October 2017 - The History of Bees, by Maja Lunde


(Jennifer D.) #21

So excited for this read to kickoff tomorrow!! My copy is at the ready – I hope it will be a great month of reading and discussion!


(Michael D. McClure) #22

Hi Gang:
First of all, thanks to Jennifer_D for being our moderator… Looking forward to your leadership and guidance.
Second, this will be the first book club with Riffle that I have done. Only joined a month or two ago.
Third, will there be more testosterone here than just mine. How many guys typically are involved?
Fourth, off now to start the book. Would like to get to page 85 tonight so I can stay on track and get even a little ahead. The family all out of the house tonight, so just me and the dog; should be able to accomplish my goal.
Will look forward to beginning the discussion tomorrow.

(Jennifer D.) #23

hi @Michael_D_McClure! so happy you will be joining us!

tomorrow is just the kickoff of our reading, and we have the week to read what’s on the schedule. our first summary and set of discussion questions will be posted next weekend. it’s a bit tricky to find an online method and pace that works for all readers, so we’ve been trying this way since the book club kicked off a few months ago. we are always open suggestions to help it be a better feature for you all!

since the book club is a fairly new feature, it is evolving. the discussion is open to all of Riffle’s membership, so it’s hard to know who will be able to participate each month. but, i hope we get a nice level of involvement, and enjoy some wonderful discussions.

i also have my book ready, and hope to get a good bit of reading in on it tomorrow!


(Jeannine Haduch) #24

Started the book this morning. Looking forward to the discussions.

(Kate Minckler) #25

I picked up my library copy today! Going to start reading shortly. :blush:

@Michael_D_McClure - I’m going to try to get my husband to join in this one as he enjoys literary sci fi.

(Michael D. McClure) #26

Kate Minckler: I hope your husband will hop on board with us. Tell him I
said that.

I did indeed get the first 85 pages read Saturday evening. Particularly
intrigued with the glimpses of parent/child relationships in each of the
three main characters. Looking forward to learning more as I read and for
the posting of discussion questions next weekend.


M Michael D. McClure
2001 N . Winthrop Rd.
Muncie, IN 47304
Ph. 765-212-2356 (H)
765-285-8108 (O)
E-mail: msquared0527@gmail.com msquared0527@gmail.com

My motto: “Carpe librum”

(Riffler) #27

Hi Riffle book clubbers!

Just letting you know that our reading schedule for October is going to change slightly. Unfortunately the wonderful @Jennifer_D won’t be able to post discussion questions this upcoming weekend. Please feel free to read on through to page 168 and then we will discuss the first two weeks’ worth of reading. Questions specific to these chapters will be posted some time on the weekend of the 14th/15th (along with plot reminders).

We appreciate your patience and understanding!! Here is the revised reading schedule:

01 - 14 October: chapters ‘Tao’, through ‘William’ - pages 1 through 168
15 - 21 October: chapters ‘Tao’, through ‘William’ - pages 169 through 252
22 - 28 October: chapters ‘George’, through ‘Tao’ - pages 253 through 337 (end)

In the meantime, to keep some more general (spoiler-free!) chat about the book going, please share your thoughts on…

  1. Did you have much knowledge of this book before it was selected for our book club read in October?

  2. Is it a book you would have chosen to read without the Riffle book club selecting it?

  3. Do you have any expectations going into this story?

(Sue Dix) #28

I had never heard of this book before it was selected for the October read. I might have chosen to read this book if I had encountered it on another reading website. The title is intriguing and I like to read books by authors from other parts of the world. I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I first started reading this story, and I have been pleasantly surprised by the story line, so far. I think that we will have some interesting discussions.

(Riffler) #29

We’re glad you’re enjoying the selection so far, Sue! Thanks for sharing your initial thoughts. :slight_smile:

(Kim@Time2Read) #30

That’s going to work great for me, because I was just able to get me copy tonight!

Did you have much knowledge of this book before it was selected for our book club read in October?

I’d heard of the book seen it on a couple of ‘recommended for book clubs’ lists, but I hadn’t commited to reading it yet.

Is it a book you would have chosen to read without the Riffle book club selecting it?

I probably would not have picked it up, simply because I have a lot in my ‘to read’ pile and this one didn’t immediately grab me. I read Station 11 and was underwhelmed, so the comparison to it did nothing to entice me!

Do you have any expectations going into this story?

I really don’t, but I am expecting another great discussion!

(Penny / Literary Hoarders ) #31

I haven’t read Station 11 because it’s normally a genre I don’t gravitate towards…I’ve heard such great things about it, but I still haven’t picked it up. History of Bees sounds perhaps a little more like something I would try because it seems to be a mix of genres and maybe not straight up dystopia, like I’m afraid of Station 11 as being. :slight_smile:

(Kate Minckler) #32

Ok, so for some reason I had this a little confused in my brain with…

Even though this is a much older book, something about them both being fiction titles that sound like nonfiction titles about bees made them merge in my mind. I didn’t actually know anything about either book, but the nonfiction-esque title really intrigued me. I quite like fiction that is spun out of science. So on that note…

Yes, if I picked it up and read the blurb I would have wanted to read this. Also, the three narratives spread across time sort of reminds me of David Mitchell’s books, and I enjoyed

And so, I suppose my expectations are informed by that association with Cloud Atlas. I’m wondering if the three narratives will be linked cleverly, and I hope that they will be!

