A welcome Elliott Bay return is made this evening by heralded nature writer Sy Montgomery, whose 2015 book, The Soul of an Octopus, was a National Book Award finalist. She is here this evening with a beautiful new book, How To Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). Illustrations by Rebecca Green are a part of this book’s captivating appeal, along with what Sy Montgomery does in writing of thirteen animal friends.
“Naturalist Sy Montgomery rekindles her dormant childhood desire to talk with animals in a narrative that shimmers with grace and wonder. Ten tales poignantly personify 13 critters both commonplace and exotic, from Tess the border collie and Chris the extroverted pig to spiders and octopuses …Other animals she writes about live farther from home, and Montgomery tells of quitting a newspaper job to shadow emus in the Australian Outback and befriending a tarantula in the jungles of South America. In the cloud forest of Papua, New Guinea, she rediscovers ‘the wildness that keeps us sane and whole, the wild, delicious hunger for life’ … Montgomery’s lyrical storytelling and resonant lessons on how animals can enhance our humanity result in a tender, intelligent literary memoir.” —Publisher’s Weekly.