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A conservationist's deeply personal and fascinating reflection on owning and revitalizing a farm in rural France. A Sting in the Tale, Dave Goulson's account of a lifetime studying bees, was a powerful call to arms for nature lovers everywhere. Brilliantly reviewed, it was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for the best nonfiction book of the year, and debuted the alr A conservationist's deeply personal and fascinating reflection on owning and revitalizing a farm in rural France. A Sting in the Tale, Dave Goulson's account of a lifetime studying bees, was a powerful call to arms for nature lovers everywhere. Brilliantly reviewed, it was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for the best nonfiction book of the year, and debuted the already renowned conservationist's ability to charm and educate, and tell an absorbing story. In A Buzz in the Meadow, Goulson returns to tell the tale of how he bought a derelict farm in the heart of rural France. Over the course of a decade, on thirty-three acres of meadow, he created a place for his beloved bumblebees to thrive. But other creatures live there too, myriad insects of every kind, many of which Goulson had studied before in his career as a biologist. You'll learn how a deathwatch beetle finds its mate, why butterflies have spots on their wings, and see how a real scientist actually conducts his experiments. But this book is also a wake-up call, urging us to cherish and protect life in all its forms. Goulson has that rare ability to persuade you to go out into your garden or local park and observe the natural world. The undiscovered glory that is life in all its forms is there to be discovered. And if we learn to value what we have, perhaps we will find a way to keep it.


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A conservationist's deeply personal and fascinating reflection on owning and revitalizing a farm in rural France. A Sting in the Tale, Dave Goulson's account of a lifetime studying bees, was a powerful call to arms for nature lovers everywhere. Brilliantly reviewed, it was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for the best nonfiction book of the year, and debuted the alr A conservationist's deeply personal and fascinating reflection on owning and revitalizing a farm in rural France. A Sting in the Tale, Dave Goulson's account of a lifetime studying bees, was a powerful call to arms for nature lovers everywhere. Brilliantly reviewed, it was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for the best nonfiction book of the year, and debuted the already renowned conservationist's ability to charm and educate, and tell an absorbing story. In A Buzz in the Meadow, Goulson returns to tell the tale of how he bought a derelict farm in the heart of rural France. Over the course of a decade, on thirty-three acres of meadow, he created a place for his beloved bumblebees to thrive. But other creatures live there too, myriad insects of every kind, many of which Goulson had studied before in his career as a biologist. You'll learn how a deathwatch beetle finds its mate, why butterflies have spots on their wings, and see how a real scientist actually conducts his experiments. But this book is also a wake-up call, urging us to cherish and protect life in all its forms. Goulson has that rare ability to persuade you to go out into your garden or local park and observe the natural world. The undiscovered glory that is life in all its forms is there to be discovered. And if we learn to value what we have, perhaps we will find a way to keep it.

