“Knowing someone who belongs to another species can enlarge your soul in surprising ways.”
As you know by now, our One Book Chelmsford title is How To Be a Good Creature by Sy Montgomery. You might recognize the author – she has written many books about animals, and our connection to them, including bestsellers like The Good Good Pig and The Soul of an Octopus.
How To Be A Good Creature is a collection of short essays about the animals that have enriched the author’s life, and that have taught her valuable lessons on how to be a “good creature” herself. She writes: “All you have to do is recognize them as teachers and be ready to hear their truths”. From her first dog, Molly, who taught her to be curious about the world around her; to Clarabelle the tarantula, who made her appreciate even the smallest creatures; to her dog companions over the years – Tess, Sally, and Thurber – who taught her joy. And of course, we can’t forget those she has already made famous through her other works, Christopher Hogwood, that most excellent pig who taught her about enjoying life, and Octavia the Octopus, who demonstrated how we can find love and friendship in the unlikeliest of places.
Do all the stories have happy endings? Well, there is heartbreak to the story too, as she says goodbye to beloved members of her animal family over the years. We can relate to her feelings of sadness, but she reminds us that there are more good creatures in the world that need our care. As her dog Thurber has taught her, “you never know, even when life looks hopeless, what might happen next. It could be that something wonderful is right around the corner”.
Be sure to sign up for our Sy Montgomery web event on Wednesday April 21st at 7:30 PM EST. And if you want more reads about animals, in fiction and nonfiction, see our recommended reading lists below.
P.S. – Check back to our Reading Room blog next week to see our gallery of “good creatures”, a.k.a. The Real Pets of Chelmsford Librarians.