(Riffler) #33

Happy weekend!

Just checking in to see how we’re all doing with the reading? :open_book: As a reminder, we’ll be starting our chapter-by-chapter discussion next Sunday, but for now we’d love to hear your expectations going into the novel! @Jeannine_Haduch @Jane_D @Susan_Beamon @thereadingowlvina @Gwen_Stackler @Michael_D_McClure

Also, The History of Bees fits nicely into the up-and-coming genre climate fiction (or cli-fi!). Is this a genre any of you have explored before? Here’s an interesting article from The Atlantic on the topic:

(Susan Beamon) #34
  1. I was aware of the title. I didn’t really examine it closely until was picked.

  2. Eventually, I think, after seeing a few reviews and/or picks from favored websites, I very likely would have picked it up. I kind of like science fiction disaster books and this seems to belong to that category

  3. I expect an explanation of the problem and several possible solutions to it.

(thereadingowlvina) #35

Did you have much knowledge of this book before it was selected for our book club read in October?
Honestly no but I’ve seen the book before in bookstores.

Is it a book you would have chosen to read without the Riffle book club selecting it?
Most probably. I really like the title.

Do you have any expectations going into this story?
Yes! I can’t wait to finish the book as it is getting interesting now. And I hope we will have a great discussion! :slight_smile:

(Jennifer D.) #36

hi all!!

i am so sorry for my absence, and being unable to post or comment here. thank you for carrying on in my absence!

i have finished reading this one, so i am very curious about how this one will go for all of you.

i am glad to see so many people reading and interested in this month’s selection!!


(Claudette Germain) #37

Did you have much knowledge of this book before it was selected for our book club read in October? None but I was intrigued.

Is it a book you would have chosen to read without the Riffle book club selecting it? Yes. I love the live of bees.

Do you have any expectations going into this story? Not really…

(Penny / Literary Hoarders ) #38

I finally picked this one up last night so I will be in good shape to join the discussion! I’m not very far into it but I am enjoying it so far. :wink:

I had seen this book when it was first coming out and I was intrigued by it then. I wasn’t too sure of how I would feel about it but thought it might be a little “lighter” in the dystopian/sci-fi kind of genre. I dont’ normally enjoy those, and I haven’t read Station Eleven (the book it is described as being similar), although I’ve seen so many wonderful reviews of it.

I would have picked this one up without the Riffle book club selecting it, but I’m very happy to have this be a book club choice since I’m sure there will be added discussion and breakdown of parts of this, giving a deeper and more enjoyable reading.

(Jane D) #39

I am behind in my reading of this book. I have started it and am intrigued so far, though.

I was aware of this book before Riffle selected it for a monthly discussion. Anything with ‘bees’ in the title catches my attention!

So this book was already on my TBR list.

Based on the title, I thought it was going to be a kind of bee version of “Watership Down”

(Jennifer D.) #40

hello everyone! i hope this read is going well for you, so far.

we are discussing the first two weeks of the schedule, so do feel free to talk openly, without worry of spoilers, for any part of the book up to the end of page 168.

in this first part of our reading, we are introduced to our three main characters, their eras, and where they live. we meet their families, and get a feel for the lives they are living.

i hope the following questions will encourage some good discussions. please do not feel limited in any way by these questions – if you have your own questions, please do post them for us to talk about. i provide questions to help us along, but they should not serve to restrict you, or our conversations, in any way.

  1. We have three distinct timelines in this story: Tao who is in China in the year 2098; William who is in England in the year 1851; and George who is in America in 2007. Why do you think Lunde chose to tell her story in this way? Is there one character/timeline you are finding more engaging than the others? if so, why? Does Lunde do a good job distinguishing her characters’ voices and eras?
  2. Can you identify any connections or similarities our three main characters share?
  3. Tao notes that along with the collapse, democracies fell, tech failed, and only books survived. Tao believes that without knowledge we are nothing. Do you agree with this thinking? How would you cope without instant access to information?
  4. Could you imagine any future where schooling for children ends at the age of 8, and they are then sent to work?
  5. What do you make of William’s ‘taking to bed’, and his subsequent decision to get up - because Edmund asked him to do so?
  6. Have you ever spent time with a beekeeper, or with box hives? Do you know much about the threats being faced by the global bee population over the past many years?
  7. What do you think has happened to Wei-Wen?
  8. What are George’s relationship with his wife and son like to you?
  9. Are you getting a strong dystopian feel as you are reading this story? How does Lunde bring this sense into the novel?

Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!!