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Cover Image of Living History by Hillary Clinton published by Simon & Schuster
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Cover Image of The State of Africa by Martin Meredith published by Free Press
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Bee Culture: Books and Buzz

abstract:We are considering keeping bees at the farm. It’s a passion I was first exposed to through literature: The Secret Life of Bees and Bee Season, with advice from the experienced beekeeper a few miles down the road. We’re currently planting a small orchard above our existing vegetable patch, and I envision a field of lavender (like the one pictured here) next to produce lavender scented honey. Bee keeping isn’t just a country thing – they’re keeping bees on the tops of skyscrapers in Manhattan, and even producing a variety of honey from them sold on Bleeker Street!


August 04, 2009
— I guess it’s all part of the trend in cities to sprinkle urban garden patches and living roofs, which is very timely because of all the news about the serious decline in bee populations. As these pollinators are necessary for fruit trees to bear fruit and for many varieties of vegetables to transition from blossom to veggie, it’s a scare worthy of all our attentions (unless all you plan to eat are tomatoes… tomatoes possess both male and female anatomy in their blossoms, so a little breeze in the field or mechanical shake in the green house where 80% of tomatoes now derive, is all that’s required.) One of the theories for the drop in bee populations is that a virus is attacking domestic bees. Here are a few web sites for those of you interested in bees that I got from the latest issue of the NYT's food bulletin, "TastingTable" in the issue titled "Honey Do," Aug 9/09.

NYC Beekeepers Association: This group organizes meet-ups, hosts introductory classes and moderates a superinformative message board.
Rossman Apiaries: This source offers all-in-one kits and door-to-door shipment on queen bees.
The Barefoot Beekeeper: A site packed with everything you want or need to know about small-scale honey production.
Bee Culture: This monthly magazine is for beginners and professionals alike--it's pretty much the digest for American beekeepers.
• The Beekeeper's Handbook: An in-depth guide to backyard beekeeping, plus honey-heavy recipes ($21;

Yes, yes, this is a literary site, so let me tell you about the new book published this month by Simon and Schuster titled, Of Bees and Mist By Erick Setiawan Hardcover, 416 pages $25.00

"Raised in a sepulchral house where ghosts dwell in mirrors, Meridia grows up lonely and miserable. But at age sixteen, she has a chance to escape and find happiness when she falls in love with a caring young man named Daniel. They soon marry, and Meridia goes to live with her husband's family, unaware that they harbor dark secrets of their own. There is a grave hidden in the garden, there are two sisters groomed from birth to despise each other, and there is Eva—the formidable matriarch and the wickedest mother-in-law imaginable whose grievances swarm the air in an army of bees. As Meridia struggles to keep her life and marriage together, she discovers long-buried secrets about her own past as well as shocking truths about her new family that inexorably push her love, courage, and sanity to the brink.

Of Bees and Mist is an engrossing fable that chronicles three generations of women under one family tree over a period of thirty years—their galvanic love and passion, their shifting alliances, their superstitions and complex domestic politics—and places them in a mythical town where spirits and spells, witchcraft and demons, prophets and clairvoyance are an everyday reality. Erick Setiawan's astonishing debut is a richly atmospheric and tumultuous ride of hope and heartbreak that is altogether touching, truthful, and entirely memorable."



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