Bacon on the Bookshelf

Savory picks for the free range reader

Reading List for 2017: Guest Post by Monica McDougall

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I ran into Monica McDougall at a party recently. “How are you? How are the kids?” I asked, expecting an enthusiastic response. “Normal,” she replied, with her lovely wry smile, a smile that conveyed the vagaries, hassles, worries, and aggravations of family life. “And I’m grateful.”

Monica tells it like it is, always – and her answer has stuck with me. Today, I’m grateful that she’s sharing part of her reading list…

IMG_2328From Monica:

At the end of each year, there are lists and more lists. Lists of things we did, lists of things we didn’t. Lists of top movies and top reads. On my desk right now is a newspaper article listing the top new Nashville restaurants of 2016. I’m hoping to try some this year (on my to-do list), but most likely my husband and I will discuss these options over chicken kabobs at Zoe’s. An old roommate laughed once when I added an accomplished task to my list and promptly crossed it off. So satisfying.

IMG_2327I’ve always had a proclivity for quotes from books. There is something about an unusual sentence structure or a perfectly chosen word that amazes me. Once discovered, I write them thoughtfully on a fine embossed notecard, or scratch them illegibly on the back of a discarded envelope. I’ve even stooped to taking a photo of an eye-catching, thought-provoking quote to be written out by hand later (must add to some list). 

Thus, below is a list of admired excerpts from recently read books. Hopefully I’ve chosen some that are interesting and telling of the novel, so much so that you may be tempted to add one to your reading list.

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The Mothers, by Brit Bennett

We didn’t believe when we first heard because you know how church folk can gossip.

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News of the World, by Paulette Jiles

Maybe life is just carrying news.  Maybe we just have one message, and it is delivered to us when we are born and we are never sure what it says; it may have nothing to do with us personally but it must be carried by hand through life, all the way; and at the end handed over, sealed.

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Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance

You see, I grew up poor, in the Rust Belt, in an Ohio steel town that has been hemorrhaging jobs and hope for as long as I can remember.

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Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Later, when his ebullience became a temptation to Ifemelu, an unrelieved sunniness that made her want to strike at it, to crush it, this would be one of her best memories of Curt, as he was in the tarot shop on South Street on a day filled with the promise of summer: so handsome, so happy, a true believer.

Write for Bacon- check!

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Have you saved any wonderful quotations lately?  Please share with the rest of us in the comments!

Here’s one from me, or rather from Rachel Cusk in Transit:

I’ve never quite been able to grasp, Gerard said, the moral of that story. I think it might have something to do with paying attention not to what comes most naturally but to what you find most difficult. We are so schooled, he said, in the doctrine of self-acceptance that the idea of refusing to accept yourself becomes quite radical.

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16 Comments

  1. Love the quote from News of the World. Definitely makes me want to pick it up (or borrow it from you!) Thanks for sharing.

  2. Beautiful post, Monica! I share your love of words and have kept a notebook of beautifully turned phrases from books I’ve read since I was in college. Here is one of my favorites from a short story called “Intimacy” by Hanif Kureishi. The story is his meditation on whether he should leave his wife as he and she move through the shared daily tasks of caring for their family: “Soon we will be like strangers. No, we can never be like that. Hurting someone is an act of reluctant intimacy. We will be dangerous acquaintances with a history.”

  3. 3 from “I Like You Just Fine When You’re Not Around,” by Ann Garvin.
    1- “The electric doors parted as if to say, let’s get it over with.”
    2- “The dog’s soft ham-slice of a tongue brushed Tig’s chin.”
    3- “Wendy tried to take a deep breath and gasped a great gob of air that sounded like what pain would sound like if it could speak.”

  4. Love these quotes and have added News of the World and The Mothers to my list of 2017 books. Thank you Monica.

  5. What.A.Clever.Post. Thank you!!!

  6. Great post!

  7. Very glad to see a quote from the new Cusk: didn’t know it was out yet. And I still need to read AMERICANAH. Thanks for the list

  8. Love this. “An old roommate laughed once when I added an accomplished task to my list and promptly crossed it off. So satisfying.” Exactly!! This gives me huge satisfaction, as well… 🙂

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