Ahoy there me mateys! For those of ye who are new to me log, a word: though this log’s focus is on sci-fi, fantasy, and young adult, this Captain does have broader reading tastes. Occasionally I will share some novels that I enjoyed that are off the charts (a non sci-fi, fantasy, or young adult novel), as it were. So today I bring ye:
the sound of a wild snail eating (Elisabeth Tova Bailey)
This was a beautiful and fascinating non-fiction read. Ms. Bailing was 34 years old and vacationing in Europe when she caught a virus that would change her life’s trajectory. What seemed like a simple flu led to her being bedridden and unable to move. The impulse of a visiting friend to bring her some violets and a woodland snail to her bedroom’s windowsill, leads the author on a journey of contemplation and companionship of an unlikely creature. Part memoir and part natural history lesson, I highly recommend this novel.
Snails are fascinating. For example did ye know that snails have teeth? Or that the scientific name for a snail, gastropod, means “stomach-foot?” Or that snails “tormented & haunted” Charles Darwin? Or that if it is quiet enough ye CAN hear a wild snail eat?
From poems and quotes from scientific literature, to exquisite reflections from the author, this novel was poetic look into the life of snails in general and one snail in particular. It is a fast and stunning read. I will never again look at snails in the same way. Pick this one up. It’s worth the read.
To listen to a wild snail eating click below (from the author’s website):
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
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.
While an illness keeps her bedridden, Bailey watches a wild snail that has taken up residence on her nightstand. As a result, she discovers the solace and sense of wonder that this mysterious creature brings and comes to a greater under standing of her own confined place in the world.
Intrigued by the snail’s molluscan anatomy, cryptic defenses, clear decision making, hydraulic locomotion, and mysterious courtship activities, Bailey becomes an astute and amused observer, providing a candid and engaging look into the curious life of this underappreciated small animal.
Told with wit and grace, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating is a remarkable journey of survival and resilience, showing us how a small part of the natural world illuminates our own human existence and provides an appreciation of what it means to be fully alive.
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