Tuesday, 11 June 2013

The bee's knees

The latest book to tickle my fancy is Dave Goulson's 'A Sting in the Tale'. Dave is an academic who has studied bees since he was knee-high to a grasshopper (or should that really be knee-high to a bee?). This study has taken him, at times, to the other side of the world, and although such trips are recalled, they are usually done so in the context of the UK's bumblebees.

This book functions on many levels - it is an accessible life-history of UK bumblebees but also pure entertainment, in that it is written in such a jargon-free style and the author's enthusiasm for the subject comes across - he wants us to embrace the bee. Whether or not the reader is 'into' natural history this book works.

It has changed my perception of bees - after reading this work you cannot look at them again in the same light. The book is cleverly constructed so that the reader is not bombarded with facts - make no mistake, these are there and in plenty, but the narrative which runs through extracts any dryness that similar works can exhibit. Highly recommended by the North Downs and beyond reading circle.

STOP PRESS: I have just received, from those lovely people at British Wildlife Publishing, volume 2 of the new British Wildlife Collection series, Meadows by George Peterken. As with the first volume (Mushrooms by Peter Marren), it is a gloriously produced book, and if it is half as good as the first  I will be well pleased.

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