Book Blogger Appreciation Week

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Hello! Today marks Day One of #BBAW (book blogger appreciation week) and it’s off to a good start: choosing a mere five books with which to represent ourselves. Thank you, Estella Society! I love a good challenge as much as anyone, so I thought I’d go for it.

Book #1: This Present Darkness by Frank E. Peretti
I read this book when I was 13 and will never forget how it painted such a clear picture of spiritual warfare. This book illustrates my beliefs as a Christian, as well as my appreciation for a gripping story.

Book #2: A book of bees by Sue Hubbell
I am a honeybee enthusiast and this book provides an idyllic portrayal of the life of a beekeeper. It was written in the 1980s, before many of the pests which plague honeybees today came to North America, so it really is an idyll now. But it still encourages me in my dream to one day keep bees.

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Book #3: The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley
This book was thoroughly enjoyable to read because most of it takes place *in* a bookshop. For a bibliophile, that right there was enough to make this book part of the ones which represent me. However, there is the added delight of it being set in the past (actually, it was written in the past – even better), another of the things I love in a book. So this selection sums up nicely my affinity for books and reading about the past.

Book #4: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Another thing about me: I love children’s books. I have all the Berenstein Bears books from before 1990 (what I really learned to read on), the Noddy books, some Bill Peet classics, a select few YA books from the 1950s (Minnow on the Say, Gone-Away Lake, Tom’s Midnight Garden) and most of the books from my childhood (Father Fox’s Penny Rhymes, What’s the Matter With Caruthers? and many, many more). The Phantom Tollbooth warms my heart every time I read it and I think it’s the perfect book to describe that part of me.

Book #5: The Earth Moved by Amy Stewart
Trees, flowers, worms, bugs, animals, I love them all. I’m a softie. When I was young, many rainy days saw me getting to school late because I was saving so many worms from puddles along the way. So this book was not only fascinating (there is more in it than just facts about worms!), but also comforting to know there are others out there who appreciate our subterranean friends.

So there you have it! That sums me up a fair amount. Not completely, of course, but it’s a good start.

Hobbies and Honeybees 🐝

A couple of years ago, I became interested in the plight of the honeybee. I read many books about bees and beekeeping, and now I’m just biding my time until I can have a hive or two of my own. This post is a salute to honeybees and a call for comments and books about hobbies of your own.

The first book I read about bees was A Spring without Bees: How Colony Collapse Disorder Has Endangered Our Food Supply by Michael Schacker. If you are at all interested in the debates about whether neonicotinoids are behind bee deaths, I strongly recommend this book. The author explores some extremely compelling research and reveals the distressing fact that at the time, the makers of the pesticides were the ones funding the bee-death research.
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The next book I read was A Book of Bees by Sue Hubbell. This book was a delight from start to finish, and paints an idyllic picture of working with bees. Written in 1988, many of the pests and problems associated with beekeeping today were not an issue, so it is a beautiful glimpse into a discipline that will never be that way again.
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Another look at bees and their wondrous honey came from C. Marina Marchese in Honeybee: From Hive to Home, Lessons from an Accidental Beekeeper. I enjoyed reading about the author’s transformation from a passive bystander to active honey enthusiast and beekeeper. 
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If this post has inspired the latent apiculturist in you, here’s a book in the Homemade Living series that has lots of useful information on beekeeping: Keeping Bees by Ashley English.
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The following titles may be of some help to those who are lucky enough to be able to set up their own colony. I confess I haven’t read these, but they’re on my list of future acquisitions!

Bees Make the Best Pets by Jack Mingo, Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture by Ross Conrad (this one is especially relevant today because of all the pests and diseases that attack bees. Any approach that reduces the amount of chemicals our insect friends are exposed to is a step in the right direction), and The Beekeeper’s Bible by Richard Jones and Sharon Sweeney-Lynch.
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What do you enjoy doing on weekends or away from “work?” Are you a committed hobbyist? Tell us about it!