30 review for A Buzz in the Meadow: The Natural History of a French Farm

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tanja Berg

    "Conservation is not just about Javan rhinos and snow leopards; it is just as much about bees and beetles, flowers and flies, bats and bugs." I read my first Dave Goulson book "A Sting in the tale" sometime in the fall of 2016. I was a this time already a rather inspired hobby gardner, with a strong preferance for flowers and plants that drew bumblebees and butterflies. However, this was limited to potted plants on my terrace. Goulson's book inspired me to look at the rest of the plot. I have a s "Conservation is not just about Javan rhinos and snow leopards; it is just as much about bees and beetles, flowers and flies, bats and bugs." I read my first Dave Goulson book "A Sting in the tale" sometime in the fall of 2016. I was a this time already a rather inspired hobby gardner, with a strong preferance for flowers and plants that drew bumblebees and butterflies. However, this was limited to potted plants on my terrace. Goulson's book inspired me to look at the rest of the plot. I have a small patch of land, 18 meters by 5, which is very steep. On the left side, I also have my neighbor's untouched plot of equal size. For several years, I had been cutting the grass on my neighbor's plot and my own every two weeks. Now I do it once a year. Last year I let it grow and cut it just once, in August. This was rather labor intensive, I had to use a scythe. It was worth it though. Instead of having just a few potted plants, I now had a tiny little meadow island. I counted at least ten different species of bumblebees one day in July, many that I had never seen before. I gather there are a couple of reasons for my instant success. One, the plot has never been fertilized - there has never been a lawn. Two, despite the avid cutting, many flowering plants - particularly red clover - had already established themselves. So this is my tiny little effort for biodiversity. I cannot change the world, but I can choose what I do with my plot of land. For the coming season, I have a new concern. "In the mid-1990s a new class of insecticide was introduced. Known as neonictoinoids, they are synthetic variants of nicotine. They block open insect nerve-receptors, thus attacking the insect nervous system and brain, and are phenomenally toxic in tiny amounts. Neonices have a major advantage over most of the insetcicides in that they are systemic. They can be applied as a seed dressing before the crop is sown, and the germinating seedling absorbs the the chemical, which spread through the plant." Neonics cause bees and insects to become disoriented. This is one of the reasons that bee colonies are collapsing. Neonics do not kill outright, but a bee that cannot find its nest is a dead bee. In an experiment performed by Dave Goulson himself, the number of new bumblebee queens in nests exposed to neonics was 85% lower than in unexposed nests. This is staggering. Now wonder our pollinators are disappearing. This is not just a problem for bees, obviously. I recall driving at the end of the 1990's and the insects hitting the windshield was incessant and there was always a coating of goo in summer that was incredibly difficult to remove. Insects hitting the windshield these days are few and far between. The insect population as a whole is starting to collapse, and this is the basis of the ecological food chain. My deep concern now is whether the flowers I buy rather than grow myselves, have been exposed to neonics. Am I inadvertedly poisoning the very creatures I am trying to help? At the moment I am inclined to home-grow all potted flowers from ecological seeds - but this is incredibly work intensive for the ones that need rearing from February to flower in July. What I do with pests on my precious hand-reared plants? I either leave them or I kill them manually. I have not used any poison, whether weed or insect killer, for many years. We are living in the 6th exctinction. We are using more resources than the Earth has to offer and we are destroying the ecological balance. We do not know how many species we need to have a world that works like we are used to. I think we are heading for a disaster of such a monumental scale that it will become obvious in my lifetime. This book is mostly optimistic though. Dave Goulson is funny and clever and does what he can with the resources he has. You should to. Read him to be inspired. I was. I now happily annoy my neighbors by letting nearly 200 square meters grow wild in a decidedly suburban area.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    As Goulson did in his book about bees, A Sting in the Tale, he treats readers like friends he is taking on a gentle tour to have everyday encounters with nature. The low-key, humorous anecdotes are reminiscent of the writings of Gerald Durrell, but – like Durrell – Goulson has a serious environmental agenda. By incorporating details of his own academic research as well as projects he’s overseen, Goulson makes science sound exciting. Some of the most amusing chapters are about the sexual habits o As Goulson did in his book about bees, A Sting in the Tale, he treats readers like friends he is taking on a gentle tour to have everyday encounters with nature. The low-key, humorous anecdotes are reminiscent of the writings of Gerald Durrell, but – like Durrell – Goulson has a serious environmental agenda. By incorporating details of his own academic research as well as projects he’s overseen, Goulson makes science sound exciting. Some of the most amusing chapters are about the sexual habits of insects and plants. This is less focused than his previous book, though, and repeats some of the material. The main draw, as always, is Goulson’s infectious enthusiasm and excellent explanations of science. See my full review at Nudge.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    A decade ago Goulson decided to buy a derelict farm deep in the French countryside with 33 acres of land so he could realise the dream of creating a place for his beloved bumblebees to live and thrive. But as he works on the farm and the land he comes to realise there is a lot more going on in what looks on the surface to be a simple meadow. He writes about how everything is interconnected, from the way that the plants attract pollinators, the sheer numbers and variety of insects that fulfil a sp A decade ago Goulson decided to buy a derelict farm deep in the French countryside with 33 acres of land so he could realise the dream of creating a place for his beloved bumblebees to live and thrive. But as he works on the farm and the land he comes to realise there is a lot more going on in what looks on the surface to be a simple meadow. He writes about how everything is interconnected, from the way that the plants attract pollinators, the sheer numbers and variety of insects that fulfil a specific purpose and the way that this affect all the other animals up the food chain. In this he has anecdotes about bedbugs, wasps and butterflies. But in this he also has a wake up call for us. The latest pesticide, neonics, has been passed as safe by all the authorities, but follow some original research that he did, and was published in Nature, he is questioning the very fact they should be available. There pervasiveness in the modern farms is affecting all insect life, from the good and the bad, and there is no real proof that they do increase yields. Scary stuff. Written with his usual humour and wit, this is a book of the time, and its conclusions should be acted upon.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Penny

