If you’re on the fence about bee keeping, pick up Honeybee, by Marina Marchese. This short read is a delightful combination of quality prose and useful bee information. Disclaimer: it may tip your over the fence in favor of the bees. Just sayin’.
For All Accidental Beekeepers
We spent 4th of July with some fellow homesteading friends in the small town of Grantsville, Utah (nothing better than a small town 4th!). In a rare moment of the baby-napping and older-kids- outside- playing, I was lounging, lost in the little, red book, Honeybee, by Marina Marchese.
Liz, my friend, walked in and (this is so part of why I love her) asked with genuine, book lover interest, “Whatcha readin’?” I flipped the book up so she could see the title and a smile lit her face. I mentioned that it was good and then after a moment I added, “It would be good for you to read. You’d like it.”
I realized later that the two statements, while correct, weren’t necessarily the same thing.
Good Prose, Good Honeybee Info
The fact is, Honeybee would be great for anyone interested in bees to read. However, this book is for normal people. As in, not just biologists or entomologists. But normal book-loving, wanna-be-beekeeping sorts of people.
Marchese has such an engaging way of telling her “Lessons from an Accidental Beekeeper” that you hardly notice all the technical information you’re absorbing. Her story is one of true conversion to the beekeepers’ art. And she began her journey, as many of us do, by falling madly in love with honey.
Why Keep Honeybees
Marchese talks about leaving her 9-5, albeit creative work, to follow the siren’s call of fresh honey in her backyard. Her book includes narratives about attending beekeeping association meetings for the first time, being mentored by a neighbor beekeeper and the newbie passion of working with her honeybees. She also includes the lessons she learns as she gets more experience and her “honeybee mother” worries over her hives.
If you’re a novice in the world of bee keeping, you won’t be intimidated by her language. Honeybee isn’t a bee keeping manual. It’s a good book that happens to include a lot of useful bee keeping instruction. Plus, if you’re always in a hurry like me, it’s not a very long book and the text is visually appealing which makes it an even easier read.
For the Love of Honey
Whether new to bee keeping or well seasoned, you’ll love reading her experience in Italy learning to taste test honey as you would a fine wine. In fact, Marchese has a whole section on grading honey with your palette and how that’s done the world over. She includes some recipes, a list of varietals of honey and a vocabulary lesson in honey labels in three languages. There’s also a glossary (in English), if you get lost. If you want more information on honey, you can read her other title The Honey Connoisseur.
Marchese also has a website that may prove helpful to you. You can find her at Red Bee Honey, the company site for her honey label of the same name. You can find a blog with helpful information attached to that site.
Learn and Have Fun
So, yes, my friend would be enriched as a honeybee student by reading this book. But she’d also like it just because it’s a fun read with worthwhile content that has it’s own merit in the world of prose. To be honest, Marchese’s raptures over the sweet bees and the amazing qualities of honey threaten to leave the world of prose and fly into poetry.