Hobbies and Honeybees ūüźĚ

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!

More Non-Fiction Titles

The Earth Moved by Amy Stewart

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  • I know this is not the most gripping-sounding book, but I really enjoyed it. However, I have a soft spot in my heart for worms, so if you don’t, I have to admit this may not be as enjoyable as all my other recommendations. (I was being¬†ironic about my recommendations.) But if you also stop to save worms that are drowning in puddles after it rains, this is most definitely the book for you! It’s full of facts that will¬†change your understanding of the world around you. For more reviews, check it out on Amazon.com.

Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling¬†by Ross King

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  • ¬†Amazingly, this book tells a gripping story, despite being comprised of research about 16th century politics, Michelangelo’s odd habits, and fairly detailed information about the actual painting of the Sistine ceiling. I was given this book as a gift, because speaking frankly, I would not have picked up a non-fiction book about a work of art unless there were some fantastic scandal associated with it. However,¬†I could not put it down, and then¬†read more by Ross King, including¬†Bruneslleschi’s Dome. Intrigue, political scandal, and really cool facts about how the ceiling¬†was done, this book was a really good read and is very highly recommended. For more reviews, check it out on Amazon.com.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan

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  • Again, not a book that screams “action!” or “suspense!” but undeniably fascinating and horrifying. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. For real information on what organic means today and for anyone interested in sustainable foods, this book is for you. And for people who eat food from the grocery store and think you know what you’re eating: Read this book! For more reviews, check it out on Amazon.com.

Under the Banner of Heaven: A story of violent faith by Jon Krakauer

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  • When I read this, it was the last thing I thought about before falling asleep and the first thing that entered my mind when I woke up. Fascinating is an understatement. Meticulously researched and entwined with a murder trial from the 1980s, this book was also a gripping page-turner and impossible to put down. For more reviews, check it out on Amazon.com.