    Funny, clever, learned and very thought provoking about the damage we are doing to our planet. The chapter about the proliferation of flies directly linked to two weekly refuse collections (a hot topic right now in England) was extremely worrying. A book that will make me think differently (and look differently) at the insects in my garden - and occasionally in my home, even if it is just an annoying house fly. Learnt so much - but as Goulson says, we are only merely scratching the surface of all Funny, clever, learned and very thought provoking about the damage we are doing to our planet. The chapter about the proliferation of flies directly linked to two weekly refuse collections (a hot topic right now in England) was extremely worrying. A book that will make me think differently (and look differently) at the insects in my garden - and occasionally in my home, even if it is just an annoying house fly. Learnt so much - but as Goulson says, we are only merely scratching the surface of all there is to know.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dorine

    Rated 4.5 - I've included pictures of bees in my garden within this review at my new blog, TheZestQuest.com. Enjoy :) 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 pri Rated 4.5 - I've included pictures of bees in my garden within this review at my new blog, TheZestQuest.com. Enjoy :) 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.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    After reading A Sting in the Tale last month I was so keen to read the next book by Dave Goulson. In this one he talks about the plethora of wildlife discovered in the meadow he owns. I feel like Goulson's enthusiasm is so infectious and there were times that I wanted to turn my backyard into a giant pond and wildlife hub. The book is just so interesting and there are so many good points bought up about conservation and preserving what we have to enjoy it while it's here and in the future. I fee After reading A Sting in the Tale last month I was so keen to read the next book by Dave Goulson. In this one he talks about the plethora of wildlife discovered in the meadow he owns. I feel like Goulson's enthusiasm is so infectious and there were times that I wanted to turn my backyard into a giant pond and wildlife hub. The book is just so interesting and there are so many good points bought up about conservation and preserving what we have to enjoy it while it's here and in the future. I feel as though everyone should read this and A Sting in the Tale. They are so good. I'm definitely keen to pick up Bee Quest, Goulson's third book, very soon.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

    A 3.5. I should probably round up because the message is important: we need to save fauna and their habitat by changing all kinds of human behavior , including the use of neonic pesticides, destroying swaths of wildland, global warming etc. The biologist author charms you first with several chapters about the rural property he buys in Charente, France, to create a small nature preserve and to run experiments on preserving and repairing habitat. Amusing anecdotes, many experiments with good backg A 3.5. I should probably round up because the message is important: we need to save fauna and their habitat by changing all kinds of human behavior , including the use of neonic pesticides, destroying swaths of wildland, global warming etc. The biologist author charms you first with several chapters about the rural property he buys in Charente, France, to create a small nature preserve and to run experiments on preserving and repairing habitat. Amusing anecdotes, many experiments with good background, and gradual introduction of the destruction we're wreaking, with experimental support.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Danny

    An interesting, but overlong look at insects and other random species, the book is part natural history, part memoir, and a very convincing appeal to drastic and immediate conservation. I lost interest in the book a few times, and I was surprised by how unsophisticated and random some of the scientific methods were that were used to gather data of various species of insects discussed. But the very beginning and very end of the book were the payoffs. I deeply believe that much more urgent conserv An interesting, but overlong look at insects and other random species, the book is part natural history, part memoir, and a very convincing appeal to drastic and immediate conservation. I lost interest in the book a few times, and I was surprised by how unsophisticated and random some of the scientific methods were that were used to gather data of various species of insects discussed. But the very beginning and very end of the book were the payoffs. I deeply believe that much more urgent conservation is needed in order to heal and sustain our planet and its creatures, and Goulson makes a great case for why this need is even more urgent than many people would admit. An important book too often hidden in the mass of unimportant details.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Keen

