding pu-pu platter at the banquet table of America grotesquerie. It offers an exquisite, single serving of treats you’d have to travel to a dozen other medical museums to find: a human skull collection, jars of diseased brains and other organs, preserved mutant babies, and so on. To find out which exhibit, in my opinion, puts it over the top, you’ll have to look for yourself in the book.
Over time, I think I’ve become slightly inured to my topic, because I tend to think about my subjects now with more affection than horror. The so-called sperm tree of Los Angeles proved to be far more fascinating that I expected. And the fact that an antique chamber pot thought to have belonged to the real-life Uncle Sam should be proudly displayed in a prim local history museum is simply delightful.
Read an excerpt HERE.
That refreshing fall breeze is back in full swing and with it follows the promise of pumpkin spice lattes, thicker cardigans and of course, Halloween! To inaugurate the return of this festive season, we’ve compiled a selection of Tarcher favorites memorable for their spooky qualities to ease you into the Halloween mood.
FALLING IN LOVE WITH JOSEPH SMITH by Jane Barnes – Storyteller or visionary, fraud or messenger of God – this book describes one woman’s quest to untangle America’s homegrown prophet. Though many writers have explored Mormonism, Barnes describes a more personal journey into religious obsession. The result, Falling In Love with Joseph Smith, is a book that anyone with a spiritual bone will relate to.
MISS JANE AUSTEN’S GUIDE TO MODERN LIFE’S DILEMMAS by Rebecca Smith is the ideal gift for the Jane Austen fanatic in your life. In this sly and funny book, novelist Rebecca Smith—who also happens to be Jane Austen’s great, great, great, great, great niece—draws on Austen’s novels to glean answers to some of our most burning questions about life, love, and what to wear.
REAL WOLFMEN: True Encounters in Modern America by Linda S. Godfrey is written for skeptics and believers alike, collecting and analyzing eyewitness accounts of so-called “manwolf” sightings across the United States. It traverses the fringes of American folklore, and shines an unwavering light on the questions gnawing at every reader: Who are these wolfmen? Where did they come from? What do they want from us?
GROSS AMERICA by Richard Faulk is a coast-to-coast catalog of the most grandly gross science experiments, beautifully bizarre art, and delightfully disgusting historical sites that America has to offer. Part travel atlas, part trivia guide, it presents these United States as you’ve never seen them before—weird, wonderful, and totally, utterly gross.
INSPIRED AND UNSTOPPABLE by Tama Kieves offers proof that the path to career success isn’t always linear. Stressing that nothing great ever happens overnight, it rejects the typical, simple, ‘8 Easy Steps’ formulas that populate so many career guides, and offers inspiration and guidance framed through Kieves’ own journey to empowerment, including ways that readers can combat the fears, doubts and bogeymen that will plague them along the way.