Welcome to Imprint Friday and today's featured imprint: Harper Perennial. Stop by each week to be introduced to a must-read title from one of my favorite imprints. I know you'll be adding many of these books to your wish list.
Without honey bees we wouldn't be alive. And without people like John Miller—the star of Hannah Nordhaus's The Beekeeper's Lament—honey bees would be struggling more than they are now. Humans and bees are intimately entangled.
I went to college with a daughter of a south Georgia beekeeper, and thanks to her, I've been fascinated with bees for almost four decades. After you read The Beekeepers Lament, you will be too.
The honey bee is a willing conscript, a working wonder, an unseen and crucial link in America's agricultural industry. But never before has its survival been so unclear—and the future of our food supply so acutely challenged.That I would read The Beekeeper's Lament was a no-brainer. As I mentioned, I learned about bees and honey from a college friend. After her father died, her mother married a well-known and prosperous honey producer, and his stories of bees and beekeeping around the globe only intensified my interest. If I weren't allergic to bee stings, I probably would have tried my hand at beekeeping by now.
Enter beekeeper John Miller, who trucks his hives around the country, bringing millions of bees to farmers otherwise bereft of natural pollinators. Even as the mysterious and deadly epidemic known as Colony Collapse Disorder devastates bee populations across the globe, Miller forges ahead with the determination and wry humor of a true homespun hero. The Beekeeper's Lament tells his story and that of his bees, making for a complex, moving, and unforgettable portrait of man in the new natural world.
The other attraction is author Nordhaus's connection to Outside magazine, a surprisingly literary publication that has also published the likes of Jon Krakauer and Sebastian Junger. An Outside credit is often all it takes for me to give an author a try.
So what about Beekeeper's Lament? It's a gripping true account of the history of modern beekeeping and the myriad diseases and problems beekeepers face on a daily basis. Nordhaus has an approachable style that lets you get a feel for the personalities, lifestyles, and landscapes of people who tend bees. It will change your perspective of food—whether you're buying fruits and vegetables at the local farmers' market or at the supermarket. Next time you see a honey bee, you'll be inclined to say thanks.
BTW: I was pleased to see that my friend's step-father is mentioned in the book. Also, if you read the book, you'll know why I rarely wear black.
Instead of sharing snippets from other reviews, I'd like to share this video of John Miller talking about the book.
The Beekeeper's Lament was an Indie Next pick for June 2011. To learn more about Hannah Nordhaus, visit her website or Facebook page or follow her on Twitter.
Harper Perennial is a featured imprint on Beth Fish Reads. For information about the imprint, please read Erica Barmash's welcome note posted here on June 18, 2010. I encourage you to add your reviews of Harper Perennial books to the review link-up page; it's a great way to discover Good Books for Cool People. And don't miss the The Olive Reader, the Harper Perennial blog.