John Tolley, June 24, 2017
BTN Book Club
Listen, we understand that it's summer, and you probably have a lot on your plate: backyard BBQs, pool parties, maybe even a little beach bumming if you can get down to the shore. But while you're out there having fun in the sun, remember to take along a good read.
Need a suggestion? Every week this summer, BTN LiveBIG is bringing you our top picks written and/or edited by the faculty, staff, students and alumni of our 14 great universities. So, go out there and work on your tan; just don't forget to pack a BTN Book Club suggestion in your beach bag.
Where Honeybees Thrive
By Heather Swan (Lecturer, University of Wisconsin-Madison)
"The frames are crawling with tiny creatures whose tongues are encyclopedias of plants, whose bodies are an unfolding cartography, whose wings bear the weight of a global food system - and whose disappearance is a message to the world."
With simple, natural prose, Heather Swan, writer, lecturer, beekeeper, examines the changing world of the honeybee, a creature that is far grander and more impactful than meets the eye.
In Where Honeybees Thrive, Swan pans out from the personal relationship she has with her humming hives to the much larger role that bees play in the fabric of life on earth. She charts the effects of rapid development and unchecked agriculture on bee populations in China. And in the US, where the National Gardening estimates $29.5 billion is spent annually on lawns, Swan warns of the deleterious effects of modern pesticides.
Connecting the book's essays are vibrant works of art surrounding the subject of honeybees. Sculptor Aganetha Dyck offers purposefully unsettling objets d'art juxtaposed with honeycomb patterns in sharp relief meant to "remove us from a quotidian existence."
Ultimately, it is consideration of the many facets of the honeybee that Swan asks of the reader. Enjoy local honey, but remember that as goes the honeybee, more than likely, so goes man.