Reading List


Elisabeth Tova Bailey, in her treasure of a slim volume, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, recounts her fascination with a snail when she was forced by a mysterious illness into extreme isolation and stillness. She heads her Prologue with a quote from Luis P. Villarreal: “Viruses are embedded into the very fabric of all life,” entitles one chapter “Colonies of Hermits,” and begins her Epilogue with words from Rainer Maria Rilke: “Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” The book was published in 2010, but it seems to have been written for us, right here, right now. Perfectly square-shaped holes, haiku, 19th-Century naturalists, and 18th-Century physicians, all connected to illuminate and inspire, in chapters nibbled or consumed.