    2.5 Stars! “If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.” Dragonflies have the largest eyes in the insect world, with up to 30,000 facets and apparently cannibalism among mating mantises isn’t quite as common as popular culture would have us believe. I enjoyed many of the memorable little lines in here, such as “Each flower is both an adve 2.5 Stars! “If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.” Dragonflies have the largest eyes in the insect world, with up to 30,000 facets and apparently cannibalism among mating mantises isn’t quite as common as popular culture would have us believe. I enjoyed many of the memorable little lines in here, such as “Each flower is both an advert and a trading platform.” Oh and did you know that more than 100 human diseases are spread by Musca domestica or house flies, including polio, hepatitis, cholera, typhoid and anthrax. Apparently they are attracted to black spots. This certainly contained its share of offbeat charms, and meaty facts and trivia, but compared to its predecessor this is actually a pretty dull and lifeless affair. Goulson is infinitely likeable, but alas the same can’t always be said for his prose and I would say that this is more likely to appeal to academics or specialists than the casual reader.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Aimée

    4.5 stars

  11. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Wagner

    A charming introduction to the life of insects--and the terrible challenges they face in the Anthropocene.

  12. 4 out of 5

    RitaSkeeter

    That awkward moment when you realise you returned the book to the library before writing down all the quotes you had marked with sticky notes... I read The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History last year. It was a bit of frenzied race around the world looking at different species that didn't gel everything together in the hard hitting argument it should have. I'm concerned it may have had the opposite effect of that intended. I'm team enlightened when it comes to climate change, but this book ma That awkward moment when you realise you returned the book to the library before writing down all the quotes you had marked with sticky notes... I read The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History last year. It was a bit of frenzied race around the world looking at different species that didn't gel everything together in the hard hitting argument it should have. I'm concerned it may have had the opposite effect of that intended. I'm team enlightened when it comes to climate change, but this book made me feel panic so that I just wanted to delete it and move on. I wonder if those on team 'non-enlightened' would have seen it as being hysterical. This book, A Buzz in the Meadow , is the quieter cousin of the above book. Goulson doesn't rush helter skelter around the globe looking for the next sexy animal facing extinction. Rather Goulson gently nudges us towards his argument with his passion for... creepy crawlies. Now Goulson had a rather difficult task ahead of him because *ahem* I hate creepy crawlies. Especially eight legged ones. And even MORE especially if they're the eight legged redback spiders who took up residence in my patio. So here's your challenge, Goulson, should you choose to accept it. Can you convert me to caring about insects, bugs, arachnids, and so on enough so that I stop waging war on the redbacks? I found this a very peaceful book. I dipped in and out of it over a few weeks, and always looked forward to the next chapter. Goulson's enthusiasm, his passion, are so infectious you can't help but catch it from him. And here's something else - the guy is funny. Really funny. His telling of his attempts to have aquarium fish as a child; I feel sorry for the fish, but the tale is funny. But nothing quite meets the hilarity of his attempts to create a pond, only to be foiled at every turn by a mole. Goulsen's book alternates chapters between his rambles on his French farm, with anecdotes of his life and what he has learnt there, with chapters that provide more detail about different species, experiments he has carried out and so on. Given the concern around bees and their hives disappearing, I found the chapters on this very informative. I was horrified at migratory bee keeping in the USA. I couldn't believe it could possibly be true so I Wikipedia'd it (Wikipedia is always right, doncha know). I think Goulson made some fatal errors in his experiment on bees. The reason the bees are disappearing is nothing to do with neonics at all, and everything to do with the migratory beekeeping. The poor bees are just bloody exhausted and have flown down to the Caribbean for some R&R. Goluson's book builds to a strong environmental message that we need to heed. And this is where I wish I had remember to jot down the quotes before returning the book. Paraphrasing, Goulson says that if the panda became extinct it would be a very sad day for us (presumably for the pandas as well), but other than perhaps a little more bamboo growing it wouldn't have any great impact on the eco-system. Insects are a different matter though. Insects are integral to the eco-system, and without them - there is no us. We need insects. Just one small, teensy weensy thing though Dave (you don't mind if I call you Dave do you?). I'm a born and bred Tasmanian (and still here) and I AIN'T NEVER heard a thylacine referred to as a Tasmanian Wolf. It's a Tasmanian Tiger, cos it's got stripes you see. Well, it did until we made it extinct. Anyways, I consulted my bible (Wikipedia) who - much to my shock and horror - suggests that yes, thylacine are sometimes known as Tasmanian Wolves. So all that stuff I said above about how Wikipedia is never wrong? Yeah, I'm taking that back. Did Goulson impress me enough so that I'll stop killing the redbacks? I'm sorry Dave, but no. THOSE SUCKERS ARE DEADLY Y'KNOW. But here's something - I do feel guilty. So that's a start. Other creepies - I'm happy to assist their relocation away from me. Even the Huntsmen.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mike Sumner

