By Heather Swan. Published by Penn State University Press. ISBN 978-0-271-07741-3. 176 pgs., Color and black and white. 6.75” x 8.5”. Paper cover. $29.95
Heather Swan is a Professor at my Alma Mater, the University of Wisconsin, in Madison. She teaches environmental literature and writing. She is a beekeeper, of sorts, but this book isn’t about her projects. Rather, she looks at the world of beekeeping through the eyes of a good number of artists, other beekeepers, farmers, researchers and ecologists who are dealing with the issues honey bees are having. Interspersed are chapters of art. Art of bees and bee things. The stories are on slightly gray pages, the art on stark white pages. An interesting approach. Actually, the art is part of the chapter. Included are trips to China, Africa, and a hundred quotes from other writers about the subjects at hand. Justin Schmidt, known for his Stinging work, commented on this book as entirely engaging. It is if you expect what it does, rather than hope to be instructed. I enjoyed the art, references to other writers and especially how she pulled together parts and pieces to tell her story, and her quest for a sustainable future for bees, and people. – Kim Flottum
Apiculture in Italy and France at the Dawn of the European Union. Malcolm T. Sanford. Published by Northern Bee Books. ISBN 978-1-904846-12-3. 102 pgs. 6.75”x 9.5”, black and white, soft cover.
Dr. Sanford, retired Extension Entomologist from Florida, and occasional contributor to this and other beekeeping journals, keeps his fingers in the pie so to speak with occasional historical works. This is a good one. Written aboutthe late 1980s and 1990s, before most of the EU’s effects had solidified, and beekeeping in that part of the world was more like it had been than what it was to become with the unification of all the EU countries. It gives a good look back, and records the thinking of the day, the knowledge of the day and what was being prepared for. But it also has some incredible photos of the day, too, which give it greater value. Varietal honey plants – lavender, acacia, apricot, strawberry tree, rosemary and thyme are shown and discussed, and older photos – Daryl Stoller from Ohio, Gilles Ratia, visits to Equipment manufacturers, Brian Sherriff and Steve Taber show up, too. Research lab visits, beekeeper meetings. It’s all here. – Kim Flottum