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The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating: 10/30/17

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey was recommended to me by the Caroline Bookbinder blog. It's a collection of essays and observations on the life and times of a wild Maine snail while bedridden.

Bailey's caretaker found the snail while walking in the nearby forest and brought it to her along with a collection of wild violets, moss, sticks, and dirt. The snail, while not interested in the flowers, finds its meals in the paper of her cards and envelopes. It is the discovery of these tiny square holes left behind that Bailey is inspired to learn more about her roommate.

It's a quiet, contemplative book about what it means to be a snail. It looks at what it means to be isolated either by illness or circumstance. There are chapters on how to care for snail and how to build a terrarium. It unfolds from there to look at how well adapted the snail is to its surroundings. As Bailey begins to recover enough to consider returning home, her snail lays eggs and she gets to learn about snail reproduction and infancy.

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating is the sort of book that can be read over the course of a single afternoon or it can be lingered over, with a few pages here or there. In tone it reminds me of A Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindberg or Birds Art Life by Kyo Maclear.

Five stars

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