This spring we've made it our mission (even more than usual) to celebrate new releases in the wake of cancelled launch parties, book festivals, and reading series. With 49th Shelf Launchpad, we're holding virtual launch parties here on our platform complete with witty banter and great insight to give you a taste of the books on offer. You can request these books from your local library, get them as e-books or audio books, order them from your local indie bookseller if they're delivering, buy them direct from the publisher or from online retailers.
Today we're launching the memoir Show Me the Honey, by Dave Doroghy, a lighthearted, self-deprecating account of one fledgling beekeeper’s misadventures.
The Elevator Pitch. Tell us about your book in a sentence.
It’s a humorous self-deprecating book about the challenges of raising bees; and how the real rewards of the hobby are derived from simply studying these fascinating bugs, and not from the meagre honey yields.
Describe your ideal reader.
People interested in our ecology, folks interested in the origin of our food sources, anyone considering taking up beekeeping, current bee-keepers, people that want a good laugh at my expense, people considering a new hobby, people interested in life on a floating home (that’s where I keep my bees).
What authors/books is your work in conversation with?
David Sedaris, Bill Bryson, Arthur Black, Jake MacDonald, Rick Mercer.
What is something interesting you learned about your book/yourself/your subject during the process of creating and publishing your book?
I never knew that the average book was 80,000 words. I geared mine toward that targeted goal over the two-years that it took me to write it. Once I hit 80,000, I felt like I didn’t have another word left in me and that my story had been completely, thoroughly and well told. I was so glad to hit my goal, and make it to the finish, while at the same time feeling nothing had been left out.
You describe bee keeping as being a ton of work, and something that requires lots of money. Then you go on to explain how painful it is to get stung all the time, and how in the end you usually only end up with a few measly jars of honey. Do you plan to continue bee-keeping?
Yes, I plan on continuing to keep bees. Two hives is really the minimum you should have, and I'll soldier on with a pair of boxes on my back deck. I'm too invested now and, besides, it has become a pleasant pastime. They continue to fascinate me and, as with everything you take an interest in, have led me to meet a ton of new people.
An important part of any book launch are the thank you’s. Go ahead, and acknowledge someone whose support has been integral to this project.
My girlfriend Jeannie is an excellent beekeeper. I am such a Blabbermouth and love talking about bees but am not that great at caring for them. She has had so much patience with me over the course of writing and publishing this book. Of course, I want to thank her, but I also need to kind of apologize to her because she does all the work and I get all the glory.
What are you reading right now or next?
The Canadian writer Jake MacDonald was a friend of mine. Sadly, he died in January of this year. He was an excellent writer and I regret the finite number of books he left behind now that he is gone. He had so much more to give. I am just now reading his book With the Boys: Field Notes on Being a Guy.
When Dave Doroghy’s sister gave him 15,000 honey bees as a Christmas gift, his practical knowledge of beekeeping would have fit on the proverbial backend of an Apis mellifera. He spent the next two years learning everything he needed to know to keep that beehive alive and well—he attended a beekeeping conference, joined a bee club, and even went to bee school. But bad things still happened—he sustained multiple stings, wasps attacked his hive, he fought an ongoing battle with killer varroa mites, and even lost his queen—twice!
In Show Me the Honey Doroghy recounts his often tension-filled misadventures in beekeeping with self-deprecating humour and lightheartedness. Whether it’s the impending chaos of transferring tens of thousands of insects to an outyard, the horror of discovering bees on the inside of his beekeeping suit, or just wondering if he will end up with even an ounce of honey for all his efforts, Doroghy shares the joy, the surprises, and the less-acknowledged financial sting of keeping bees. Above all, he relishes in the details of keeping a hive and getting to know the fascinating little creatures that inhabit those mysterious wooden boxes.
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