May 8, 2018

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

This book is quite short but so thoughtful and I liked it very much. It's a detailed memoir of sorts, from a period of time when the author was bedridden with a serious illness in a convalescent home. A friend brought in a pot of violets and a small snail from the woods for her bedside table. She gradually became interested in watching the snail's daily habits- and had a larger terrarium set up with soil and woodland plants so the snail would have a more natural habitat. Eventually curious to learn more about the little mollusk, she requested books and articles from the library about them- and shares a lot of what she later learned. I kind of giggled when the snail started laying eggs- in spite of being a single member of its species- and ended up producing one hundred and eighteen offspring in that ten-gallon terrarium. (Much the same thing can happen with aquatic snails in an aquarium, as I well know). She gave some away, had the majority released in the woods, and kept one when moved back home as her health improved. The personal observations of her little snail are so charming, and the details she shares from natural history tomes quite intriguing. Her thoughts on the nature of illness and how it changed her life overall, makes the reader slow down and ponder too. A wonderful little book that I hope to add to my own collection someday.

Borrowed from the public library.

Rating: 4/5          187  pages, 2010

more opinions:
Vulpes Libris
Citizen Reader
Bermudaonion's Weblog
The Black Sheep Dances


  1. I read this one years ago and loved it too.

  2. I forgot to mention there was a quoted passage in here from Gerald Durrell, which delighted me. And it's from a Durrell I haven't read yet!

  3. I've heard so many good things about this book and then completely forgot about it. Thanks for the reminder! It's going on my library list right now.


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