May 20th marked the annual UN Bee Day, a day that is dedicated to raising awareness about our little insect helpers. Bee populations face many threats — not least from pesticides and modern farming practices — but recent years have seen an ever-increasing interest in bees and their keeping. Today, four months after Bee Day, we would like to introduce you to a selection of bee-related literature that is sure to both educate and inspire you.
— The Idle Beekeeper (Bill Anderson): As more and more individuals express an interest in beekeeping, a select few turn their curiosity into action by becoming amateur beekeepers. Anderson is one of them – an urban beekeeper who resides in London and wrote a book that draws on his experiences, serving as a guide to the art of idle beekeeping. The book goes into detail about low-effort practices and easily maintainable hives that support the local bee population, all while being engaging and often philosophical. After all, bees are not solely there to produce honey, but to support entire ecosystems.
If you are interested in hearing more about Anderson’s experiences, do come along to the Golden Hare Books Festival! He will be speaking on Saturday, the 19th of October. For full details, visit the Golden Hare website.
— Bee (Claire Preston): This book takes a different approach to the topic of bees in that it is an historical account of how they became such vital parts of our culture. We relate bees to productivity, to busyness and collaboration, but when did those associations take root? Even terms like royalty come to mind when we think of beehives and their hierarchical structures, another phenomenon that is explored in Bee. Meticulously researched and dotted with wonderful illustrations, this book is sure to answer most of your questions about our insect friends.
— A Sting in the Tale (Dave Goulson): This book focuses on the bumblebee, fuzzy sibling to the honeybee. What do changing agricultural practices during the Second World War have to do with the decline of the British bumblebee? Why were bumblebees exported to New Zealand? And how on Earth did they get there? A Sting in the Tale is a fascinating read that will educate you about the importance of bumblebees to the survival of our native ecosystems, and it serves as a very convincing account of why we should not dismiss bumblebees simply because they appear a little more unstructured, and, well, bumbling than their honeybee relatives.
Published in 2018 by independent Edinburgh-based publisher Charco Press, Fireflies is an astounding account of modern history that manages to weave together multiple strands of life stories and lessons to create an engrossing tapestry of the human experience.
Fireflies joins together the lived experiences of Stanley Kubrick and The Beatles, connects Wittgenstein and Antoine de Saint-Exupery to the greater picture that is our modern world, and manages to do it all within the confines of a short, beautiful novel.
Here at Golden Hare Books, we definitely think of ourselves as an adventurous bunch, but we are the first to admit these adventures mostly take place through the pages of a good book while safely ensconced in a sofa. Putting our more sedentary lifestyles somewhat to shame, two of our Book Fringe authors – David Grange and Dan Richards – actively searched excitement out, travelling to the wild ends of the world and chronicling their experiences in two of our favourite volumes of recent travel literature: The Frayed Atlantic Edge and Outpost.
Having kayaked down the Atlantic coast of Britain and explored wildnerness in Desolation Peak, Washington State and Svalbard, Norway (no, really), they joined us last Friday evening for a conversation with Golden Hare manager Julie Danskein about what prompted their expeditions, their literary influences, and what they learnt from writing these two incredible volumes.
Not to boast, but we think we live in one of the most visually stunning cities in the world (made even more so by the super cute drawings currently in our windows, obviously). So you can only imagine how quickly we devoured Richard J. Williams’ Why Cities Look the Way They Do, an engrossing and thought-provoking consideration of urban areas and their aesthetic roots. We were lucky enough to have Richard visit us for an equally thought-provoking talk as part of our Book Fringe programme, in conversation with Timandra Harkness and our very own bookseller David Bloomfield for a discussion about cityscapes, modernity, and the power of visual expression.
Bibliophile is back! After a humidity-induced hiatus, we’re back in full flow and coming at you across the airwaves (that’s how podcasts work, right?).
In this episode, we discuss racist horror novels, space operas set on ice planets (In space! On ice!), and New York utopian fiction covered in gorgeous gold foil! We also chat about our reaction to the Booker Longlist, and raise more questions than ever: can David get through a review without being contrarian? Can Julie avoid getting egg on her face? Is crank a sensual word??
Wendy Erskine’s debut collection of short stories Sweet Home is a gorgeous, melancholy, and deeply evocative exploration of daily life in East Belfast. Fans of her work for the longest time, we were delighted to welcome her to Golden Hare Books as part of our Book Fringe line up. Wendy chatted to our very own manager Julie Danskin about the writing process, her interest in the underdog, and what she feels the short story genre offers, in what was a generous, honest, and insightful discussion about the mechanics and impetuses of fiction.
Our very first Book Fringe 2019 event at Golden Hare Books may well have broken records. The seats were filled by 6pm, the room was full by 6:15pm, and by the time the talk started at 6:30pm, personal space had become a thing of the past!
It’s a testament to Nan Shepherd’s incredible legacy, the stunning new edition of The Living Mountain published by Canongate, and the popularity of the folks at Have You Ever? who recorded the event as part of their podcast, that everyone braved the queues and rising heat to hear about Shepherd’s gorgeous volume of seminal nature writing.
August is upon us once again and with it the return of Book Fringe! We’re extremely excited about this year’s Fringe, and we’re sure that our lineup will have you racing to both Lighthouse Book and Golden Hare Books for these completely free events! And with no tickets, there’s no need to book!