On the Reading List: The Bees by Laline Paull and the StartUp Podcast


This week is a fun one. I’m currently reading The Bees by Laline Paull and listening to the fantastic podcast, StartUp, from Gimlet Media.

I usually enjoy listening to Audible on my commutes, but this week I’ve been eating up the podcast series, StartUp.


StartUp is a podcast series about what it’s really like to get a business off the ground. In Season 1, Alex Blumberg told the story of launching this business, Gimlet Media, a podcast network. In Season 2, Alex is joined by co-Host Lisa Chow, to follow an entirely new company.

The business is Dating Ring, a dating company that combines technology with old-fashioned matchmaking. The founders are women in their 20s, outsiders in the male-dominated world of Silicon Valley. And over the 10 episodes, we’ll take you inside that world. Some of the challenges they face are different from Alex’s: founder disagreements, hellish fundraising, and sexism. But just like the Season 1 story, theirs is also a transparent account of something that happens everyday in America, but we rarely get to see firsthand: starting a business.

startup podcast

I’m still on Season 1 and just finished the episode on how Blumberg and his partner, Matt Lieber, came up with the name for Gimlet Media. This is not a story of yet another entrepreneur who thought of an idea in his garage, got a huge investor and is now happily skipping ahead with millions of dollars. Blumberg shares his fears, his anxiety, his doubt – and so do others in the show including his partner and his wife (who I absolutely love, by the way). I find the storyline incredibly honest and humbling. It even shines a more positive light on the start-up stereotype for me. Listen and let me know what you think!

The Bees

The Handmaid’s Tale meets The Hunger Games in this brilliantly imagined debut set in an ancient culture where only the queen may breed and deformity means death.

Flora 717 is a sanitation worker, a member of the lowest caste in her orchard hive, where work and sacrifice are the highest virtues and worship of the beloved Queen the only religion. But Flora is not like other bees. With circumstances threatening the hive’s survival, her curiosity is regarded as a dangerous flaw, but her courage and strength are assets. She is allowed to feed the newborns in the royal nursery and then to become a forager, flying alone and free to collect nectar and pollen. A feat of bravery grants her access to the Queen’s inner sanctum, where she discovers mysteries about the hive that are both profound and ominous.

But when Flora breaks the most sacred law of all — daring to challenge the Queen’s preeminence — enemies abound, from the fearsome fertility police who enforce the hive’s strict social hierarchy to the high priestesses jealously wedded to power. Her deepest instincts to serve and sacrifice are now overshadowed by a greater power: a fierce maternal love that will bring her into conflict with her conscience, her heart, and her society — and lead her to perform unthinkable deeds.

The Bees Laline Paull

Reading this book, you will never look at bees the same way again. This book is fast-paced and just plain fun. It’s a summer read that you’ll enjoy and recommend to friends.

What are you reading right now? Share in the comments!

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Rachel Yeomans
Editor at Lit with a Twist
I'm a writer, reader and dreamer. I'm proud to be the editor and creator of Lit with a Twist. My co-editors, Ella and Fitzgerald, can't be trusted. Probably because they're cats.