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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Have You Read? #19

I live less than a mile from Snail Lake, located on Snail Lake Boulevard. Neither appear to be snail-shaped. In the past the boys have found rather odorous snails on Snail Lake beach, and I insisted the snails stay in their lakeside home instead of ours. Still, I never pondered snails much, except to consider their slow progress and to know I did not want to eat them.

When Joyce recommended Elisabeth Tova Bailey's The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, I reserved it not because I felt particularly interested, but because we generally like to read similar things. It has captivated me for the past two days, so much so that I read-walked with it around Snail Lake this morning. I mentally marked pages and passages I wanted to recall and record when I got home (pages 57, 61, 101) and even stopped to read aloud the passage on page 57 (about the author's imaginings of what humans would be like if our arms possessed the same scent-detection skills as a snail's tentacles do) to my friend Sheri and her walking partner.

The author contracted a rare disease, eventually diagnosed as autoimmune dysautonomia and later mitochondrial disease, that left her unable to stand, sit, or care for herself in any meaningful way. While she convalesces, a friend brings her a snail and a wild violet, both transplanted to a pot that rests on a chest by her bed. Her observations of the snail's habits and preferences led her to read volumes about snails. The two are merged in this wonderfully written narrative that spans a year of her twenty-year illness. Facts abound. I found myself reading and re-reading so my brain could absorb the incredible things she discovered and uncovered about snails.

I must keep it a few days before returning it to the library.

7 comments:

  1. Sounds intriguing - the kind of book I might enjoy. Will look for it. Thks.

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  2. how beautiful. thank you for sharing this story with us. btw, nice doorbell.

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  3. I think you would both welcome this book when you need to process things around you. Isn't it amazing, Brattcat, how that photograph perfectly fit the post?

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  4. I LOVE that photo!!!!!! And am so glad you liked this book.

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  5. Where is the doorbell photo from?

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  6. Please include this book in your list of recommended books at the bottom of your blog - that will help remind me to check it out! It sounds both fascinating and inspiring. Even your brief synopsis made me grateful for all the things that I'm able to do.

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  7. I will add the book to my list, David. I always forget to do that.

    The doorbell belongs to Brattcat, Joyce!

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