Book recommendation: The history of bees

It has been a long time since a book has moved and touched me in such a way as “The history of bees” did. With this novel, the Norwegian author Maja Lunde has created a wonderful piece of art, she found just the right words to show us how much we depend on the little, fluffy honey-hunters. The book was released in Summer 2017 and has made it to the bestselling list just within a blink of an eye.

In “The history of bees”, three different fates in different times are guiding the reader through the story. The characters of the story are as unique as their experiences with bees: The first part of the story is about William – a grumpy and vain biologist who never made it to any fame and thus is discontented with his life. He makes an invention concerning bees that changes his life in the 1850s English province. Then, in the year 2007, there is George, a beekeeper in the United States who fights against the modern ways of farming. His biggest hope is his son, who is however not too sure about his future as a beekeeper. And lastly, there is the young Chinese woman Tao, living in the year 2098. She is a professional hand-pollinator – bees have disappeared from the Earth’s surface long ago. A horrible accident of her son is an eye-opener to her: As she tries to get him back from the authorities who have taken him, she makes a discovery that will change her life and the whole world.

Even if the lives of the three characters in Maja Lundes bestselling book are not directly connected, they are nevertheless interwoven with each other: The bees are the tie linking William’s, George’s and Tao’s stories. As the accident of her son is an eye-opener for Tao, this book should be an eye-opener to all of us. Once, the bees are gone, life as we know it will stop.

Especially for people like us who study biodiversity, ecology, biology and other environmental topics it is a book quite worth reading, I think. Even if we might already know a little bit about this topic, “The history of bees” is on the one hand showing us a possible disastrous future if we don’t act and on the other hand it is giving hope for a change in this world. In this lecture-free time, this book is definitely a lecture that will enrich your days and hopefully inspire you.

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