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Octopuses: Big, wet, strong puppies with tools

Octopuses, the eight-armed mysteries of the deep, are the smartest of invertebrates and, in the opinion of journalist Katherine Harmon Courage, among the most fascinating animals, period. There's enough that we're still trying to figure out about their larger-than-life personalities, uncanny intelligence and ability to disappear in plain sight to fill an entire book -- as Courage has done in "Octopus!". The book follows Courage as she delves into the wide world of octopus research -- and cuisine -- to try and figure out what it is about the sea creature that so captures the imagination.

"Everybody asks, once you’ve been working on a book for a while, 'Well aren’t you tired of it?'” Courage told Salon. "And I’m like 'No, I could never actually be tired of talking about octopuses or learning about them.'"

Courage spoke to Salon about her boundless enthusiasm for the cephalopods and some of the many things humans can learn from them, along with some mysteries that seem as if they may never be solved. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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