Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating: Elizabeth Tova Bailey (United States)

While an illness keeps her bedridden, Elisabeth Bailey watches a wild snail that has taken up residence in a terrarium alongside her bed. She enters the rhythm of life of this mysterious creature, and comes to a greater understanding of her own confined place in the world. In a work that beautifully demonstrates the rewards of closely observing nature, she shares the inspiring and intimate story of her close encounter with Neohelix albolabris – a common woodland snail. Intrigued by the snail’s world – from its strange anatomy to its mysterious courtship activities – she becomes a fascinated and amused observer of the snail’s curious life. The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating is an affirmation of the healing power of nature, revealing how much of the world we miss in our busy daily lives, and how truly magical it is. A remarkable journey of survival and resilience, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating shows how a small part of the natural world can illuminate our own human existence and deepen our appreciation of what it means to be fully alive.

Although I have read a multutide of previous books that could count towards the United States as part of this challenge, I felt that it would good to review the next one I read on this blog, just to show the readers what wonderful books there are from this part of the world.

This is a delightful little book that I bought as the Kindle Book of the Day earlier in the same week that it was read. It was a relatively quick read (for me at least), at just 2 1/2 days and after having read a series of what some would consider quite heavy books made a refreshing change.

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. 

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