Ten books that will transform how you see nature

Never Cry Wolf by Farley MowatTen books that will transform how you see nature. For Earth Day, The Washington Post asked ten authors to recommend books “that influenced their relationships with the natural world.” Sy talked about Farley Mowat’s Never Cry Wolf:

“The book moved me deeply. True, though originally published as a factual account, parts of it were later decried as fiction. (“Never let the facts get in the way of the truth,” Mowat would later tell me, when he generously welcomed me to his home while I researched my first book.) But while I’ve remained a stickler for facts in my own writing, this book showed me the importance of remaining true to matters of the heart as well — and that a writer must use not only the fruits of the intellect but also honor one’s emotion and intuition to tell a story that moves readers to action.”

See the rest of the suggested books here.

Everything’s coming up Octos on this week’s Boston Globe bestseller list. See Number 6:
Boston Globe bestseller list

And on the Other Coast: Secrets of the Octopus is Number 9 on the Seattle Times bestseller list.

Now in Japanese: Secrets of the OctopusNow in Japanese: Secrets of the Octopus. (And, we hear, in German, though we haven’t seen the book yet.)

The Book of Turtles has been short-listed for a Green Earth Book Award, a national honor for children’s books promoting environmental stewardship.

Oklahoma octo-fans Cal and Lyle Clifford
Tiktok Okto. They love octos, Sy’s new book, and OctoNation. Oklahoma octo-fan Cal Clifford’s pet octopus, Terrance, became a “Tiktoktopus” after videos of her unexpected babies went viral. Some two million folks have been following his pet octo’s 50 babies.

Seen above is Cal with his brother Lyle showing their prize loot from OctoNation. Their advice for all but the most serious (and wealthy) aquarists: get octo plushies, not pets! (In captivity, baby octopuses have an unfortunate tendency to eat each other.) And Cal’s father says, “It’s expensive, wet chaos” – but the whole family loves Terrance and her babies.

Stoughton (Mass.) ReadsSy is looking forward to joining Stoughton (Mass.) Reads for April 22 and 23rd. It’s all-out-octos for Earth Day.


Boston Globe bestseller list
Meanwhile on that other coast: Secrets of the Octopus has climbed to #6 on the Seattle Times bestseller list.
Seattle Times bestseller list

Sy visits Parker, a sea lion, before her talk at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California
Sy visits Parker, a sea lion, before her talk at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California

Sy is honored to share a Riverby Award with Matt Patterson, and sign copies at Books of Wonder in New York City. The Riverby Award is given by the John Burroughs Association, which was founded in 1921 to commemorate the life and works of the naturalist John Burroughs.


Sy and Matt Patterson, and sign copies at Books of Wonder in New York City   Sy at Books of Wonder in New York City



Octomania at Barnes & Noble bookstore.
Octomania at Barnes & Noble bookstore.

Secrets of the Octopus is a bestseller. It’s number seven on the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association bestseller list.

Bookbub has chosen Of Time and Turtles as one of the great, uplifting nature books of spring. See their list here.

Amazon Bestsellers in Marine Life

If you click on the top “marine life” books on Amazon, Sy’s books occupy 7 of the top 10 slots. How amazing is that?

Sy and Matt talk about their love of turtles, octopus and freshwater fish at the creativeprocess.info:

Sy: “I think that animals certainly don’t have all these widgets demanding their attention like we do. Their spirits are just not as atomized as ours are. We have so many little things flickering at the edge of our consciousness. When we pay attention to anything, we’re not paying that deep attention, but animals are. And they have senses that we do not. I mean, they’re aware of chemical cues that we completely miss. They can hear sounds we don’t hear. They see colors and kinds of light we can’t perceive, etc. But we all share a common ancestor. We share 90 percent of our genetic material with all placental mammals. So we really are all family…. It makes a human feel less lonely. So many humans I know, they’re just suffering terribly from loneliness even though they’re in a sea of other humans. Well, I never feel lonely. And I can be alone, so-called, in a landscape with no other human anywhere, and I feel nested and safe and at home. And I know you do, too, because there are all these other lives around us.”

Matt: “When you listen to your instincts, it’s the voices of your ancestors guiding you. The narration of your ancestors and not just your human ancestors going all the way back to when everybody was just one cell. And being connected to your origin in that way is very different from the Western world in which you’re off like an arrow, and you’ve left all that behind.”

Read more here.