REVIEW: A Buzz in the Meadow by Dave Goulson
A BUZZ IN THE MEADOW: The Natural History of a French Farm by Dave Goulson is so much more than its title suggests. Dave Goulson is an entertainer with his words and style, which is perfect for those of us who love this earth we live on and the creatures who share it. The book is divided into three sections and those sections will appeal to readers based on their interests and prior knowledge of plants, insects, wildlife and how humans have interacted with all three throughout history. For anyone who loves scientific study, then this book will be fascinating for you because Mr. Goulson explains many experiments done by his students or other scientists to prove his theories and predictions. A BUZZ IN THE MEADOW is a cornucopia of information for those captivated by entomology.
Having studied insects briefly in my training as a master gardener volunteer years ago, I had enough of a background to peak my interest, but this book enthused me even more than I had initially anticipated. I think this is because Mr. Goulson’s rambling style and sense of humor takes the reader on a journey while educating, so you learn as you read but you don’t feel as if you’ve been in a classroom.
I especially enjoyed how the chapters began with a journal entry that included the author’s morning run statistics, along with his observations of animals, people and insects along the way. It added a human element and something we can easily do ourselves as we walk our gardens. I took a very long time to read this book as I read mostly before slipping off into dreamland and I found that reading about insects wasn’t always conducive to a good night’s sleep. Especially when I got to the bedbugs section – shudders! I finally figured out that beginning my day with a chapter got my brain stirring along with a cup of tea and my skin no longer crawled.
I have to admit that the mating rituals of insects was a bit beyond what I really wanted to know, but it all had a reason for being in this book which is all-encompassing, rich scientific detail in an easy-to-read format for any level of gardening knowledge. There were some moments where the book stalled for me but I’m so glad I persisted because it was well worth my time. No matter how fast you read this book, you’ll surely appreciate the epic proportions of the author’s devotion to extenuating life to these creatures we rarely think about, because they truly are our lifeline to an edible future.
This book isn’t just limited to insects so those who enjoy memoirs about the outdoors in general will appreciate A BUZZ IN THE MEADOW as well. I found the extremes taken to catch the “wack-wack bird” and the identification of the “beast” a very entertaining part of the story that made me want to be a part of this group of people who have an insatiable zest for knowledge, and the good humor to do whatever it takes to obtain it.
My favorite section of this book was “Part III Unraveling the Tapestry,” which focused on the disappearance of bees and other species. I recommend this book to anyone who has a heart for conservation because it will reignite your passion. As one who misses the existence of honey bees in my own cottage garden, I can’t help but wonder how the world around me has reduced, not only the beautiful bees, but some of the gorgeous wasps I no longer see here. Are they extinct? I will never know because I haven’t identified them by their specific names but I miss their company amongst my flowers. If the gorgeous purple-black wasps come back, I will grab my camera for pictures so I never forget them.
A BUZZ IN THE MEADOW is great reading material for those who wonder about pollinators and how we can save them. If we protect those who help pollinate our food, we in essence defend our families’ future. My heartfelt thanks to author Dave Goulson for bringing this tragedy to the world’s attention in a way that makes us feel empowered enough to make a difference. Let’s get a buzz going in our own meadows.
Reviewed by Dorine, courtesy of The Zest Quest. ARC provided by publisher through NetGalley. Photos provided by The Zest Quest.
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A Buzz in the Meadow by Dave Goulson
Rated 4.5 out of 5
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