December 02, 2023

A beekeeper's winter reading list: 3 ultrashort book reviews

The title is one of many honey bee factoids smattered throughout the book.

A Honeybee Heart Has Five Openings: A Year of Keeping Bees

Originally from London, Helen Jukes gets lucky in a multitude of ways, not the least of which is friends who gifted her bees… and Luke Dixon for a beekeeping mentor! She's a bit on the nerdy side, and there's lots of beekeeping facts and factoids in her memoir. Plus she has a top bar hive!  ⭐⭐⭐⭐ I'd've given it 5-stars if the title were more than a factoid. Maybe it's a hint that this is a "I found love" story? If so, I don't know what the other four things she found were. Read it and let me know what I missed!

Another true story, Meredith May, weaves a surprising amount of beekeeping details into The Honey Bus.

The Honey Bus: A Memoir of Loss, Courage and a Girl Saved by Bees

A broken family at a young age, displaced and impoverished… This one resonated with me because my mom, like Meredith's, had a seriously messed up childhood which was not without ramifications for her children. But her grandfather is a beekeeper, and life lessons from him and the bees enable her to not just survive but to triumph. "He showed me how bees are loyal and brave, how they cooperate and strive, all the things I'd need to be when it was my time to navigate solo." This book made me really miss beekeeping! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

My husband is getting me a t-shirt that says, "I read banned books. 📚"
Trigger warnings: attempted suicide, bullying, child abuse, domestic violence, LGBTQIA+ violence

Mad Honey: A Novel by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan

Every time I get vaccinated, I tell the nurse that I completed VIT. Naturally, the beekeeping conversation ensues, and this time the nurse said, "You must read Mad Honey!" You would not expect a murder mystery to have the word "bees" 39 times in chapter one, but wow, what a great start. Of course there's a plot twist, and this one's was unexpected in not the usual unexpected way. If you're looking for more inclusiveness in your literature, this New York Times Bestseller covers the bases. At the end there are recipes. The one I'm wanting to make the most instructs, "Bake in oven for 40 minutes, or until an impossible thing comes true. Whichever comes first." ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (Download the PDF from the Google Colaboratory.)

Who else picks books by their covers?

Glory Be by Danielle Arceneaux. Set in Louisiana (relatively close by), another crime and social issues novel is my next pick. What's on your reading list? 


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