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The Honey Spinner

(Sandra Markle's Science Discoveries)

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  147 ratings  ·  30 reviews
This engaging narrative non-fiction tale follows Grace Pundyk’s journey from the wild Yemeni deserts to the jungles of Borneo, and from Russia to Tasmania’s leatherwood forests, with many other honey-producing destinations in between. Grace follows the sticky trail of this ancient food, and the people who make their living from it, to uncover the truth behind this ‘food of ...more
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published March 23rd 2011 by Pier 9 (first published January 1st 2008)
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Average rating 3.44  · 
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 ·  147 ratings  ·  30 reviews

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Feb 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a honey lover I really enjoyed this book. If you enjoy honey...and learning new things...I'd recommend this book. LOVED the pictures in the middle too!
Charity Finnestad
May 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You'll be spreading it on everything you eat after reading this book. Loved it!
Jordyn Maloney
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book for my writing class in college and it was a very interesting read, that before this class I had no idea of this problem going on. The book talks about prevalent and important problems that occur in society today on topic that has no real voice. A lot of the writing goes to a deeper level, that does make it a little harder to read and get into, but covers a very prominent issue. The author gets into depth about an ongoing bee phenomenon known as CCD (colony collapse disorder, ...more
May 28, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Abandoning this, unfortunately. Between the childish font and the inability of the author to be objective, I couldn’t stand it anymore. When visiting Yemen, she discusses how she made one of her hosts to promise her he would educate his daughters...not saying I disagree with educating women but...the audacity and the complete lack of relevance? Unreal. Spare me the White Savior narrative and tell me about honey. I’ll search for another book that is capable of the latter, since this one is not.
Deborah J.
May 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sweeeeet! What a great way to do travel-writing; in pursuit of the various honeys of the world and conducting interviews about the plight of the mamy species of bees.
I buy honey in every country I visit - without really knowing why - and this book was a thrill for me to read! It's chock full of great stories as well as important facts about our little 'busy bodies', the bees.
Jan 14, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
I'm so disappointed. I really REALLY wanted to like this book. I found it too fragmented. I thought there were so many different tangents and not enough substance that I lost interest about half of the way through it.
Jan 31, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-thought
This was an interesting global journey attempting to piece together a comprehensive picture of the honey market in the beginning of the 21st century. I enjoyed the travelogue format of the book, with the author doing a good job mixing the detailed research constituting the bulk of the investigation with honest descriptions of her experiences visiting such diverse places as Yemen, Australia, New Zealand, Borneo, Britain, Italy, Russia, Turkey, United States and China. The chapter on her home ...more
Sep 15, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I learned some things about bees, honey, and its international trade, and will be paying a little more attention to where the honey I buy originates and what’s really in the jar. However, this book is mostly the author’s travelogue, and not an overly interesting one at that. If she gained something substantial or revolutionary from her journey, she neglected to share. Some sections (countries) were somewhat interesting, but on any number of occasions I found myself saying “OK, 30 pages… One ...more
Mar 30, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's your standard Michael Pollan meets Anthony Bourdain meets Vegetable, Animal, Miracle but all about honey and bees and their eventually demise (which could ultimately mean our eventual demise). There are some interesting tidbits, but nothing had me really pity the bees. I wanted to see more of the dark side of the honey industry (like in Fast Food Nation) to really hate the big bag honey corporations and do what all these books beg you to do - buy local, buy organic. Instead the author just ...more
Elise Bee
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-to-a-friend
Prior to reading this book I thought that honey only came in that little bear-shaped bottle from the grocery store. Follow Grace Pundyk in her journey across Yemen, Australia, New Zealand, Borneo, Russia, UK, Italy, Turkey, US and China in search of each country's honey secrets. She has a great way of explaining the place and taste, so good that I added a couple of countries to my bucket list. Even though this book was published in 2010, I found it interesting to read about the colony collapse ...more
Ryan Sanders
If you're wanting to learn about honey and take a trip around the world this book is for you. Grace Pundyk takes you from Tasmania, to Australia, the US, China, Borneo, and other exotic locales on the hunt for honey and the intriguing little insects that make it. Unfortunately, the second part of this book led to believe there would be more on Colony Collapse Disorder in this. There wasn't much. But, it was enjoyable. And if you want to experience other cultures, see what other kinds of honeys ...more
I was really really excited to read this book, I love bees and honey and thought it was a great concept. Turns out in practice...not so much. Got a little preachy and like a travel diary on me. Yes, it was great that she went on this trip, but I would have liked her to explain things more in depth. Explain the trade systems, and the way everything integrates. Personal stories are great, but I would have liked a lot more facts and a better balance of interviews. The story felt very one sided to ...more
Oct 13, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Primarily a fiction reader who doesn't eat honey, I may just be converted. Delving into the intricacies of honey production around the world, Pundyk allows readers to vicariously experience the joys and frustrations of her travels without neglecting the informational element. More notably, her passion for the ancient tradition of beekeeping and the "liquid gold" it produces is provocative and entirely contagious. The only drawback is that the book did lack a little of the rosy sheen so ...more
Oct 08, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
To quote the recommendation I got for this book: "It's an interesting subject, she's just not a very good writer"-- pretty much sums it up. What should have been fascinating, especially since, to me, bees are tiny fuzzy golden gods and honey is the nectar of our love, was reduced to some stories from a bunch of different countries that all told me pretty much the same things about honey and its production, too much about the author, and painted shallow, inconsequential tales of all the rest of ...more
Jun 01, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, she is a good writer, but not a compelling one. This book received a great deal of press and I fell for it. It is more a memoir or travel book, and less a study of the bee crisis. If you are new to this topic, this book is a good starting point, especially as it concerns worldwide production. But to learn in depth, try Sue Hubbell or Holley Bishop.
Jul 05, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As much (or more?) about travel/culture as honey. I enjoyed it, but it started to feel redundant in the middle. I got restless. But then it picked up for me again at the end in the chapters about the U.S. and China, not so much because of any great insights or information about honey, but because of the commentary on food systems generally in those countries.
Alice Sujata
I first heard about this book on The Diane Rehm Show and bought it the same day.

