Off the Charts – the soul of an octopus (Sy Montgomery)

Ahoy there me mateys!  For those of ye who are new to me log, a word: though this log’s focus is on sci-fi, fantasy, and young adult, this Captain does have broader reading tastes.  Occasionally I will share some novels that I enjoyed that are off the charts (a non sci-fi, fantasy, or young adult novel), as it were.  So today I bring ye a memoir with cool octopus facts!

Side note: the book cover comes from Goodreads and ye can click on it to add the books to yer Goodreads’ Ports for Plunder List.

the soul of an octopus: a surprising exploration into the wonder of consciousness (Sy Montgomery)

Okay I now kinda have a thing for books that combine memoirs with science and fun animal facts.  So far, I have read about ravens, hawks, owls, and snails (seriously snails are AMAZING).  So when I saw this one about denizens of the deep, I just had to read it.  I have always loved octopuses and was excited to learn more about them.  I knew that they be masters of escape and are highly intelligent.  I did not know facts like these:

A lion is a mammal like us; an octopus is put together completely differently, with three hearts, a brain that wraps around its throat, and a covering of slime instead of hair. Even their blood is a different color from ours; it’s blue, because copper, not iron, carries its oxygen.
― Sy Montgomery, The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness

Learning about the author’s life and those of the octopuses she befriends was absolutely fascinating.  I loved the octopuses – “gentle Athena, assertive Octavia, curious Kali, and joyful Karma.”  I loved the group of people that these creatures bring together.  I loved learning more about the science of these beautiful creatures.  I seriously was in awe of the personalities of the octopuses and was heartily cheering them on.  There is some sadness to the tales as the larger octopus lives on average less than five years.  But the octopus is a natural wonder that I now appreciate more fully.  Should humans become extinct then mehaps octopuses can take over the flooded world!  I highly recommend this book and would certainly read more of the author’s work.

In case ye need further proof of the awesomeness of an octopus:

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

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. With her “joyful passion for these intelligent and fascinating creatures” (Library Journal Editors’ Spring Pick), 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 an Octopusreveals what octopuses can teach us about the meeting of two very different minds.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Sy Montgomery – Author

To buy the book go to:

the soul of an octopus – Book

12 thoughts on “Off the Charts – the soul of an octopus (Sy Montgomery)

  1. Great to hear your thoughts on it! I read this a few years ago and I liked it, but I’d read the article that it grew out of so I guess my expectations were really high/different somehow once I read the book. But I learned SO much from it, some of it was truly amazing. And things I kind of can’t believe aren’t better known. And I loved Athena ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad that ye enjoyed me post matey! I was also amazed at how many facts aren’t well-known. I mean I didn’t know there were any large animals with copper-based blood for example. I thought the author was an excellent writer and she sounds like she would be fun to meet. I don’t usually care to meet authors but if I bumped into her, I think I could certainly find things to talk about!
      x The Captain

      Liked by 1 person

    1. This was wonderful! I think any book that makes me teary with joy and sadness deserves respect. I just find the natural world to be so amazing. I mean I like space exploration, don’t get me wrong. But there is so much mystery in our oceans too right here at home.
      x The Captain


  2. AAAAAH THANK YOU. I’ve been trying to remember the name/author of this book since a friend told me about it over breakfast nearly a year ago, but I’ve kept tripping up over Peter Godfrey-Smith instead. You’ve put me out of my misery, and helped out my wishlist. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well doesn’t yer comment put wind in me sails! Aye, yer friend be right. Read it! I haven’t read the Peter Godfrey-Smith octopus book. I have been told that there is too much philosophy in that one which is why I started here instead. Glad yer cheery nature has been restored and look forward to reading yer review of this soon because seriously octopuses are so freaking cool! Arrr!
      x The Captain

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I always tend to think of Octopuses has scary – too much sci fi as a youngster maybe!
    Impressive that you’re reading all these non-fiction books, I always have good intentions but never quite make it.
    And, I love the cover of this book – isn’t it really lovely.
    Lynn 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The cover is so very lovely and so is the material under the covers. And aye, people do tend to think octopuses are scary because of mass media. They tend to get the squid and octopus mixed up. I mean the kraken stories are out there! But nope really they are fairly gentle and awesome. Thanks for the comment!
      x The Captain


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