Secret World of Slugs and Snails: Life in the Very Slow Lane

Secret World of Slugs and Snails: Life in the Very Slow Lane

by David George Gordon, Karen Luke Fildes
     
 

An illustrated guide to slugs and snails, this book serves as a field guide to the friendly slimy creatures. Covering everything from snail sex to the importance of slugs in the ecosystem, author David George Gordon takes readers on a journey through the slow and magical world of this gentle species. Including everything from short essays such as "Grow Your Own

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Overview

An illustrated guide to slugs and snails, this book serves as a field guide to the friendly slimy creatures. Covering everything from snail sex to the importance of slugs in the ecosystem, author David George Gordon takes readers on a journey through the slow and magical world of this gentle species. Including everything from short essays such as "Grow Your Own Escargot" to informational chapters like "Look Ma, No Operculum!," this book is packed with information, without the dull tone of a textbook. In the "Seven Secrets" section, Gordon unveils unknown facts, such as how many snails and slugs are hermaphroditic, born with both male and female reproductive systems. If necessary, they can reproduce on their own — and do so all the time! Slugs and snails are also of particular regional fascination — the Olympic Peninsula is a hotbed for gastropods, housing 70 different kinds, including a whopping 56 kinds of slug and snail species.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Unlikely as gastropods may seem as a topic for a book-length study, naturalist Gordon ably enlivens them, combining facts with quotations, a colloquial style, and curious historical references, from Pliny the Elder and Roman snail farmers to 18th-century pharmacists. Fildes’s line drawings recall woodcuts and add a touch of whimsy, aiding the impression that soft-bodied creatures should be regarded as more than agricultural nuisances or "cogs in nature’s Grande Machine." In four chapters—divided with clever, occasionally tongue-in-cheek subheadings as well as informational boxes—Gordon offers a solid overview of these gastropods, beginning with their place in the animal kingdom; continuing with discussions that reveal medicinal and culinary uses; listing some of the common varieties; exploring their physiology (including the properties of their slime); and finally, providing environmental suggestions for balancing their populations in the average yard. A highly approachable read for the neophyte science aficionado and the gardening enthusiast and an entertaining take on the timeless adage, "the meek shall inherit the earth." (Dec.)
From the Publisher
"Unlikely as gastropods may seem as a topic for a book-length study, naturalist Gordon ably enlivens them, combining facts with quotations, a colloquial style, and curious historical references, from Pliny the Elder and Roman snail farmers to 18th-century pharmacists. Fildes’s line drawings recall woodcuts and add a touch of whimsy, aiding the impression that soft-bodied creatures should be regarded as more than agricultural nuisances or 'cogs in nature’s Grande Machine.' In four chapters—divided with clever, occasionally tongue-in-cheek subheadings as well as informational boxes—Gordon offers a solid overview of these gastropods, beginning with their place in the animal kingdom; continuing with discussions that reveal medicinal and culinary uses; listing some of the common varieties; exploring their physiology (including the properties of their slime); and finally, providing environmental suggestions for balancing their populations in the average yard. A highly approachable read for the neophyte science aficionado and the gardening enthusiast and an entertaining take on the timeless adage, 'the meek shall inherit the earth.'"
Publishers Weekly

"From the get-go, 'The Secret World of Slugs and Snails' is a charmer, and one you won't have to slog through. You'll devour chapters that lay out the wonders of the prehistoric mollusks, from stories of how they got to these shores in the first place (blame a French explorer) to how they've managed to survive a rather trying string of ice ages, earthquakes, volcanoes and lesser climatologic troubles... David George Gordon, a naturalist and author of 19 books, including the best-selling 'Eat-a-Bug Cookbook,' knows how to spin a yarn. Best of all, his fascination with the underappreciated slowpokes is downright contagious. Don't be surprised if you hoist a Slug Lookout Booth in your own backyard."
Chicago Tribune

"Combining clever wit with solid science, David George Gordon has produced a most engaging, enlightening, and entertaining treatise on the evolution, anatomy and physiology, and ecological place of snails and slugs."
Pacific Horticulture

"A lovely little illustrated paperback treatise on slugs and snails, the creatures that gardeners in the Pacific Northwest love to hate."
The Seattle Times

"Seattle science writer David G. Gordon has made a career of celebrating squishy and crunchy critters most folks only notice when they eat, squash, or try to exterminate them—from oysters and geoducks to spiders, cockroaches, and edible insects. This is a man who’s been invited to Singapore to give a grub-grilling demonstration. Gordon’s latest follows the slimy trail blazed by his popular Field Guide to the Slug. It’s partly a reprise, revisiting the shell-less stars of that trim volume. But Gordon extends his malacological horizons (you try saying that) to shelled snails, both natives and the more familiar European species that were imported for eating and stayed to eat our gardens."
Seattle Metropolitan