    A Buzz in the Meadow is a captivating look at our natural world through the eyes of Dave Goulson, who I know better as the founder of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, that august body, of which I am a member. In 2003 DG bought a derelict farm in the heart of rural France, together with 33 acres of surrounding meadow. Over the course of a decade he created a place for his beloved bumblebees to thrive along with myriad insects of every kind. A significant part of the book contains his own researc A Buzz in the Meadow is a captivating look at our natural world through the eyes of Dave Goulson, who I know better as the founder of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, that august body, of which I am a member. In 2003 DG bought a derelict farm in the heart of rural France, together with 33 acres of surrounding meadow. Over the course of a decade he created a place for his beloved bumblebees to thrive along with myriad insects of every kind. A significant part of the book contains his own research, alongside that of other scientists, into the threat posed by the use of neonicotinoids as pesticides and their devastating affect on bee populations around the world, something that the giant, multi-national manufacturer of agrochemicals, Bayer, widely disputes. Only to be expected as they resolutely defend a US$4 billion market. Well, neonicotinoid pesticides do cause harm to bees and I urge everyone to read this book. It is inspiring and should encourage everyone to cherish what we have. It illustrates what wonders we stand to lose if we do not change our ways. Biodiversity matters, in all shapes and forms and DG's farm, Chez Nauche, is an island where nature can thrive; places like this though are too few and far between. A Buzz in the Meadow provides a real insight to our natural world and a call to arms for nature-lovers everywhere.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    This book is a delight from beginning to end. The catalyst for writing it is his home in the Charente, bought so he could provide home, in the form of an extensive meadow, to a huge variety of wildlife, specifically insects. This is no Aga saga of a Brit in France, but a mixture of reminiscence, hard scientific fact, vivid stories of his own experiments and research, and the work of others. It's a page turner and a tale well told with humour, and an eye for the telling detail. I'm no scientist, This book is a delight from beginning to end. The catalyst for writing it is his home in the Charente, bought so he could provide home, in the form of an extensive meadow, to a huge variety of wildlife, specifically insects. This is no Aga saga of a Brit in France, but a mixture of reminiscence, hard scientific fact, vivid stories of his own experiments and research, and the work of others. It's a page turner and a tale well told with humour, and an eye for the telling detail. I'm no scientist, but I was absorbed from start to finish. His concluding message is a serious one: through ignorance, through folly, the human race risks destroying natural systems and eroding biodiversity.... and thereby itself. This is the really important message. But the other is that the world of insects and other small 'bugs' is entrancing and intriguing. Notice what we have beneath our feet and at the bottom of the garden!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Emmkay

