On This Hilltop

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"I am a beekeeper, but I am also a writer, and some years ago I sat down at a typewriter to experiment with words, to try to tease out of the amorphous, chaotic and worldess part of myself the reason why I was staying on this hilltop in the Ozarks."
Why indeed? For Sue Hubbell, a former college librarian who moved to the country, found she spent much of her time digging manure out of the barn or trying to fix the rear end of the truck — that is, in addition to the hay making, corn planting, bee swarming, ...
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Overview

"I am a beekeeper, but I am also a writer, and some years ago I sat down at a typewriter to experiment with words, to try to tease out of the amorphous, chaotic and worldess part of myself the reason why I was staying on this hilltop in the Ozarks."
Why indeed? For Sue Hubbell, a former college librarian who moved to the country, found she spent much of her time digging manure out of the barn or trying to fix the rear end of the truck — that is, in addition to the hay making, corn planting, bee swarming, vegetable gardening, tick picking, log splitting, chick hatching, truck towing, and snake alerts that overwhelmed her early days in her new home.
These essays from down on her Missouri farm are alight with mischief, poking gentle fun at city snobs, Ozark men, and Hubbell's own experience as an apprentice Ozarker. They also chart the first forays Hubbell made into writing. As she says herself, "They were the beginning of a writing life. One of several I have lived."
"A beautifully blossoming writer . . . Hubbell watches language as sagaciously as she eyes nature." — Washington Post Book World
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Prompted by back-to-the-land idealism and political disenchantment, Hubbell ( A Book of Bees ) escaped mainstream life in the 1970s by moving with her husband to the the Missouri Ozarks, cherishing ``a desire to live cheaply, certain Maoist tendencies, and . . . a consuming fixation about growing our own vegetables.''xi A collection of succinct, charming essays written originally for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch , this book tells of Hubbell's lot as a novice beekeeping farmer amid Ozarkers, whose men ``do not brook interference from women in important matters relating to dogs, guns, or auto mechanics,''13 and hippies, who garden by moonlight. Her renegade rooster makes a colorful appearance--impelled by an inferiority complex to attack ``non-chicken creatures''7 --along with an Irish setter that pk broods fledgling chicks and an unforgettable pickup truck, Press On Regardless10 , usually in need of vital mechanical parts. In simple and gently ironic fashion, Hubbell treats her country materials with a healthy dose of cynicism as she ranges from the hazards of sweet corn agribusiness to the joys of raking daisy hay. On occasion, her humor becomes overly arch for her modest subjects, but readers are generally in for a treat. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Hubbell's third book is a compilation of earlier writings from the 1970s for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch . Once again, the former college librarian describes her life as a commercial beekeeper in the Ozarks. With insight and wry humor, she examines the realities of country life, including everything from chicken behavior to the role of women. Her tale of taking along sherry and wineglasses to toast the queen of each hive as she and her husband inspect a beeyard is a true classic. Unlike her other works like A Country Year ( LJ 3/1/87) and A Book of Bees ( LJ 3/1/89), the tone here is more rural Erma Bombeck than Annie Dillard. Marred only by an overly long and dry final essay about a 19th-century Missouri-Iowa border dispute, this is one of the better entries in the ``back to the land'' category. Buy where country works are popular.-- Cheryl Childress, Roanoke Cty. P.L., Va.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345373069
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/24/1991
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 176

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