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The Honey Month

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  322 ratings  ·  71 reviews
A fascinating experiment in literary synesthesia in which the scents, tastes and textures of assorted honeys are transmuted into a wordsmith's cycle of fey mischief. These bewitching poems and stories unwind a fevered world of magic and longing and young women who chance the uncanny and gain wisdom beyond their years.
Paperback, 82 pages
Published August 5th 2010 by Papaveria Press
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Average rating 4.13  · 
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 ·  322 ratings  ·  71 reviews

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Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
This is a delightful little book, quite remarkable. It is based on a very simple idea and on a simple gift. A friend of El-Mohtar’s gave her a gift of some samples of different types of honey. With this gift she wrote a set of tasting notes and reflections for each honey; 28 in all. El-Mohtar is a poet and writer of speculative fiction and she puts her talent to good use. This is an example of one of the tasting notes:

“Day 10 – French Rhododendron Honey
Colour: The colour of sug
Roshani Chokshi
Outstanding. Beautiful, quiet and thoughtful.
May 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, microfiction
A lovely collection of poetry, prose-poetry and microfiction, all inspired by different types of honey. I could practically taste each honey as it was described; experience it as the stories and poems and scraps of myth unfolded. It's a very sensuous and beautiful collection, and for all that it's so slight, it's very worth reading.
Mar 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: for those who would like something a bit different
Such an unusual book. I know I've never read anything like it and maybe never will again. Very sensuous in the telling and describing of the honey, using poetry, stories, self-made myths. It makes this reader want to taste them all, all 28 days of honey, though some definitely entice more than others.
May 21, 2017 rated it liked it

This is one book where I think it helps to have read the blurb before reading. I didn’t, and found myself quite lost for some time. It turns out that the book was inspired by a gift of honey samples; each section is a riff on a different flavour, and I think it really does help to know that at the beginning, because the book consists of lyrical, sensuous writing with little or no narrative, more like a collection of poems with a related theme than anything else.

I love gorgeous wr
Jul 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I first became aware of this collection when a version of "Cranberry Honey" appeared during the Podcastle Flash Fiction contest last year. The writing blew me away, so when I saw Amal at Wiscon35, I got it. story/poem is based on a jar of honey Amal received as a gift sampler. Such a beautiful collection. The poems and stories in this need to be read slowly, aloud--but just under your breath--and preferably barefoot.
Feb 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
I might be a part-time vegan, but I need some of this honey. Particularly the peach honey.

The stories and poems in this collection are short, creative, and lovely. I hope to read more by El-Mohtar.
This is a book worthy of worship, and I encourage you to enjoy its succour in small doses of devotion, one honey at a time. My full review is over at:
Haralambi Markov
This is the most beautiful work of fiction I have read since I had the privilege to read Lisa L Hannett this year and I think this tiny book will stay with me for a long time. The Honey Month is inspired and inspiring. The writing is ethereal and sweet like a flake of a sugar crystal. The book is what art would translate to words and the short stories and poems in here will reform your soul.
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
So beautiful and flavorful and just deliciously synesthetic.
Jul 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, short-stories
I was so delighted by This is How You Lose the Time War I simply had to get my hands on more writing from Amal El-Mohtar, hence me snapping up this book and starting it straight away despite a looming TBR pile. This is an interesting little writing exercise, part poetry and part flash fiction. El-Mohtar samples a different honey every day and then writes an accompanying piece. Offerings range widely in form and style, but all are exceptionally well crafted. Many of the pieces flirt with magical ...more
Carol Evans
Jul 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, favorites
The Honey Month is a book to be savored, a book whose words, filled with longing and love, drip slowly from the page.

It's such a unique book that I've been having trouble writing a review. I loved it, devoured it on the beach one afternoon, but it's difficult to describe. Each honey serves as the inspiration for a bewitching poem or short story, a world full of magic, of young women just learning about life, of bees and flowers, stings and kisses. Sad, hopeful, gorgeous. Pieces unrel
Jul 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who liked the short stories of Catherynne M. Valente and K. J. Bishop
Shows how beautiful prose and poetry can be if you let yourself be inspired by the different senses, taste and smell specifically in this case.

Atmospheric, fantastic, whimsical, sensual, poetic.

My main gripe would be that at some points the stories and poems blend together a bit, but it's a short read, so it does not get boring.

