Off the Charts – the sound of a wild snail eating (Elisabeth Tova Bailey)

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.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Elisabeth Tova Bailey – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

the sound of a wild snail eating – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

13 thoughts on “Off the Charts – the sound of a wild snail eating (Elisabeth Tova Bailey)

  1. I love the sound of the snail and takes me back to when as a girl I kept some snails in a glass jar and watched their lives – they can move a lot faster and further than folks give them credit for and I do recall being able to hear them eating if I put my ear to the jar and listened very carefully…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love that ye kept snails as pets! I had toads, birds, turtles, cats, gerbils and lots of other things but never knew snails could be kept. Of course now that I be older, I do think things like toads, turtle, and snails are better off in natural habitats wherever possible.
      x The Captain

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This book sounds interesting
    I will definitely read it
    Thank you for your sharing it with your
    I would have never have picked this book up but because of your review
    I can’t wait
    Thank you !!!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My first thought when l saw the title of this post: “From goats to snails?! What’s the cap’n up to now?!”
    But that’s interesting though. I didn’t know they have teeth or that we can actually hear them eating. I assumed also that the title was a sorta metaphor.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This book has led me on a merry chase of snails and such. So much so that I got excited when mollusks were featured in a museum in recent port and had to visit. There were also frogs and butterflies and stickbugs and dinosaurs. It was fun.
      x The Captain


      1. Ah, that’s the best kind of reads. The ones that send ye off on an adventure searching for mollusks. 🙂 I love it when a book excites me that much that I delve deeper into its subject.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I like read for amusement. Learning new things is a bonus. Even writing reviews can lead me down the rabbit hole just by visiting the author’s websites. Fun facts and snails eating in this instance.
        x The Captain

        Liked by 1 person

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