Her detailed accounts of following bee keepers around the world gives the reader a broader view of the culture, market, and ecology of the countries she visited.
I wish she had saved the chapter on Yemen for last. It was the most exciting.
David Ward
The Honey Trail: In Pursuit of Liquid Gold and Vanishing Bees by Grace Pundyk (St. Martin’s Press 2008) (638.16). This is an interesting tale of honey production and bee populations worldwide. It considers the effect of globalization, deforestation, the global food web, and climate change on honeybees and the ensuing production of honey. My rating: 4/10, finished 10/1/2010.
Author did a ton of research and went out of her way to really learn not only about the types of honey, but the issues linked with the honey industry. The author discovers that she is not always welcomed and has some unpleasant experiences at various airports.
Oct 08, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, food
Recalled by the library before I could finish it, but the book was losing steam for me at that point, anyway. Really interesting story and Pundyk did a ton of travel research, I just wish the book had been compressed to 2/3rds of its length.
Oct 26, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I were to travel around, finding honey, it would be like this...a little haphazard, sometimes ridiculous. Except I'd be married to Ishmael the Turk, instead of Gerhardt the German. And my obsession with bees continues...
Nov 21, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I think I've given up on finishing this book. I have not found it interesting enough....
Mar 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really interesting and well-written. Covers the author's travels learning about native bees and honey production in disparate parts of the world.
Only vaguely interesting not compelling. Less about bees than the author's travels. More about her than honey. Yawn, I put it down after 100 or so pages.
Aug 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Simple language for non-native speakers like me. Felt like i was with the writer in her juorney. I have learnt a lot about honey and bees.
Feb 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love it so far, wonderful reading how different countries handle the commodity of honey and the bees.
May 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting look at global honey production; makes you want to run out and save the bees, even if you don't care for honey.
A book that greatly convinces how CCD is effecting us and our world
Like many memoirs, this is pretty self-indulgent. In pursuit of special honeys, Pundyk travels the earth, to talk honey trade policy, visit beekeepers, and above all, taste honey. Meh.
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