Saturday, July 4, 2009

Books with Buzzzzzz

I was recently reading about a new novel from a British author named Chris Cleave. Called Little Bee it is described as "A haunting novel about the tenuous friendship that blooms between two disparate strangers--one an illegal Nigerian refugee, the other a recent widow from suburban London." The book has generated a lot of (pardon the pun) buzz: generating strong positive reviews and more-than-decent sales.

Little Bee is the nickname of one of the main characters in this book: so, it's not a book about bees. But you know how your mind works.... hearing the word bee made me think of The Secret Life of Bees - a book that does feature bees (beekeeping to be exact) and which many people have loved both for it's story line and the depiction of the craft of beekeeping. Wrap all those disparate thoughts up and it got me curious about whether or not there were other books in the library catalogue that feature bees and/or beekeeping as a subplot. And of course, there are!

So - here they are, books with BUZZZZZZZZZZZ:

The Beekeepers Pupil by Sara George: An historical novel set during the French Revolution, mixes history and science in the tale of a blind man who hires a servant to assist him in his growing interest and study of bees. A novel based on the real-life naturalist François Huber.

The Honey Thief by Elizabeth Graver: After being uprooted from New York by her widow mother to a rural upstate town, 11 year-old kleptomaniac Eva makes an unlikely friend in Burl, an isolated beekeeper. A compelling tale of one girl's path to self-discovery and subsequent coming to terms with the secrets which haunt her family's past.

Recipe for Bees by Gail Anderson-Dargatz: a Canadian novel that was shortlisted for the Giller Prize, follows the story of an aging women who discovers beekeeping late in life. Described by the publisher as "... saturated with bee lore, and is full of rich domestic detail, wondrous imagery culled from rural kitchens and gardens, shining insights into ageing, family and friendship."

If stories of real life with bees are more up your alley than fiction, you might also consider Letters from the Hive: an Intimate History of Bees, Honey and Humankind by Stephen L. Buchmann or Sweetness and Light: the Mysterious History of the Honeybee by Hattie Ellis.

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