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Nature and Environment Book Club: Soul of the Octopus

This month's book discussion will be about Soul of the Octopus by Sy Montgomery. 

Soul of the Octopus (book cover)

In pursuit of the wild, solitary, predatory octopus, popular naturalist Sy Montgomery has practiced true immersion journalism. From New England aquarium tanks to the reefs of French Polynesia and the Gulf of Mexico, she has befriended octopuses with strikingly different personalities—gentle Athena, assertive Octavia, curious Kali, and joyful Karma. Each creature shows her cleverness in myriad ways: escaping enclosures like an orangutan; jetting water to bounce balls; and endlessly tricking companions with multiple “sleights of hand” to get food.

Scientists have only recently accepted the intelligence of dogs, birds, and chimpanzees but now are watching octopuses solve problems and are trying to decipher the meaning of the animal’s color-changing techniques. Montgomery chronicles the growing appreciation of this mollusk as she tells a unique love story. By turns funny, entertaining, touching, and profound, The Soul of the Octopus reveals what octopuses can teach us about the meeting of two very different minds.


The Nature and Environment Book Club is devoted to the best of nature writing and environmental reporting with discussions on the second Wednesday of each month. Readers and writers interested in books ranging from such classics as Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek to topical reportage like Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction will want to join the conversation.

Copies of the discussion book are available in the library to check out at the library. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2018
7:00pm - 8:00pm
Watson Room
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