The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating: A True Story Hardcover – Aug. 24 2010
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- Publisher : Algonquin Books; 1st edition (Aug. 24 2010)
- Language: : English
- Hardcover : 208 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1565126068
- ISBN-13 : 978-1565126060
- Item Weight : 272 g
- Dimensions : 13.49 x 1.91 x 18.57 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #620,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
WINNER OF THE WILLIAM SAROYAN INTERNATIONAL PRIZE FOR NONFICTION (2012)
WINNER OF THE JOHN BURROUGHS MEDAL (2011)
NATIONAL OUTDOOR BOOK AWARD FOR 2010 in Natural History Literature
BOOKS FOR A BETTER LIFE AWARD, FINALIST for Inspirational Memoir
TOP TEN ADULT SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY BOOKS FOR 2010, Booklist
BEST BOOKS OF 2010: MORE OF THE BEST, Library Journal
GREAT TITLES TO ADD TO THE NYT BEST OF 2010, Huffington Post
“Beautiful.” —Edward O. Wilson
“Universal, deeply felt, and with an enormously generous soul, the gently told story grants readers a heightened appreciation for the ever-shrinking, ever-fascinating, secretive parts of our unkempt world.” —Alexandra Fuller for The Daily Beast
“How interesting can a snail be? Entirely captivating, as it turns out. [Bailey] is a marvelous writer, and the marriage of science and poetic mysticism that characterizes this small volume is magical.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
“[Bailey] found comfort in an unlikely companion--a tiny snail, whose micro-doings are the source of a surprising philosophy.” —Entertainment Weekly
“An exquisite meditation on the restorative connection between nature and humans. . . Bailey's slim book is as richly layered as the soil she lays down in the snail's terrarium: loamy, potent, and regenerative.” —The Huffington Post
“[A] small, quiet masterpiece, already destined to become a classic.” —Washington Times
“A spare, beautifully quirky grace note of a book.” —Family Circle
“Though illness may rob us of vitality, sometimes it can also help bring us understanding---albeit in improbable disguises . . . Perhaps there's something to be said for moving at a snail's pace.” —NPR.org
“This elegant little gem is a triumph.”—Maine Sunday Telegram
From the Publisher
Top reviews from Canada
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It is totally charming. But perhaps a bit too soothing. I read mostly at night before bed and I still haven't finished the book.
And now I want a pet snail....
Ms. Bailey does not complain about her illness, her time is better spent being curious about her snail and marvelling at how resilient it is. By watching so intently and being a studious pupil, Bailey tells us she wants to fight her illness but that wouldn't have been possible without her snail.
The latter part of the book reads more like a textbook on snails and other mollusks, but I would have liked to hear more of Bailey's life and her thoughts about her illness.
There is one line in the book that I will quote here because I find it is so very, very true. "Illness isolates; the isolated become invisible; the invisible become forgotten."
Anyone who reads this is going to love it and it's not like your typical memoir, it's a very different type of story which you'll thoroughly enjoy!
Top reviews from other countries
I think this is a bit of a marmite book. If reading about a snail's sex life, for example, sounds like something you'd only do on pain of death, this is probably one to avoid. It's slow, gentle, informative, contemplative; Tova Bailey clearly did masses of research on snails, and there are masses of fascinating facts to be learned. For someone like me, who is interested in stuff like this, it was engrossing, if slightly disgusting at times... I'm no big fan of snails, and sometimes when talk of slime got too much I had to put the book down! I certainly have more respect for and interest in them now than I did when I started, though.
It's also a fascinating insight into chronic, crippling illness. For those who have suffered in similar ways, as I have, it's a comfort to know "it's not just me", and I think this book will give those who've never been chronically ill a little insight into what it is like being confined to a house, a room, or even a bed for long stretches of time.
Overall, I wouldn't call this a must-read, and it's definitely one to "look inside" before purchasing, but personally I enjoyed it. It was a book I dipped into over the course of several months. The writing style is gorgeous, the snippets from poetry and scientific books are apt, and the information is really interesting.
A remarkable experience, for the author and the reader. The ease and fluidity of the writing is gorgeous.
Things I loved:
The atmosphere of the authors life before, during, and recovering from her illness.
The research into snails and her snails life.
I’ve learnt so much from this book. I was a snail lover before, but after reading this book I’m now even more enthralled by their incredible lives and ancestry.
Things I don’t love:
People who don’t read this book. No seriously, you need to read this book. Even if you think it isn’t your type of thing, please give it a try.
The book is part memoir and part the natural history of snails. There are interesting quotes about snails from literature and from natural history writers including Charles Darwin. I like the author's writing style which is low key and amusing and I also found the information about snails totally fascinating.
The book provides insights into how illness can affect humans and how the whole world shrinks to one room when you are confined to bed and dependent on others. Watching a snail move slowly about it small world somehow serves to put things in perspective. I know I shall never look at snails in quite the same way again after reading this book.
I found the subject matter fascinating - the idea that one could observe life through the eyes of a snail and in the process come to some startling conclusions about how we human beings live our own lives, helping us to appreciate quite literally, the smaller things in life. The book is part spirituality, part science, which helps show how the two are so intimately connected, and how nature which is by definition part of the scientific world, affects us in ways that do not fully appreciate or comprehend. The book for me at least, also illustrates the power of silence, and of illness and how much we can learn from both, for eveything has meaning, and we give, to coin a phrase from A Course in Miracles, all the meaning that it has to us.