    I loved Goulson's first book, A Sting in the Tail, which was about bees. I had a harder time with this second book. It's sort of about his efforts to create a wildflower-rich meadow at his French farmhouse, with observations about biodiversity and a call to action about preserving it. That's great, but it was a very musing-y, diffuse kind of book with lots of lengthy asides. I enjoy that style when I find the asides interesting, but here I had a hard time focusing. Also, insect sex squicks me ou I loved Goulson's first book, A Sting in the Tail, which was about bees. I had a harder time with this second book. It's sort of about his efforts to create a wildflower-rich meadow at his French farmhouse, with observations about biodiversity and a call to action about preserving it. That's great, but it was a very musing-y, diffuse kind of book with lots of lengthy asides. I enjoy that style when I find the asides interesting, but here I had a hard time focusing. Also, insect sex squicks me out (while plant sex bores me). I was happy to learn more about biodiversity and the threats to it, including neonics.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Anwen

    A delightful miscellany, more a chatty memoir of the ten acres of land bought in France by the author, with added insects and other wildlife thrown in than a traditional wildfe book, every page contains an erudite gem. I learnt a lt about insect reproduction (I am eminently grateful I am not a female brown meadow butterfly) and life. As a billogist, references to field study took me back to my student years and tinted certain pages with a roseate glow. Fascinating and readable. A must for any na A delightful miscellany, more a chatty memoir of the ten acres of land bought in France by the author, with added insects and other wildlife thrown in than a traditional wildfe book, every page contains an erudite gem. I learnt a lt about insect reproduction (I am eminently grateful I am not a female brown meadow butterfly) and life. As a billogist, references to field study took me back to my student years and tinted certain pages with a roseate glow. Fascinating and readable. A must for any naturalist.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Loved this book! I thought it was going to be a book about gardening in France. It was not. I didn't think I was in the mood to read a book about bugs but I guess I was. Very nice nature writing. The last section was powerful and inspiring and before the book I was buying 75% of my food as organic, now I am committed to 100% organic diet. Highly recommended for gardeners, nature lovers and non-fiction science readers.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dan Nortman

    Decent read but nothing new for an entomologist.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lucy

    A wonder to read; this book is detailed in its description, yet deliciously compact (packs a punch) in its explanations. My one snippet of advice to give for you to get the most out of this book is this: have a search engine at the ready. When Goulson mentions the common/scientific names of various species he and/or others have observed or studied, pop the name into Google and you'll see photos of what they saw. You're effectively going on a personalised safari through Chez Nauche (Goulson's wil A wonder to read; this book is detailed in its description, yet deliciously compact (packs a punch) in its explanations. My one snippet of advice to give for you to get the most out of this book is this: have a search engine at the ready. When Goulson mentions the common/scientific names of various species he and/or others have observed or studied, pop the name into Google and you'll see photos of what they saw. You're effectively going on a personalised safari through Chez Nauche (Goulson's wildflower meadow in rural France) at different times of day and points in time, back to England to catch some glimpses of what originally inspired Goulson's interest in animals and ecology from an early age - and beyond, then finally towards the end of the book you'll settle down around a campfire to hear the history of human colonisation and what it has generally meant for plants, other animals, and soil productivity over thousands of years. You will learn a lot, laugh a lot, and hopefully adopt a greater appreciation for all life on earth. Their countless interactions with each other and the environment are paramount for our continued survival as a species after all. This book serves as a much-needed wake up call.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    A lovely book about the wildlife found on a small French farm. It was enchanting and delightful. Though the idea of mice and dormice in the house gave me the willies. A charming read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Alberto Simal

    Just started, but I'm ecstatic! This guy can write!! His description of the cottage is a rollercoaster of delights. I can't wait to finish work and get into my commute to keep reading! UPDATE: just finished reading it. So sad. The end of the book is a plea to all humanity to stop destroying natural habitats, and a warning to what WILL befall us. I like the fact that his injunction to act does not come with the promise of deliverance: it's already too late, and we've got it coming. I am sorry for Just started, but I'm ecstatic! This guy can write!! His description of the cottage is a rollercoaster of delights. I can't wait to finish work and get into my commute to keep reading! UPDATE: just finished reading it. So sad. The end of the book is a plea to all humanity to stop destroying natural habitats, and a warning to what WILL befall us. I like the fact that his injunction to act does not come with the promise of deliverance: it's already too late, and we've got it coming. I am sorry for your children, people. But you'll keep squandering whatever is left, of course... I liked the author's style and choice of subjects. I have also purchased his previous book, A Sting in the Tale, and will start it right away!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ginni

