Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery

Sy Montgomery is a popular naturalist who in this book explores the emotional and physical world of the octopus.  The octopus is an astonishingly complex, spirited creature, with venom like a snake, a beak like a parrot, and ink like an old fashioned pen.  It can weigh as much as a man and stretch as long as a car, yet it can pour its baggy, boneless body through an opening the size of an orange.  It can change color and shape.  It can taste with its skin.  Most fascinating of all, they are really quite smart.  They represent the great mystery of the Other.  They seem completely alien, yet their world--the ocean--comprises far more of the Earth (70 percent of its surface area; more than 90 percent of its habitable space) than does land.  Montgomery practices true immersion journalism in pursuit of these wild, solitary animals and chronicles her growing appreciation of this animal by telling us this love story.  The book is funny, entertaining, and touching.  A captivating book on a quite different intelligence.

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