Join us on Friday, Oct. 25 at 6 p.m. at the home of John Hartman and Donna Johnson for a meeting of the WUUC Nonfiction Book Club. We will discuss “Soul of an Octopus:  A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness” by Sy Montgomery. 

Naturalist Sy Montgomery writes exceptionally affecting and enlightening books inspired by both rigorous scientific curiosity and enraptured wonder and empathy for all living beings. Committed to illuminating the true, complex nature of diverse forms of animal consciousness, Montgomery headed to Boston’s New England Aquarium to learn about one of Earth’s most stupendously capable creatures, the octopus. Introduced to Athena, Montgomery plunges her arms into the icy water to make contact, and is thrilled when her new cephalopod friend firmly grasps her, tasting her skin with some of her 1,600 sensitive and powerful suckers. Montgomery also gets to know Octavia, Kali, and Karma, stroking their soft heads and observing their many moods and activities, appreciating each distinctively intelligent, willful, inquisitive, mischievous, and affectionate personality. Montgomery chronicles the octopus’ phenomenal strength, dexterity, speed, weaponry, and lightning-quick shape-shifting and camouflage abilities. She also tells funny and moving stories about her friendships with the dedicated aquarists and volunteers (most notably Anna, a valiant young woman with Asperger’s syndrome) who care for the cephalopods with infinite respect and tenderness. Montgomery’s uniquely intimate portrait of the elusive octopus profoundly recalibrates our perception of consciousness, communication, and community.

                Booklist Online, Edited for Length

Four times a year, the WUUC Book Discussion Group gathers to read and talk about a nonfiction book. You only attend the meetings about books that interest you, so we end up with a different group of participants every time. We meet to connect, share a meal, and talk about a book in depth. Anyone is welcome to suggest a book and/or lead a discussion. Contact Alaine ( to RSVP, suggest a book, or offer to host a future discussion.