    This follows on from 'A Sting in the Tale', and the main section of the book tells of Goulson's French farm where he has been creating a wild flower meadow over some years, to encourage bees and other wildlife. Goulson is Professor of Biological Sciences at Sussex University, but this is not a dry scientific account. I didn't find it quite as readable as his first book, which had more of an autobiographical element. However, it is still fascinating and, although he doesn't flinch from explaining This follows on from 'A Sting in the Tale', and the main section of the book tells of Goulson's French farm where he has been creating a wild flower meadow over some years, to encourage bees and other wildlife. Goulson is Professor of Biological Sciences at Sussex University, but this is not a dry scientific account. I didn't find it quite as readable as his first book, which had more of an autobiographical element. However, it is still fascinating and, although he doesn't flinch from explaining insect and plant genetics, he does so in a very accessible way. You may find out more than you wish to know about the life cycle and feeding habits of the house fly in the chapter 'Filthy Flies', and also marvel at this scientist who decides not treat his farm's roof timbers with insecticide because he doesn't want to destroy the increasingly rare death-watch beetle that lives there. The third part of the book, 'Unravelling the Tapestry', is a must read for anyone wanting information 'from the horse's mouth' concerning Colony Collapse Disorder (the mysterious disappearance of entire hives of bees in the USA), the use and effects of neonicotinoids (insecticides used world-wide, and often shortened to 'neonics'), and the value or otherwise of relying on isolated pockets of habitat to conserve wildlife. Thoroughly recommended.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Will

    :O Loved it! A must read for everyone ( I say this about quite a lot of books ), but this is so important, to understand the basic principles of what is happening in the world, of our impacts present and future.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Stevenson Joshua Hill

    I liked the topic and message but it began to drag

  25. 5 out of 5

    Brecht Van Der Meulen

    Interesting book for sure! but what i missed are images and pictures. I wanted to see how some creatures look like so I can start exploring :)

  26. 5 out of 5

    Katharine

    A Buzz in the Meadow by Dave Goulson is a three-distinct-part book for nature and botany lovers. The first section describes different flora and fauna (mostly insects) that can be found on a large former-farm that the author purchased in the middle of France. If you are an insect or science nerd (like me), these chapters are both incredibly entertaining and educational. If you are hoping for cute stories or romantic descriptions, don't even think about it. You will go to sleep within 10 pages. T A Buzz in the Meadow by Dave Goulson is a three-distinct-part book for nature and botany lovers. The first section describes different flora and fauna (mostly insects) that can be found on a large former-farm that the author purchased in the middle of France. If you are an insect or science nerd (like me), these chapters are both incredibly entertaining and educational. If you are hoping for cute stories or romantic descriptions, don't even think about it. You will go to sleep within 10 pages. There are scientific terms tossed about on every page, including intimate descriptions of eating, sleeping, mating, and dying of all manner of insects (After all, the author spent 2 years catching, drawing dots on or wiping dots off of, and then releasing Meadow Brown butterflies to determine how the spots affected the butterflies' survival and reproduction. Not many have that much patience.) The second section of the book discusses (again in relatively scientific fashion) how the different plant and animal species interact with each other. The third section discusses in very stark language how human activity is affecting the flora and fauna of the author's French farm, his homeland in Britain and throughout the world. It is a cry for help to people and a reminder that it is not just polar bears who need saving. We may not like bugs, but they are essential to the chain that ensures our survival. If you think you would really like being taken on a tour of a park with a Professor of Botany instead of a romance novel writer, this book is 100% for you. If not, the Fiction shelves are to your left.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Colin

