Friday, January 27, 2017

The Bees by Laline Paull

Summary from Good Reads:
"Born into the lowest class of her society, Flora 717 is a sanitation bee, only fit to clean her orchard hive. Living to accept, obey and serve, she is prepared to sacrifice everything for her beloved holy mother, the Queen. Yet Flora has talents that are not typical of her kin. And while mutant bees are usually instantly destroyed, Flora is reassigned to feed the newborns, before becoming a forager, collecting pollen on the wing. Then she finds her way into the Queen's inner sanctum, where she discovers secrets both sublime and ominous. Enemies roam everywhere, from the fearsome fertility police to the high priestesses who jealously guard the Hive Mind. But Flora cannot help but break the most sacred law of all, and her instinct to serve is overshadowed by a desire, as overwhelming as it is forbidden...

Laline Paull's chilling yet ultimately triumphant novel creates a luminous world both alien and uncannily familiar. Thrilling and imaginative, The Bees is the story of a heroine who changes her destiny and her world."

Author's site

NY Times Review: "Hive Mentality",

The Guardian Review

Interview with the author by Bookanista Be sure not to miss this!!

Bucks County Audubon Society Event: Raising Honeybees Demo:

Discussion Questions:
1. What are some of the ways the book informs how bees function? How did the author help you visualize, feel and understand this in new ways?
2. What genre would you place this book?
3. Flora is often described as heroic. Why and how?
4. How does Flora's knowledge of the archives help her and the hive?
5. How do the bees view of the world beyond and how do they respond and interact with it?
6. How does the the life of the bees in this story diverge from the true life of bees?
7. How is Flora different from the other bees?
8. Would agree that this a "Cinderella" story? How?
9. Would you recommend this book for a book prize and why?
10. Has this book inspired you to become a beekeeper?

Video of starting a hive from Backyard Beekeeping:

Silence of the Bees - Nature Documentary

Local Beekeeping Groups in our area:

Montgomery County Beekeepers Association of PA:

Bucks County Beekeepers Association:

Lehigh Valley Beekeepers:


  1. Last night's book club was fantastic! Lots of varied responses about the book.
    I wanted to suggest the book "Rosalie Edge, Hawk of Mercy: The Activist Who Saved Nature from the Conservationists" by Dyana Z. Furmansky. It's about the founder of Hawk Mountain.

    1. Thank you for the great suggestion and so glad you could join us. We hope to see you again in March.