Welcome back to my Nonfiction Book Party
Today’s featured book has such a unique title! The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating is a natural history/memoir, which shares the author’s year-long observations of a wild Maine land snail. After seeing this book every November on favorite nonfiction lists, I was happy to finally get a chance to read it this year. I am not a fan of snails, but I developed an appreciation for these small “insignificant” creatures. Who would think a snail could provide so much companionship, hope, and a refreshing perspective during a long illness?
“We are all hostages of time. We each have the same number of minutes and hours to live within a day, yet to me it didn’t feel equally doled out. My illness brought me such an abundance of time that time was nearly all I had. My friends had so little time that I often wished I could give them what time I could not use. It was perplexing how in losing health I had gained something so coveted but to so little purpose.”
― Elisabeth Tova Bailey, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating
Title: The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating
Author: Elisabeth Tova Bailey
Themes: Essays, Personal Memoirs, Life Sciences – Zoology
In a work that beautifully demonstrates the rewards of closely observing nature, Elisabeth Tova Bailey shares an inspiring and intimate story of her 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 understanding of her own place in the world.
Intrigued by the snail’s molluscan anatomy, cryptic defenses, clear decision making, hydraulic locomotion, and courtship activities, Bailey becomes an astute and amused observer, offering a candid and engaging look into the curious life of this underappreciated small animal.
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 can illuminate our own human existence while providing an appreciation of what it means to be fully alive.
- Add to Goodreads
- Q & A with Elisabeth Tova Bailey
- NPR Science podcast: Lessons in Being Alone, From a Woodland Snail (13 min) Elisabeth Tova Bailey is interviewed by Emily Kwong for the NPR science podcast “Short Wave.” How does The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating relate to the Covid-19 pandemic?
- Based on Bailey’s award-winning 2010 natural history memoir of the same name, the short film features Ariela Kuh as the ill woman and narration by Daryl Hannah. But the real star is the white-lipped forest snail (Neohelix albolabris). – see the film trailer here.
What is the Nonfiction Book Party? All month long I’ll be sharing newly released nonfiction titles and some of my 5-star favorites too! Join me on Instagram for an epic book party with an amazing prize pack. Tag all your posts #NonfictionBookParty
Bloggers: Make sure to blog along with DoingDeweyDecimal, JulzReads, What’s NonFiction, and Shelf Aware and follow #NonFicNov. Over on BookTube, get the details on #NonfictionNovember20 and join the Goodreads Group here.
Want to see which books I’ve posted about in previous years? (And which books are STILL on my list?!)
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