Did you know snails shoot Cupid’s arrows at their mates? These love darts, made of calcium carbonate, are thought to help the longevity of the sperm.
This is just one of the interesting snail facts you will find in Elisabeth Tova Bailey’s enchanting book The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating.
Struck down by a mystery illness, Bailey’s convalescence is made tolerable by her study of a wild snail in a flower pot by her bedside. As the days and months pass, she begins to see how their lives are linked.
By day, the strangeness of my situation was sharpest: I was bed-bound at a time my friends and peers were moving forward in their careers and raising families. Yet the snail’s daytime sleeping habits gave me fresh perspective; I was not the only one resting away the days.
Already the recipient of the 2010 National Outdoor Book Award in the US, Elisabeth Tova Bailey has just won the 2011 John Burroughs Medal Award for The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating. This medal, named after acclaimed American naturalist and essayist John Burroughs, is awarded to the author of a distinguished book of natural history. Previous winners include Rachel Carson, John McPhee, Bernd Heindrich and Peter Mathiessen. The awards ceremony will be held at the American Museum of Natural History in April.