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The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by…

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

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8327516,281 (4.08)146

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Showing 1-5 of 72 (next | show all)
between 3 and 3.5. this came to me at the exact right time. what a lovely little volume about (right now, to me) slowing down, noticing the little things, being grateful for what we can do in the body we have. and i had no idea that snails were such interesting creatures, or how many species there were, or the sheer volume that has been written about them historically. incredible.

on the illness that afflicted her: "Even if you are still who you were, you cannot actually fully be who you are."

a quote from Rilke: "Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer." ( )
1 vote overlycriticalelisa | Dec 6, 2018 |
I had heard about this book a few times, and finally on a whim I picked it up at Barnes & Noble. Aesthetically from the cover, the size, and the title, I was already sold. I couldn't wait to read it, so when my book club's category for October was "books on a subject you'd like to learn about" I jumped at the opportunity to read it.

I. Ate. This. Up. It was so good, I couldn't put it down--but not in a fast-pace thriller type of way. Instead I was so thoroughly enamored with her observations of this snail and so surprised that I could be so enamored that kept me reading. Most small creepy-crawlies disgust me, particularly ones that are slimy to boot, so the fact that I am now in love with snails has to be a good recommendation for this book.

It wasn't just the educational content of the book--I certainly learned a lot about Mollusca--but rather the meditative, meandering atmosphere of the telling that made me feel like reading this slowed my heartbeat and eased my general anxiety. Somehow, Elisabeth Tova Bailey infused the nature of the snail into her storytelling. I've honestly added this book to my list of self-care options. After all, it's so short as a whole and each chapter is bite-sized that it would make for a quick relaxer.

In addition to somehow instilling the snails slow-paced lifestyle into these pages, Elisabeth Tova Bailey also expertly weaved in the academic learning she pursued about the snail and the updates on her own life and illness as she watched the snail live its life. It came to resemble the natural and effortless flow of her snail's shell whorls. ( )
  ilikeike | Oct 11, 2018 |
This book was far more about snails than I expected, and the snail facts were far more interesting. It was a fascinating look into the author's life and experiences with ME/CFS and an even more fascinating look at life. Great memoir. ( )
  tldegray | Sep 21, 2018 |
Lovely book. Decimated by illness, the author becomes fascinated by snails after a friend brought one in to her with a pot of violets. That fascination may well be what saved her from losing her mind when forced to be bedridden for an excrutiatingly long time. As always, I find, nature soothes and heals the spirit. ( )
  juju2cat | May 20, 2018 |
I was a bit disappointed with this book because I thought that I would be reading more about the author and her illness. Instead, this was a book about her experience with a snail. With the title of the book, I should not have been surprised. ( )
  PamV | Mar 27, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 72 (next | show all)
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A small pet is often an excellent companion.
— Florence Nightingale, Notes on Nursing, 1912
The natural world is the refuge of the spirit... richer even than human imagination.
—Edward O. Wilson, Biophilia, 1984
To biophilia
First words
In early spring, a friend went for a walk in the woods, and glancing down at the path, saw a snail. Picking it up, she held it gingerly in the palm of her hand and carried it back toward the studio where I was convalescing.
...my grandfather settled into life as a country doctor...when he answered a patient's call, even in the middle of the night, his very first words were always, "I am so sorry that you are not feeling well." How rare is it to hear a doctor express such empathy.
It seemed far more sensible to belong to a species that had evolved natural tooth replacement than to belong to one that had developed the dental profession.
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Book description
While an illness keeps her bedridden, Elisabeth Bailey watches a wild snail that has taken up residence in a terrarium alongside her bed. She enters the rhythm of life of this mysterious creature, and comes to a greater understanding of her own confined place in the world. In a work that beautifully demonstrates the rewards of closely observing nature, she shares the inspiring and intimate story of her close encounter with Neohelix albolabris - acommon woodland snail. Intrigued by the snail's world - from its strange anatomy to its mysterious courtship activities - she becomes a fascinated and amused observer of the snail's curious life. The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating is an affirmation of the healing power of nature, revealing how much of the world we miss in our busy daily lives, and how truly magical it is. A remarkable journey of survival and resilience, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating shows how a small part of the natural world can illuminate our own human existence and deepen our appreciation of what it means to be fully alive.
Haiku summary
Most unlikely friend,
Humble snail, shows me the way.
Glide here. Stick there. Wait.

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In a work that beautifully demonstrates the rewards of closely observing nature, Elisabeth Bailey shares an inspiring and intimate story of her uncommon encounter with a "Neohelix albolabris" --a common woodland snail.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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