Book Awards for The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

Selected Top Book Lists

Selected Media Reviews

(Additional reviews on the Patients/​Physicians and Snail Info pages)

“Brilliant” —Tim Flannery, The New York Review of Books Tigers, Humans, and Snails

“A lovely read . . . ” —Robert Krulwich, NPR’s Krulwich wonders . . .Why Dentists Should Fear Snails

“A gem.” —Susan Stamberg, NPR’s Morning Edition, Best Books of 2010

“The Thirty Books Every Guy Should Read” —Outside Magazine

“Books like this quietly capture our hearts and minds.” —Indie Booksellers Pick Favorites, NPR

“An exquisite meditation on the restorative connection between nature and humans . . . the writing is pristine and clear, with sentences of stunning lyrical beauty . . . Bailey’s slim book is as richly layered as the soil she lays down in the snail’s terrarium: loamy, potent, and regenerative.” —Huffington Post

“Lyrical, universal, deeply felt, and with an enormously generous soul . . . ” —Alexandra Fuller, The Daily Beast

“[Bailey] found comfort in an unlikely companion—a tiny snail, whose micro-doings are the source of a surprising philosophy.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Irresistible . . . What starts as an improbable story becomes an irresistible one. . . this elegant little gem is a triumph.” —Maine Sunday Telegram/​Portland Press Herald

“[Bailey] honors the gastropod with a poetic history of its short, astonishing life.” —MORE Magazine

“Insight, science, and poetry, and scientific poetry . . . a page-turner with all the draw of a detective story and all the heart of a romance . . . ” —Inquiring Mind

“With warmth and intelligence Bailey observes this little mollusk at her bedside for an entire year. Readers will find her mental journey remarkable and her courage irresistible.” —Maxine Kumin, essayist and poet

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

“Riveting”—DownEast Magazine

“A remarkable story of hope . . . illuminating . . . passionate, extraordinary insight . . . ” —Resurgence

“A spare, beautifully quirky grace note of a book.” —Family Circle Magazine

“A charming, delicate meditation on the meaning of life.” —Kirkus Review

“Through curious, careful observation, Bailey engages with the snail’s world until it grows as large as her own . . . though small in size, this book [includes] the voices of poets, biologists, essays, physicians, and naturalists among Bailey’s own graceful prose.” —Oxford American, The Southern Magazine of Good Writing

“The hero of this story, [a woodland snail,] enters . . . well . . . rather slowly. It doesn’t don a cape or sport a lightening bolt on its chest, but its effects are monumental. In perfect harmony Bailey flows back and forth between her own evolution and that of the Neohelix albolabris, or woodland snail. Sound boring? Not at all. The actions of this tiny mollusk become all-consuming . . . Everything about this slip of a book is unassuming, yet its petite size, prose, and characters rise like quiet giants from its pages.” —

“Bailey’s book is like a snail’s shell, with an unexpectedly touching friendship lying at its centre. Spiralling outwards are meditations on time, purpose and purposelessness, evolution and human survival.”
Oxonian Review