Bacon on the Bookshelf

Savory picks for the free range reader

August 13, 2018
by jenniferpuryear

Penelope Lemon: Game On!

Penelope Lemon may not be our next Jane Eyre, swooning over the mysterious Mr. Rochester. She may not be our next Catherine, wildly seeking Heathcliff on the moors. But she’s looking for love on a Christian dating website. When she’s not working at a western-style roadhouse restaurant. She’s got dreams, too, our Penelope! Along with two divorces and a son called “Fart Boy” by other …

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August 5, 2018
by jenniferpuryear

A Quick History of Modern China (And Top Three Book Recommendations)

China may be the country we most need to understand in today’s world. (Apart from our own, of course.) With 1.3 billion people, the world’s second largest economy, and its most powerful leader since Mao in Xi Jinping, China sings both ancient and modern songs. Today’s post features two memoirs and one collection of short stories I read traveling to and from Beijing (and during …

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July 25, 2018
by jenniferpuryear

Booker’s Dozen: Enquiring Minds Want to Know

Nothing says “England” like the Booker Prize. There’s a delightful pomp and propriety here: “First awarded in 1969, the Man Booker Prize is recognised as the leading prize for literary fiction written in English,” the Booker organisation modestly states, in a delightful accent and with that fabulous spelling. Cultural power is a fascinating thing in England – and elsewhere. What are the subjects and who …

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June 14, 2018
by jenniferpuryear

Summer Reading 2018: What is Love?

I’ve just finished up a year of “Leadership Nashville,” which involved 14-hour days and field trips and a lot of time on the bus with strangers who – thankfully, wonderfully, quickly and sometimes slowly – became friends. In our group of 44: a sparkling news anchor, a beautiful rabbi. An editor of our newspaper and a museum curator. The heads of Metro Nashville Sports Authority, …

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June 11, 2018
by jenniferpuryear

Nashville Special: All We Ever Wanted

Here in Nashville, we had a lot of opinions about Anthony Bourdain’s visit (rest in peace) when he came to town. Same with the hit TV show “Nashville.” Mostly we loved being in the limelight! But you also heard whispers and complaints. Minor and major grousing. The chatter was half the fun!  Next-up: a big-time novel set in Nashville by a big-time, New York Times-bestselling …

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June 8, 2018
by jenniferpuryear

Nashville Special: When You Want Less

I wish we’d had less sad news this week.  I wish I weighed a little less heading into summer and the unkindness of sleeveless dresses. (For sure I need less rosé.) On the bright side – Andrew Sean Greer will be reading from his Pulitzer-Prize winning novel Less at Parnassus at 2 pm  this Saturday – he’s reading, answering questions, and also celebrating the launch …

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May 20, 2018
by jenniferpuryear

”I Am A Warrior”

Thank God for the people who survive their harrowing childhoods and live to tell their warrior tales. Thank God for the novelists who imagine courage in the worst of circumstances. They inspire us – the truth tellers – for truth and bravery take many forms. Mary Raymond returns to Bacon today with a compelling account of two hot current reads featuring heroines who transcend dire …

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April 29, 2018
by jenniferpuryear

Book Talk In Any Language (Featuring Guest Post by Peter Taylor)

Friends – please keep whispering in my ear! I love the book lists, the book recs, the bookish news you send my way. Today I’m passing some of it along, before sharing a guest post by a lovely young writer, Peter Taylor. Finishing up a gap year in Bolivia, working on his Spanish, he’s been thinking about what gets lost in translation. Sincerest thanks to him …

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April 19, 2018
by jenniferpuryear

Haunted Songs

Last week I found myself on a small stage but in big company with Alice Randall, Adam Ross, and Gary Shockley. We were talking about Lincoln in the Bardo, the Man-Booker-Prize-winning novel by George Saunders. (Thank God all I had to do was ask the questions.) The novel imagines Lincoln on the night after his 11-year-old son’s death in February of 1862. Newspapers reported that …

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April 13, 2018
by jenniferpuryear

Hot Chicken – and Forbidden Fruit

Nashville’s supposed to be reading The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of The Modern South for its annual community-wide “Nashville Read.” I started it and put it down. Started it again – and put it down. After the third time, I gave up. How can a history of food and cooking in the South read so much like a school textbook? One could fairly describe …

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