A Honeybee Heart Has Five Openings, by Helen Jukes

Staff Pick

I picked up this book to learn about bees, but before they came up, I was hooked by Jukes herself. Warm, honest, questioning, she’s a thoroughly engaging narrator of both her own life and those of the insects. Living in Oxford and working a job that’s more stressful than satisfying, she keeps thinking about her brief experience helping a beekeeper friend. Though she has no confidence she can do it on her own, she can’t resist trying and soon has a hive in her urban backyard. Worrying constantly about the needs of the bees, she does extensive research on their habits and the history of beekeeping, and her reports—on the differences between workers and drones, the various kinds of hives, the practice of the waggle dance, the intricacies of swarming—are vivid, succinct, and slightly wonder-struck. Jukes is especially interested in the evolution of the relationship between keepers and bees and her attachment to her own colony  gradually deepens to a thing of beauty and resonance; for everything she learns about the bees, they teach her as much about herself.

A Honeybee Heart Has Five Openings: A Year of Keeping Bees By Helen Jukes Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524747862
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Pantheon - May 5th, 2020

Two Trees Make a Forest, by Jessica J. Lee

Staff Pick

A dual citizen of Britain and Canada and now a resident of Berlin, Lee is descended from mainland Chinese who were exiled to Taiwan and then relocated to Ontario where her fighter-pilot grandfather mopped floors in a factory. Her deeply reflective memoir combines cultural and political history as well as travel and, perhaps most of all, astute and heartfelt nature writing, for a moving inquiry into “what ought to be simple: articulating who we are.” Who, exactly, is Lee, as the heir to multiple displacements and their attendant losses and gains? The narrative centers on her relationship to Taiwan, a place she knows primarily from her mother’s memories. Compelled by “a longing to remember the things I hadn’t known,” Lee makes repeated visits to the island, exploring it through extensive hikes, linguistic research, and reconstruction of her family’s experiences, including a reunion with forgotten relatives. Throughout, Lee balances the often painful personal discoveries with fascinating details of Taiwan’s natural environment—especially its once magnificent false cypress forests—its cartographic history, and its precarious position along two tectonic plates which has endowed it with more than forty active fault lines. 

Two Trees Make a Forest: In Search of My Family's Past Among Taiwan's Mountains and Coasts By Jessica J. Lee Cover Image
ISBN: 9781646220007
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Catapult - August 4th, 2020

Wildhood by Dr. Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers

Staff Pick

Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers, an evolutionary biologist and science journalist, respectively, taught us a lot about animals, humans, and the diseases we share in their groundbreaking Zoobiquity. Again skirting the twin dangers of anthropomorphism—making animals too much like us—and anthopodenialism—missing the connections between us and animals—their new work looks at how both animals and humans experience adolescence. Shared by nearly all species, from insects and amphibians to birds and mammals, adolescence, or, as the authors term this pivotal developmental stage, Wildhood (Scribner, $28), is crucial to helping the young develop skill sets concerning safety, status, sexuality, and independence. Examining each life lesson in detail, the book tracks the experiences of a juvenile penguin leaving her Antarctic birthplace for the treacherous seas; a young male hyena, born at the low-end of his species’s totem pole; the complicated romantic history of a humpback whale; and a wolf who has to go off and survive on his own. Full of fascinating details about these four species and many others, these coming-of-age stories also bear profound similarities to those of their human counterparts. If teens seem maddeningly reckless, over-sensitive, and obsessed with status, this book shows that they are only behaving as evolution prepared them to.

Wildhood: The Astounding Connections between Human and Animal Adolescents By Dr. Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, Kathryn Bowers Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501164699
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Scribner - September 17th, 2019