Arts & Leisure

Book review: A Honeybee Heart Has Five Openings — by Helen Jukes

(Pantheon Books)
There came a time in Helen Jukes’ life when the natural world felt slightly “out of kilter,” and she was struck with a pervasive restlessness, so she embarked on a new pastime, an outlet to occupy her, to keep her grounded. Having spent a short but profound period of time assisting an experienced beekeeper, and now living in a small house at the outskirts of town, complete with an overgrown, brambly back garden, she blithely chose to get a beehive. She begins her quest with research, uncovering historical references to bees and honey as far back as Aristotle and Virgil, (as a custom hive is being built for her and she is sourcing colonies), then tracing the development of the modern hive and the modern beekeeper as a way to understand the bees and to understand how the occupation of beekeeping began, how a desire to understand became a desire to control. Step by manageable step, she brings the reader along with her; her memoir of this process is methodical, almost meditative, very satisfying to read. It’s a huge risk for Jukes, and she learns much along the way, and imparts the wisdom, applicable to other facets of life, with passion and humility.
— Reviewed by Jenny Lyons of the Vermont Book Shop

Bees, Bees, Bees — 10 books on bees
The Land of Milk and Honey: A History of Beekeeping in Vermont by Bill Mares & Ross Conrad
Dancing with Bees by Brigit Strawbridge Howard
Honey and Venom by Andrew Coté
Bees: A Honeyed History by Piotr Socha
Beehive Alchemy by Petra Ahnert
The Honey Companion by Suzy Scherr
Planting for Honeybees by Sarah Wyndham-Lewis
Oil and Honey by Bill McKibben
Honey Bus by Meredith May
Buzz by Thor Hanson

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