"Soul Of An Octopus" Selected For Atheneum's One Book, One Island

Nantucket Current •

The Nantucket Atheneum is delighted has announced the winner of the voting for its “One Book, One Island” (OBOI) Community Read.

This year's selection - picked for the first time by popular vote - is "The Soul of an Octopus" by Sy Montgomery, which was nominated for consideration by the Nantucket Book Foundation.

Hundreds of people participated in the voting, which the Atheneum described as "an exciting race and a tight competition."

Montgomery's book checks-in at 272 pages and was a National Book Award Finalist described as "a fascinating glimpse into an alien consciousness."

What happens now? The Atheneum and other participating organizations will purchase and offer the winning title for free, and the book will be distributed from a variety of island locations starting in late January. The community is then encouraged to pick up a copy and read the book along with friends, family and communities members. The Atheneum will also offer free programs and discussions to be held in March and is inviting other organizations to create free programming in honor of this 2023 OBOI selection.

"The Soul of an Octopus" was chosen by voters from a group that also included book nominations from: Yesterday’s Island/Today’s Nantucket, the Nantucket Historical Association, the Artists’ Association Nantucket, and Team Annye Camara. =

The OBOI program is one of many "community reads" around the country that are geared to connect communities over the discussion of a good book.

According to the National Endowment for the Arts, “Reading for pleasure reduces stress, heightens empathy, improves students’ test scores, slows the onset of dementia, and makes us more active and aware citizens.”

The Atheneum asked its participating teams to consider the following selection criteria, established over 15 years ago by OBOI's founding Librarian and organizations:

Criteria of a Great Selection:

  • has broad appeal for community discussion
  • fosters enjoyment of reading
  • is accessible and affordable
  • is available in diverse languages and/or formats

What Were the Entries?

  • SOUL OF AN OCTOPUS: a Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery (recommended by the NANTUCKET BOOK FOUNDATION). WINNER, 27.7% of the vote
  • HORSE by Geraldine Brooks (recommended by the ARTISTS' ASSOCIATION NANTUCKET) 20%
  • STATION ELEVEN by Emily St. John Mandel (recommended by YESTERDAY'S ISLAND/TODAY'S NANTUCKET)
  • PROJECT HAIL MARY by Andy Weir (recommended by TEAM ANNYE CAMARA) 10.3%
  • CHESHIRE CROSSING by: Andy Weir (recommended by the NANTUCKET ATHENEUM) 7.88%
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