Often I read non-fiction because I am interested in a subject matter and want to delve more deeply into the details. Or, I have come across something that I know nothing about but my curiosity has been piqued. This time, I chose a non-fiction book on a subject that I really didn’t care about just to understand it more.
Let me back up. I consider myself an animal lover. However, this love has never extended to fish. I cannot tell them apart and I cannot keep track of the different species. Even when I am in the middle of a very expensive trip to an aquarium (never my idea) all I can think is, “Its a fish, another fish, yellow fish, big fish.”
However, I stumbled across a video of an octopus doing all kinds of amazing things. Even with my limited oceanic knowledge, I know an octopus when I see one (in a picture). So, my interest in this nebulous “something I didn’t really care about” steered me toward the octopus.
The Soul of an Octopus by Syd Montgomery was everything I thought it might be and more. An enjoyable adventure into the world of the octopus that exposed me to so many mollusk-related things that I didn’t even know existed! My favorite is absolutely that the plural of octopus is not octopi (because you cannot put a Latin ending on a word derived from Greek. I know that sounds stupid and basic – even the author puts this fact on page 1 – but to be able to properly refer to an animal is the beginning of knowing one.
This book follows the author on her journey of discovering the Octopus. She meets and becomes friends with all these sweet and playful creatures by volunteering at her local aquarium and later, learning to scuba dive. I have always said volunteering is the best way to learn something. But, the scuba diving part was difficult for me to read since I am terrified of being underwater in the ocean. Still, her perspective was one of such joy that it was understandable finally to me how people could actually want to scuba. I still don’t want to. And, you can’t make me.
In the end, this book was an enlightening read about the fascinating creature that is the Octopus. More importantly, by reading a book written passionately about something that I was really not interested allowed me to go on a new adventure. This was somewhere I had never gone (and don’t plan to!) but I got to experience her love and gain her insight and information through the book. It will never be the same as being in the embrace of an Octopus but since that interests me as much as doing 100 mile run through the desert (not at all, to be clear) this is as close as I will ever come.
Tell me, please!
What adventure do you not understand? Sky diving? Solo Traveling?
Would you read a book about it?
This book sounds very interesting. You asked what adventure do I not understand and I have to agree with you on being underwater. It has never appealed to me. I have enough trouble breathing on land.
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