    I have a general interest in natural history and am drawn to books that explain complex scientific concepts in terms that a non-specialist can grasp. Dave Goulson is an academic (he is professor of Biological Sciences at Sussex University) with a reputation for writing high quality popular science books about his specialism - insects and insect ecology. What drew me to this book in particular was the exquisite cover design featuring beautiful hand painted butterflies, moths, beetles and bugs. In I have a general interest in natural history and am drawn to books that explain complex scientific concepts in terms that a non-specialist can grasp. Dave Goulson is an academic (he is professor of Biological Sciences at Sussex University) with a reputation for writing high quality popular science books about his specialism - insects and insect ecology. What drew me to this book in particular was the exquisite cover design featuring beautiful hand painted butterflies, moths, beetles and bugs. In it, he relates the story of his purchase of a run down French farm and his attempt to turn it in to an environment which can sustain a rich population of insects and other flora and fauna. The final third of the book focuses on the threats that the modern world poses to insects and the impact their potential loss will have on our own lives. His chapter on the impact of neonicitinoid pesticides (for which he carried out much of the original research) is a model of explaining complex science for a general reader and makes for very chilling reading.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Maarika Vaara

    This book is charming indeed, being written with warmth, humour and scientific precision at the same time. The author is Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Sussex, and his scientific work concentrates e.g. on bumblebees. In this book he describes life at his farm Chez Nauche in France and many curious incidents of everyday life there, but the book also covers more serious subjects including the ongoing exploitation of nature, the accelerating rate of extinction and the disappe This book is charming indeed, being written with warmth, humour and scientific precision at the same time. The author is Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Sussex, and his scientific work concentrates e.g. on bumblebees. In this book he describes life at his farm Chez Nauche in France and many curious incidents of everyday life there, but the book also covers more serious subjects including the ongoing exploitation of nature, the accelerating rate of extinction and the disappearance of bees. The very last chapters evoke alarm and concern indeed. What can we do then? Professor Goulson suggests us to respect and cherish nature, even the most annoying buzzing fly, and to promote the diversity of nature around us. So, why not leave a little more wild flowers like bumblebee-loved clover in the garden instead of pulling away all "weed", and why not make a "hotel" for insects, perhaps? I was delighted to read this book and in the future I will certainly read the writer´s other books, too.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Corinne

    The tone and style of the book reminded me of one of my all-time favorites, Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. The science nerd in me loved all of the stories that are seamlessly woven together. I had to skim Part 3 to avoid being depressed; it’s like watching Planet Earth and marveling at nature just to find out how you’re helping to destroy it. But I genuinely loved this book. “Every living thing in the meadow - be it beautiful, mundane, gruesome or obscure - is linked to everythin The tone and style of the book reminded me of one of my all-time favorites, Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. The science nerd in me loved all of the stories that are seamlessly woven together. I had to skim Part 3 to avoid being depressed; it’s like watching Planet Earth and marveling at nature just to find out how you’re helping to destroy it. But I genuinely loved this book. “Every living thing in the meadow - be it beautiful, mundane, gruesome or obscure - is linked to everything else, by just a few degrees of separation. The complexity of these myriad interactions is far beyond our ability to understand, and perhaps it is both arrogant and futile even to try. Maybe we should simply be happy that it is so, and try not to mess it all up too much.” - Dave Goulson

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cara

    I loved this book, as well as his first book, A Sting in the Tale. Anyone who cares about the planet should read his two books, as they address the crucial role that insects play in the ecology of the Earth, especially with the news of the insect apocalypse which has been in the news lately. This book tries to find some answers as to why this catastrophic decline in the insect population is taking place, and the news is not good. Neonicotinoids appear to be just one factor. Having read both book I loved this book, as well as his first book, A Sting in the Tale. Anyone who cares about the planet should read his two books, as they address the crucial role that insects play in the ecology of the Earth, especially with the news of the insect apocalypse which has been in the news lately. This book tries to find some answers as to why this catastrophic decline in the insect population is taking place, and the news is not good. Neonicotinoids appear to be just one factor. Having read both books, I am changing how I garden my small patch on Earth, and will be doing everything I can to provide for the insects with whom I co-habit this earth. Our own survival depends upon it.

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