Bacon on the Bookshelf

Savory picks for the free range reader

January 14, 2018
by jenniferpuryear

Old Friends and New Enchantments: Guest Post by Sean Kinch

Sean Kinch returns to Bacon today with a delicious fiction roundup featuring his favorite novels published in 2017. Stop in and enjoy this tempting Top Ten! You’ll recognize old friends – and discover new enchantments. From Sean: Twenty-seventeen started slowly on the fiction front, but by mid-year the pace quickened. As the fall heavyweights rolled off presses, I felt like Lucille Ball in the candy …

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December 18, 2017
by jenniferpuryear

The Once and Future Nutcracker: Guest Post by Paul Vasterling

Even a joyful holiday ballet like The Nutcracker nods gently towards madness, darkness, and fear: in the dangerous Mouse King, first and foremost, and also in the mysterious magician and uncle, Drosselmeier. E.T.A. Hoffmann’s story – on which it is based – tells a darker story than Tchaikovsky’s ballet. Darker yet is Gregory Maguire’s new novel Hiddensee: The Once and Future Nutcracker. “As evidenced especially …

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December 3, 2017
by jenniferpuryear

Why We Read (and Re-Read): Guest Post by Peter Taylor

Sometimes a gift comes to you – unbidden – from God, the universe, or your local bookstore. A few months ago, I was chatting with Peter Taylor, a high school senior, at Parnassus. He was behind the counter, working part-time (he’s Passionate about books). He was leaving for a year in Bolivia soon, he told me, and offered to send a guest post from there. …

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November 23, 2017
by jenniferpuryear

Thanksgiving Special: This Blessed Earth

Book Title: This Blessed Earth

My friend Sara Bhatia is doing something hard (in addition to preparing the turkey): she’s listening. And trying to understand. A fierce and beautiful American, she wants to know what motivated other fierce and beautiful Americans in the 2016 election. “We are the swamp,” she said of herself and her husband, who live in Washington, D.C. First, she read Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance. Next, …

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November 12, 2017
by jenniferpuryear

“The Mysterious Discipline”: Guest Post by Mary Raymond

Mary Raymond’s cat Mavis has never found relaxing to be particularly complicated. I wish I could say the same! My mind does cartwheels at night and sometimes even sets off fireworks. Mary set out to convince me that meditation can help. See the end of today’s post for the Bacon Meditation Challenge! From Mary: My first foray into meditation was, at best, underwhelming. I had …

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November 5, 2017
by jenniferpuryear

It’s Not You, It’s Me: Guest Post by Laura Cooper

Today, Laura Cooper stops in at Bacon to dish on a troubled relationship – and her journey to happily ever after. From Laura: I’ve spent the year estranged from an old and dear friend. I’ve tried everything you’re supposed to do in such a case: time apart; time together in a fresh environment. I’ve tried mixing it up, seeking out surprise and even a little …

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September 22, 2017
by jenniferpuryear

Southern Gothic Reimagined: Twin Peaks – and Delicious Foods (Guest Post by Lawrence Blank-Cook)

Book Title: Delicious Foods

My husband and I have just finished watching the old “Twin Peaks” (from the 90s). I’m still trying to figure it out. There’s murder, a dwarf, a giant, a woman with superhuman strength (Nadine) – not to mention the woods, the owl, and the supernatural. Good versus evil. What does this sound like? SOUTHERN GOTHIC of course. Flannery O’Connor territory, upper Northwest style. Today, Lawrence …

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July 28, 2017
by jenniferpuryear

Janesville: An American Story

Today, Sara Bhatia returns to Bacon with an in-depth report on Janesville: An American Story. Trying to understand what’s going on in our country right now? This book helps. From Sara:   Janesville is a proud union town, with a long history of Democratic politics.  On political maps, it’s a blue dot surrounded by a sea of red. A rust belt city whose jobs have dried …

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June 30, 2017
by jenniferpuryear

Who’s Your Favorite Literary Character? (Summer Series, Part 1)

  Which literary characters have most enchanted you, taking up residence in your mind and heart? For me: Dorothy, Frodo, Laura and her family, Harry and Hermione (the two forever linked in my mind, I can take or leave Ron). Also the little girl in The Little Princess, and James Herriot, to the extent that an autobiography is a person’s creation of himself as a …

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June 28, 2017
by jenniferpuryear

Summer, Memory, Stories: Guest Post by Adrienne McRae

Book Titles: One More Thing: Stories and More Stories, Me Talk Pretty One Day

Even when the days are gloriously long, your time for reading is sometimes – not. Short stories and memoirs are perfect summer fare for Adrienne McRae, who features One More Thing (Stories and other Stories) by B.J. Novak and Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris at Bacon today.   From Adrienne:  I recently went to a seminar on working memory. Working memory (or …

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