I'll definitely keep an eye out for further work of Amal El-Mohtar. And I don't even particularly like honey.
Fred Langridge
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful - reviews of honey, accompanied with poems or tiny stories.
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
A reread for me, and a project- a deliberate effort to read the collection slowly, one story per day for the month of February. I think it works well this way, though I don't regret having blown through it much faster in my first read either!

This is a wonderful collection of vignettes and poems, with evocative imagery and many meditations on themes of longing, beauty, missed connections and bargains with magic that get their makers perhaps more than they wanted. Each piece has a desc
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
What a beautiful and intoxicating romp into the world of the fae! If old fairy lore says it is dangerous to eat food while in the fairy lands, I'll disregard it in a heart beat to hungrily devour the next poem and live in the world that Mohtar has so lovingly crafted.
Oct 23, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-story, poetry
I so loved Amal El-Mohtar's story in The Starlit Woods that I went searching for other books by her. Sadly, it seems that most of her writing is in the form of short stories for various anthologies, however there was this collection of poems and short stories. I picked it up, and it's quite good. I enjoyed the short stories a bit more then the poetry, but I'm a bit out of practice with poetry.

El-Mohtar was given a sampling of honey and she spread the tastes out over a month. With eac
Jun 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: recs-fantasy
I heard Amal El-Mohtar talk about this at WisCon, and bought it afterwards because I liked the concept. It's a lovely little book, the illustrations in color were a nice surprise, and her gorgeous writing made me very much want to taste all the different honeys.
Aug 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't even like honey and this book has made me want to actually try all these types of honey. Great collection of short stories and poems, but my favorite parts were the descriptions of the honeys.
Apr 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was beautiful and makes me wish to taste every kind of honey there is. Not to mention that the stories/poems are just little tastes, too, just like the honey the author was eating.
Artur Nowrot
Such a sweet short book; perfect for an afternoon, when the sun is golden and ripe. I suppose it lends itself to tasting a little bit each day, but I just ate it in one bite.
Feb 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book is pure bliss, like good honey. I love it so much.
J.T. Glover
Dec 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Great concept for a beautiful book. This is a joyous, thoughtful exploration of the senses, and I can't think of anything like it that I've ever read.
Jul 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Too good to read just once.
Mar 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Captivating, sweetness bringing the taste of honey to life.
“There is fire in his wrists, fire in his sharp-shod walk, fire beneath his fingernails. He is red, redder than rowan berries, for rowan doesn’t bleed as cranberries do, and it is cranberries that he gathers, that he stews and crushes, cranberries in which he steeps his skin. Lacking a Mithrasian bull, he takes them, bathes in them, rinses his hair red-black, seeking transcendence.

It is not white, he says, that is pure. It is not black. It is red, because it moves, it changes, and it keeps itself awhite,
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, spec-fic
I'm finally in a position to start reviewing again! This was an absolutely phenomenal book. It's a collection of very short prose pieces and poems, all speculative, all deliciously beautiful, inspired by El-Mohtar's adventures tasting a honey sampler, one new variety of honey every day for 28 days. Each piece is accompanies with a brief description of the experience of tasting it, rich and well formed in every case.

My favorite pieces included "Lemon Creamed Honey", "Thistle Honey," "
Sadie Slater
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I first heard of Amal El-Mohtar when her short story 'Seasons of Glass and Iron' was nominated for the Hugo Awards a couple of years ago (and eventually won). That was the first year I paid attention to the Hugo short fiction nominations (and how I discovered Uncanny magazine, too); I read all of the nominated stories that were freely available online, and El-Mohtar's was by far my favourite, so I went looking to see what else she'd written. The answer turned out to be mostly short stories in anthologies, b ...more
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
From one of the authors of the fascinating This Is How You Lose the Time War, a very imaginative collection of poems, based on a collection of honey samples that Amal El-Mohtar received as a gift. Each day: a short description of the honey (colour, smell and taste) and a little poem, in prose or in verse, inspired by the honey of the day. This is not a read to rush. Reading a poem is a little like tasting a honey: you get a distinct atmosphere with lush prose to accompany it, often very herbal and s ...more
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had the sweetest honor of meeting Amal recently and, as I have zero chill in the face of poetry+prose, gushed about how deeply moved I was by the Honey Month - to which she very humbly laughed and expressed gratitude. She then remarked to her the collection feels like "juvenilia" when she considers when / where she was when it was written. Me, having even less chill now, immediately launched a sputtering counter-argument to remove that word from association with this wildly unique collection. ...more
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