This is my favorite book so far this year. It is the story of a snail in a terrarium beside the author's bed. Doesn't sound too interesting, right? It's a gem.
The author has a seriously debilitating condition and spends most of her time in bed, unable to be up for more than a few minutes at a time. A friend brings a snail from the woods and she observes its daily habits, eventually seeking out its history and finding great comfort in its presence. The book explores the biology of gastropods while in the background sharing the mental journey of a serious chronic illness.
I found out about the book from the blog of Oliver Sacks, a neurologist and one of my favorite authors. It has an endorsement from Edward O. Wilson, another author and scientist that I highly respect.
Some quotes I marked:
p.13 "One has to respect the preferences of another creature, no matter its size...."
p. 38 "We are all hostages of time. We each have the same number of minutes and hours to live within a day, yet to me it didn't feel equally doled out. My illness brought me such an abundance of time that time was nearly all I had. It was perplexing how in losing health I had gained something so coveted but to so little purpose".
p. 40 "Those of us with illnesses are the holders of the silent fears of those with good health."
p. 131 "There is a certain depth of illness that is piercing in its isolation; the only rule of existence is uncertainty, and the only movement is the passage of time."
This is a book I will read again.
Published: 2010 Read: July 2013 Genre: Non-fiction, memoir