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The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

Each month our staff picks additional recommendations based on our Dandy Roll Book Club pick. We're recommending The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating for those of our members who would like to read a non-fiction story about someone forced out of productivity  based on our January pick, How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell.

Odell told us all the ways our lives may change when we choose to think more deeply about the capitalistic systems we are a part of, however, what happens when we're forced out of those systems by elements beyond our control? Elisabeth Tova Bailey, bedridden with a mysterious illness watches the life of a common woodland snail unfold in a terrarium on her bedside table. Through this small being she finds solace in stillness and her place in the world.

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

  • Paperback
  • 208 pages
  • Algonquin Books, 2016