If you don't know the first thing about slugs or snails—this should be your next read. Gordon makes it enjoyable to 'meet the mollusks.' The illustrations by Karen Luke Fildes are charming and the chapters peppered with amusing quotes from literary verse and song. There's even a recipe for growing your own escargot, which shouldn't be suprising given Gordon's fame for cooking with insects. The inevitable question of pest control is addressed, but the main focus is to shed light on how snails and slugs fit into ecosystems as recyclers of organic matter. The book is both fun and smart."
The Perennial Bookworm

"Most of us have been very disrespectful toward snails and slugs, thinking disgusted thoughts and turning into executioners of the low-riding mollusks.David Gordon wants to change your perception."
Everett Herald

"The Secret World of Slugs and Snails truly is encyclopedic. It is a great resource for those who do have an interest in the subjects and recognize them as the fascinating animals they are."
New York Journal of Books

"...a little gem of a book which may make you feel differently about the slimeballs once summer rolls around."
Toronto Star 
 

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781570616112
Publisher:
Sasquatch Books
Publication date:
11/02/2010
Pages:
176
Product dimensions:
8.72(w) x 11.70(h) x 0.56(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Unlikely as gastropods may seem as a topic for a book-length study, naturalist Gordon ably enlivens them, combining facts with quotations, a colloquial style, and curious historical references, from Pliny the Elder and Roman snail farmers to 18th-century pharmacists. Fildes’s line drawings recall woodcuts and add a touch of whimsy, aiding the impression that soft-bodied creatures should be regarded as more than agricultural nuisances or 'cogs in nature’s Grande Machine.' In four chapters—divided with clever, occasionally tongue-in-cheek subheadings as well as informational boxes—Gordon offers a solid overview of these gastropods, beginning with their place in the animal kingdom; continuing with discussions that reveal medicinal and culinary uses; listing some of the common varieties; exploring their physiology (including the properties of their slime); and finally, providing environmental suggestions for balancing their populations in the average yard. A highly approachable read for the neophyte science aficionado and the gardening enthusiast and an entertaining take on the timeless adage, 'the meek shall inherit the earth.'"
Publishers Weekly

"From the get-go, 'The Secret World of Slugs and Snails' is a charmer, and one you won't have to slog through. You'll devour chapters that lay out the wonders of the prehistoric mollusks, from stories of how they got to these shores in the first place (blame a French explorer) to how they've managed to survive a rather trying string of ice ages, earthquakes, volcanoes and lesser climatologic troubles... David George Gordon, a naturalist and author of 19 books, including the best-selling 'Eat-a-Bug Cookbook,' knows how to spin a yarn. Best of all, his fascination with the underappreciated slowpokes is downright contagious. Don't be surprised if you hoist a Slug Lookout Booth in your own backyard."
Chicago Tribune

"Combining clever wit with solid science, David George Gordon has produced a most engaging, enlightening, and entertaining treatise on the evolution, anatomy and physiology, and ecological place of snails and slugs."
Pacific Horticulture

"A lovely little illustrated paperback treatise on slugs and snails, the creatures that gardeners in the Pacific Northwest love to hate."
The Seattle Times

"Seattle science writer David G. Gordon has made a career of celebrating squishy and crunchy critters most folks only notice when they eat, squash, or try to exterminate them—from oysters and geoducks to spiders, cockroaches, and edible insects. This is a man who’s been invited to Singapore to give a grub-grilling demonstration. Gordon’s latest follows the slimy trail blazed by his popular Field Guide to the Slug. It’s partly a reprise, revisiting the shell-less stars of that trim volume. But Gordon extends his malacological horizons (you try saying that) to shelled snails, both natives and the more familiar European species that were imported for eating and stayed to eat our gardens."
Seattle Metropolitan

If you don't know the first thing about slugs or snails—this should be your next read. Gordon makes it enjoyable to 'meet the mollusks.' The illustrations by Karen Luke Fildes are charming and the chapters peppered with amusing quotes from literary verse and song. There's even a recipe for growing your own escargot, which shouldn't be suprising given Gordon's fame for cooking with insects. The inevitable question of pest control is addressed, but the main focus is to shed light on how snails and slugs fit into ecosystems as recyclers of organic matter. The book is both fun and smart."
The Perennial Bookworm

"Most of us have been very disrespectful toward snails and slugs, thinking disgusted thoughts and turning into executioners of the low-riding mollusks.David Gordon wants to change your perception."
Everett Herald

"The Secret World of Slugs and Snails truly is encyclopedic. It is a great resource for those who do have an interest in the subjects and recognize them as the fascinating animals they are."
New York Journal of Books

"...a little gem of a book which may make you feel differently about the slimeballs once summer rolls around."
Toronto Star 
 

Read More

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