Off the Shelf: ‘Octo’ October at the library

Sy Montgomery’s “The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness” explores the emotional and physical world of the octopus — a surprisingly complex, intelligent, and spirited creature — and the remarkable connections it makes with humans.

This engaging nonfiction book is the selected title for Clallam County Reads, a countywide initiative encouraging community members to share in a common reading experience this October.

Stop by the library to pick up a copy of the book or audiobook, or download it for free through Washington Anytime Library or the Libby app.

In the Sequim area, book discussions will be held at the Sequim Library, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Library and Dungeness River Audubon Center on selected dates in October.

Everyone is welcome to attend and details are available on the NOLS website at

In addition to book discussions, the Sequim Library is hosting fun oceanic events.

On Friday, Oct. 4, the library hosts an artist reception at 6 p.m. for the new Ocean Arts exhibit featuring works from several local artists. Seattle-based band Pearl Django will fill the library with their hot club swing music starting at 6:30 p.m.

Montgomery, award-winning author of “The Soul of an Octopus,” speaks at the Sequim Library on Thursday, Nov. 7, at 6:30 p.m., sharing her experiences as a writer of more than 20 books. Following the discussion, she will take questions from the audience and sign copies of her books.

More good reads

After reading “The Soul of an Octopus,” consider one of these related titles, available for checkout at the library:

• “Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness” by Peter Godfrey-Smith (2016, non-fiction)

Although mammals and birds are widely regarded as the smartest creatures on earth, it has lately become clear that a very distant branch of the tree of life has also sprouted higher intelligence: the cephalopods, consisting of the squid, the cuttlefish, and above all the octopus.

• “How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals” by Sy Montgomery (2018, memoir)

Understanding someone who belongs to another species can be transformative. This memoir reflects on the personalities and quirks of thirteen animals and the truths revealed by their grace.

• “Inky’s Amazing Escape: How a Very Smart Octopus Found His Way Home” by Sy Montgomery (2018, picture book)

Inky had been at the New Zealand aquarium since 2014 after being taken in by a fisherman who found him at sea. The octopus had been getting used to his new environment, but the staff quickly figured out that he had to be kept amused or he would get bored. Then one night in 2016, Inky decided he’d had enough. He slithered 8 feet across the floor and down a drainpipe more than 160 feet long to his home in the sea.

For more information about Clallam County Reads, visit, email to, call 360-683-1161, or visit the friendly staff at the Sequim Library, 630 N. Sequim Ave.

Emily Sly is Sequim Branch Library Manager.

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