The Library Can Take You Under the Sea
Have you seen the Netflix documentary called “My Octopus Teacher”? I was hesitant to watch but curiosity got the better of me, as it usually does. Despite the human in the film, Craig, being slightly melodramatic (no, Craig, you do not know what it feels like to have a limb ripped off by a shark), the star of the film is actually the octopus he “befriends.” She fabulously camouflages herself with shells, she changes color, texture and shape to match her environment. She is magnificent!
Intrigued, I looked to see what else I could learn about the octopus. “Octopus! : The Most Mysterious Creature in the Sea” by Katherine Harmon Courage is full of fascinating tidbits, including facts like about two-thirds of an octopus’ brain capacity is spread throughout its eight arms, meaning each one literally has a mind of its own! Octopuses have aced numerous intelligence tests, including opening childproof bottles, solving mazes, and even recognizing individual people. Incredible stuff!
An author I really like, Sy Montgomery, wrote the book, “The Soul of an Octopus: a Surprising Exploration Into the Wonder of Consciousness,” which was a finalist for the National Book Award for nonfiction. Montgomery recounts her appreciation of an octopus she studies that eventually grows into love. “By turns funny, entertaining, touching, and profound, ‘The Soul of an Octopus’ reveals what octopuses can teach us about consciousness and the meeting of two very different minds.” — Amazon
If you are more into the philosophical, try “Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness” by Peter Godfrey-Smith. If you’re like me and watched Jacques Cousteau shows in the ’70s, maybe his last book, “The Human, the Orchid, and the Octopus: Exploring and Conserving Our Natural World” will be of interest to you. We also have some of his other books containing wonderful photographs.
The ocean and the creatures that live beneath it are both intriguing and terrifying to me. To illustrate, I once went snorkeling and had a panic attack in about two feet of water. There is so much unknown in the deep of the oceans. My fear does not mean that I don’t want to learn more about the creatures that live beneath it. There are so many books and documentaries about the sea, so if you find yourself interested, stop by the library to explore!
By Caroline Badowsi, Head of Reference