Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Worker Bees: THE BEEKEEPER'S LAMENT by Hannah Nordhaus


The honey bee is a miracle. It is the cupid of the natural world. It pollinates crops; making plants bear fruit and helping farmers make money. But in this age of vast industrial agribusiness, never before has so much been asked of such a small wonder. And never before has its survival been so unclear—and the future of our food supply so acutely challenged.

In steps John Miller, or rather in he bounds. Miller tasks himself with the care and safe transportation of billions of bees. He is descended from N. E. Miller, America’s first migratory beekeeper, and trucks his hives from crop to crop, working the North Dakotan clover in summer and the Californian almonds in winter. He provides the crucial buzz to farmers who are otherwise bereft of natural pollinators, and does so for a price. But while there is steady demand for Miller’s miracle workers, especially from the multi-billion-dollar almond industry (without bees an acre of almonds produces no more than 30 lbs. of nuts; with bees, 2,000 lbs.), he’s faced with ever-mounting hive losses. In addition to traditional scourges like bears, wax moths, American foulbrood, tracheal mite, varroa mite, Africanized bees, overturned tractor trailers, bee thieves, etc., beekeepers now lose hives in the most mysterious of ways, when whole colonies simply fly away, abandoning their combs, in an epidemic known as Colony Collapse Disorder.

While bad news is in constant supply, Miller forges ahead because he can’t imagine doing anything else. He copes and moves on. He works and sometimes triumphs, all with an inspiring sense of humor. The Beekeeper’s Lament tells his story and that of his bees, creating a complex, moving, and unforgettable portrait of man in the new natural world.

Praise for The Beekeeper's Lament:

“This rollicking, buzzing, and touching meditation on mortality brings alive a sociable and lovable but desperately fragile cast of characters who will pull at your heartstrings—and that’s before you’ve even met the humans! You’ll never think of bees, their keepers, or the fruits (and nuts) of their labors the same way again.”—Trevor Corson, author of The Secret Life of Lobsters and The Story of Sushi

"I loved The Beekeeper's Lament. With great reporting and great writing, Hannah Nordhaus gives a new angle on an ever-evolving topic. You'll learn a lot."—Bernd Heinrich, author of Summer World and Winter World

If you would like to consider The Beekeeper's Lament for one of you classes, please use our desk copy form to request a copy.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Galley Giveaway: Daphne du Maurier's Lost Collection of Stories: THE DOLL

THE DOLL by Daphne du Maurier

ALL OF OUR GALLEYS HAVE BEEN GIVEN AWAY! Please visit us again for new giveaways.

With our latest Galley Giveaway, we are happy to present The Doll, a collection of 13 early and previously unavailable stories by Daphne du Maurier, the acclaimed author of the timeless Rebecca. All written before she was 23 years old, these stories are a valuable segment of her body of work.

Including stories like “And Now To God the Father” in which a vicar coaches a young couple divided by class issues, “Tame Cat” in which an older man falls in love with a much younger woman, and “And His Letters Grew Colder” a short story told in letters that follows the progression of a relationship through the love letters they send to one another—each story in the collection highlights du Maurier’s deep understanding of human nature.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Summer Reading 2011 Survey

Summer is (finally) here—and so, most likely, is your school’s annual “summer reading” program! We love this time of year because we get to find out which of our books students will be reading by the pool, in the park, or at the beach.

To no surprise, classics of ours like To Kill A Mockingbird, Their Eyes Were Watching God, and The Alchemist have made their way onto summer reading lists. In addition to these, other well received titles are being read across the country, such as:

How to Read Literature Like A Professor by Thomas C. Foster

- The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
- The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
- The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer
- One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

This is by no means an exhaustive list; we want you to enjoy your vacation too! What are your students reading this summer? Let us know!

Feel free to comment below—then head over to and fill out the form. We’ll randomly pick 5 to send a summer reading “starter kit” of some of our books for you to enjoy throughout these gloriously warm months!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Masha Hamilton's THE CAMEL BOOKMOBILE Chosen for NYU/Steinhardt's New Student Reading

THE CAMEL BOOKMOBILE by Masha HamiltonLast week, the Steinhardt School of New York University announced that Masha Hamilton's The Camel Bookmobile is required reading for all of its freshmen.

“We thought The Camel Bookmobile would serve as a wonderful metaphor to shape our discussion of the issues that our students face in a world revolutionized by technical advances,” said Patricia Carey, associate dean for student affairs.

The novel's main character is Fiona Sweeney—a librarian who wants to do something that matters. She chooses to make her mark in the arid bush of northeastern Kenya by helping to start a traveling library. Her intentions are honorable, but, encumbered by her Western values, Fiona does not understand the people she seeks to help. And in the impoverished small community of Mididima, she finds herself caught in the middle of a volatile local struggle when the bookmobile's presence sparks a dangerous feud between the proponents of modernization and those who fear the loss of traditional ways.

There's a reading guide for
The Camel Bookmobile—and here's Masha and the camel bookmobile in action.