We here at Olivia Waite like to think we’ve learned a lot from romance novels over the years. And one of our recent favorites, Carla Kelly’s Beau Crusoe, turned out to be more accurate than we knew at the time.
Behold: land crabs!
This particular land crab lives in the Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor in the British Virgin Islands. (That’s the West Indies, to you historical types.) That hole he’s sitting in is actually his home. Normally I love crabs and find them fascinating — not to mention delicious — but there is something about watching a crab the size of your face scurry sideways into a hole in the ground that is just creepy as all hell. There is the unmistakeable impression that the crab is only waiting until your back is turned and then — attack!
In sum: we should all read (and write!) more good romance novels with critters that are both real and terrifying.
We here at Olivia Waite were lucky enough to borrow an early arc of Jenny Lawson’s upcoming memoir, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (which you really should pre-order right here, right now). Jenny Lawson is known around the interwebs as The Bloggess, and if you haven’t been reading up on her adventures then what on earth are you even using the internet for?
Lawson’s memoir falls squarely into a niche I like to call ‘jaw-dropping rural memoir.’ This niche often involves some combination of poverty, religion, dead animals, mental illness, small towns, family, and not a single dollop of apology for any of it. Nothing so easy as redemption, either. It’s not about escaping your childhood, or bootstraps—it’s more an illustration that proves normal is nothing more than an illusion.
Granted, I picked up this book for the hilariously befuddled expression of the baby on the cover. But it’s a great read with some really stellar writing.
I will just say this: the grasshopper trap in this instance is a chair, tied to the front grill of a moving truck. A small frightened boy sits in the chair with a long-handled butterfly net and scoops grasshoppers from the side of the road as the truck scares them into jumping. As you can probably imagine, it does not end well. Probably mostly made-up, but still hilarious, as are the rest of his collected columns in a whole host of other volumes. I just wish I could remember the one about an explosion of blood sausage.
First, there’s The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King. Retired Sherlock Holmes meets his match in brilliant young Mary Russell. I’m always up for a good Sherlock twist, and this is one of the best reinterpretations I’ve seen.
Then there’s Elizabeth Goudge’s Linnets & Valerians. I read this once, when I was about twelve or so. And then it sat on my bookshelves for years and every time I looked at it I thought about how they’d described bees and wondered if I should read it again. But the memory of that book was so crystalline that I feared a re-read might disturb it. Twenty years and I still have not forgotten, though the main thrust of the plot escapes me.
Lastly, may I have the privilege of pointing you toward Terry Pratchett’s Lords and Ladies. Don’t worry if this is the first Discworld novel you pick up: you won’t be at all lost. It’s all about elves and bees and wasps and queens and people’s reaction to beauty and cruelty and love. Plus jokes!
Honorable mention: the Futurama episode “The Sting” features giant space bees, and the “Let ‘Em Eat Cake” episode of Arrested Development is quite bee-themed as well. Behold!
Are there any other bee-themed things I’m missing? Weigh in, commenters!
We here at Olivia Waite have a soft spot for stories that combine romance and science. So no wonder we were over the moon when we discovered this gem of a three-minute film. It’s called Starcrossed and it will break your heart.