Medical Humanities — Patients and Physicians

The Wild Snail book has glided into the medical world where it is being read by physicians, medical researchers, patients and their caregivers and families. For a desk copy to consider for medical humanities curricula or hospital reading groups, please contact

See sidebar for national patient support group links. To read Wild Snail reviews from national support groups, please scroll down this main column. For full pdfs of reviews, contact the author.

Chapter 6, “Time & Territory,” from The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating. Adaptation as published in Hektoen International: A Journal of Medical Humanities. Please request permission if using in the classroom.

“Bailey’s seamless melding of natural history, literature, and the illness experience creates a unique and intriguing medical humanities narrative that will engage both medical faculty and their students in discussions of compassion, palliative care, and the meaning of life . . . ” —Dr. Fran Kendall, Academic Medicine, the journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges

“Remarkable.” —Marilyn Chandler McEntyre, Ph.D., Literature, Arts, and Medicine Database, NYU School of Medicine

“Vivid descriptions of . . . Chronic Fatigue Syndrome . . . worth reading by any physician who has ever doubted the sanity of patients with this complaint. . . . Richly packed with human experience, scientific information, clinical observation and poetic insight this book will bring joy, understanding, and considerable scholarship to any reader.” —David A. Bennahum, MD, The Pharos, the journal of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society

“A must read [for] anyone who treats patients with long-term bed-ridden illnesses.” —Debra Martens, MA, Canadian Medical Association Journal

“Survival, resilience, and intellectual curiosity . . . deeply moving . . . extraordinary . . . ” —Susan L. Miller, poet, Literature and Medicine, The Journal of The Institute for the Medical Humanities

“I read [Bailey’s] account in one sitting, transfixed. [It’s a] masterpiece . . . a portrait of courage that will inspire all of us . . . Read it!” —Howard Spiro, MD, editor, The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine

“Splendid . . . ” —Jack Coulehan, MD, NYU Langone Medical Center, The Bellevue Literary Review

“A gift . . . ” —Charles R. Perakis, MD, The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating features quotes from poets, biologists and even Florence Nightingale – on snails, nature and life. This book could easily benefit [a] reading list for a biology or nursing student.” —ADVANCE for Nurses Book Club

Synapse Q&A with Elisabeth Tova Bailey. This is the newsletter of the Maine Humanities Council’s program Literature & Medicine: Humanities at the Heart of Health Care. It reaches several hundred hospital medical humanities reading groups in collaboration with the humanities councils of 25 U.S. states and Argentina.

Literature and Medicine Book Club, Edward Hines Jr. Veterans Affairs Hospital, Chicago
Chicago Tribune

“A remarkable book . . . beautifully written . . . tremendous insight into illness. Recommended to [patients], their families, doctors and all those involved in their care.” —International Association for CFS/​ME, Newsletter


“This book . . . is a triumph of the human spirit. I want to give a copy to the family of every patient.”
—Dr. David Bell, Past Chair, DHHS CFSAC Committee

THE COUNTESS OF MAR commended The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating for those with [CFS and] M.E., their carers and supporters. —Minutes of the All Party Parliamentary Group on ME, England

“Profound . . . powerful . . . splendid . . . ” —CFS Patient Advocate
“Remarkable . . . [A] masterpiece . . . ” —The CFS Report

“Inspiring . . . ” —Vermont CFIDS Association

An interview with the author and a review of The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating. —QUEST, Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Research & Health Magazine

“Though a book of natural history, [Bailey] profoundly captures life with a debilitating chronic illness.”
—American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association