09 September 2011

Imprint Friday: The Beekeeper's Lament by Hannah Nordhaus

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.

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.
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.

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.

The Beekeeper's Lament at an Indie
The Beekeeper's Lament at Powell's
The Beekeeper's Lament at Book Depository
These links lead to affiliate programs.

Published by Harper Perennial, 2011
ISBN-13: 9780061873256


Beth Hoffman 9/9/11, 9:34 AM  

So there's a correlation between bees and the color black? I had no idea. I wanna know more!

This sounds like a fascinating book.

Mrs. Q: Book Addict 9/9/11, 9:54 AM  

I REALLY want to read this one. It sounds really good. I haven't heard much about this one, but it seems to be creating more buzz lately. Adding to my wishlist!

Zibilee 9/9/11, 10:02 AM  

I have long been fascinated with bees, and have read a few books where they are investigated. I have not yet read this book though, and it sounds like this is one place to get all my bee information all rolled up in one. I think the bit about the different types of diseases that are decimating colonies sounds very interesting as well. Great review on this one. I am adding it to my list.

Julie P. 9/9/11, 10:50 AM  

I was lucky enough to pick up a copy of this one at BEA. Was just looking at it the other day!

Heather J. 9/9/11, 11:02 AM  

I LOVED this book! My review of it will post sometime next week. I'm glad you featured it - more people should be reading this one.

reviewsbylola 9/9/11, 11:07 AM  

This book sounds interesting but I am not sure it is for me. I definitely love Harper Perennial though!

Nise' 9/9/11, 11:12 AM  

I am facinated by bees as well. I love to watch them. My friend is a Master Gardner and she teaches me about the importance of bees.

caite 9/9/11, 1:36 PM  

I will admit that while I realize how important bees are to us..and I love honey...they still scare me a wee bit. since the time I got bit and my arm got all puffed up. ok, maybe it was not a honey bee..I am not sure..but they still scare me

bermudaonion 9/9/11, 2:40 PM  

My mother grew up keeping bees, so I've heard lots of beekeeping stories. I bet she'll love this book!

read free books online for free without downloading 9/10/11, 3:11 AM  

Interesting story... I loved this book. And your review are good too i am sure many people will love this book.

Anglers Rest 9/10/11, 7:16 AM  

Sounds an interesting book. I have a colleague who often talks about bee keeping. Likewise, I am allergic to bee stings, but I am curious about the book, so added to my library list!

Michelle 9/10/11, 8:19 AM  

Oh man, I am NOT a fan of the bee. I don't know how people can walk into swarms of bees! Kudos to them but gah...not for me!

Barbara 9/10/11, 11:34 AM  

A close friend of ours is a beekeeper, among other interesting hobbies, and the bees he brought up here to his getaway cabin were victims of colony collapse. I imagine he would love this book.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 9/10/11, 9:37 PM  

This is SUCH a great book! Fascinating facts about honey bees - how we depend on them, the many facets of the industry that I wasn't aware of (renting pollinators?!), etc.

I'm glad you shared the link to Mr. Miller's video ... he's nothing like what I pictured :)

Serena 9/10/11, 10:04 PM  

I've heard of this one and it sounds fascinating. I've always been interested in people that keep bees...bees frighten me...I'm always worried they will sting me.

Booksnyc 9/11/11, 12:12 PM  

I heard about this book at the Harper lunch at BEA - it sounds very interesting and now I need to read it to find out if I am taking my life in my hands when I wear black!

Robin McCormack 9/12/11, 9:35 PM  

Sounds really interesting and educational. Now you have me wondering about the black clothing. I get buzzed on my patio alot, especially since I wear black sweat pants alot. Hmm! Off to check out the book.

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