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Our Featured Title

The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness is a “fascinating ... touching ... informative ... entertaining” (Daily Beast) book that explores the emotional and physical world of the octopus—a surprisingly complex, intelligent, and spirited creature—and the remarkable connections it makes with humans.

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 Octopus reveals what octopuses can teach us about the meeting of two very different minds. –Adapted from the author’s website

See Sy Montgomery discuss The Soul of an Octopus in this video.

Soul of an Octopus Reviews

Science Friday, NPR: "The Soul of an Octopus is an astoundingly beautiful read in its entirety, at once scientifically illuminating and deeply poetic, and is indeed a worthy addition to the best science books of the year."

Scientific American: “Award-winning author Montgomery reveals [octopuses’] beauty. The book takes readers on a vivid tour of their complex inner world... explores their proclivities, their relationships and their intelligence and ultimately tries to deduce whether they possess consciousness... It is hard to come away from this book without a new appreciation for these wonderful creatures.”

American Library Association, 2016 Notable Book, Library Journal: “Naturalist Montgomery (The Good Good Pig) admirably demonstrates the complexity, intellect, and personalities of the octopuses she has come to know at the Boston Aquarium... Her science is accessible but not overly simple, and the details she offers about these creatures bring them into sharp focus: they are sophisticated camouflage artists, can solve puzzles, and show distinct preferences for people, places, and tastes... VERDICT Anyone captivated by the natural world, from interested middle school readers and up, will be engrossed by this account of a strange—and unexpectedly beautiful—animal. “

Kirkus Reviews: “... A fascinating glimpse into an alien consciousness.”

Author Visit and Book Signing

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Wednesday, April 5, 7-8:30 pm 
(Doors open at 6:15 pm)
Glen Allen High School
10700 Staples Mill Road, Glen Allen

In partnership with Henrico County Public Schools and the Friends of Henrico County Public Library, we are proud to host New York Times Bestselling author Sy Montgomery for an informal discussion of her book and writing career. This event is free and open to the public, and no tickets or admission fee are required. Seating is limited, and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Her book, The Soul of an Octopus will be available for sale, as well as her other titles. She will autograph books following the program.


About All Henrico Reads

All Henrico Reads is a community reading program that aims to encourage a sense of community and promote literacy. This is our ninth year partnering with Henrico County Public Schools and the Friends of the Henrico County Public Library to host the featured author at a public event. 

Book Discussions

Our libraries have lots of opportunities to discuss our All Henrico Reads featured title, The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness. We hope you will join us!

Feb. 7, 7:00 pm Glen Allen
Feb. 13, 1:00 pm  Gayton
Feb. 14, 3:00 pm Varina
March 8, 1:00 pm Twin Hickory
March 13, 7:30 pm Gayton
March 20, 7:00 pm Fairfield
March 20, 7:00 pm North Park
March 21, 1:00 pm Libbie Mill
March 21, 7:00 pm Libbie Mill
March 21, 7:00 pm Tuckahoe
March 27, 7:00 pm Twin Hickory

Enter to win a signed copy

Fill out an entry slip at your library beginning February 1 for a chance to win a copy of The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery. Thank you to our friends at Shared Knowledge Literacy Foundation for donating the prize copies of the book.


Past years' All Henrico Reads Events: 2015-Tayari Jones, 2016-Chitra Divakaruni
2014-Lee Smith, 2013-Adriana Trigiani, 2012-Garth Stein, 2011-David Baldacci, 2009-M.T. Anderson, 2008/2009- Julia Alvarez