Friday, September 08, 2006

Bees and Home--A Keeper of Bees

I had the good fortune of receiving Allison Wallace's, A Keeper of Bees for my birthday. As Wallace was one of my professors during my undergraduate days at the University of Central Arkansas (less than two years ago), I was interested in her new book, if anything, simply to read a published work by someone I knew. Especially since Barnes & Noble (I know, enemy to small booksellers everywhere, but I promise I visit Nightbird too!) also carried it, thus meaning that they thought it would appeal to someone, somewhere.

So, I sat down with A Keeper of Bees, having just finished my first summer as a grad student and needing to read something to keep my mind off my recent wisdom teeth removal. The book was intriguing and delightful. As someone who ravenously reads Michael Pollan, Wallace's book fell within writing that interested me. Much like Pollan, Wallace intertwines describing the bee-world--and keeping them--with her own life in such away that enriches what bees are. I enjoyed the style of the book; it was short and to the point, but infused with humor and personality that I could almost see her eye twinkle with enjoyment as she relates, for example, her first encounter with the bees while trying to plant her broccoli a little too close to their hive or her hive swarms.

The ultimate question, though, is why should you read it? After all, if you wanted information about bees, couldn't you just read a book on beekeeping? Perhaps my own enjoyment was a result of knowing Wallace, but the work is genuinely worth the read. It is well crafted, carefully written, and an illuminating expression of the connection between our life's circumstances and that of the "four-footers" (to use a phrase from Wallace). If you are interested in bees, nature, or just on the hunt for a good book, I'd highly recommend A Keeper of Bees.

(See the Random House site for a blurb on the book, or visit Amazon).

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