Bacon on the Bookshelf

Savory picks for the free range reader

This Is Why I Read: Top Picks, Fall 2017

The light changes in September – and so does our mood. Beach reads just don’t look as good as they did a few weeks ago. Today’s post features three novels, three memoirs, and one collection of short stories that shine gloriously in the Autumn sun. My top pick for a shiny read right now is Gabrielle Zevin’s new novel, Young Jane Young, the story of …

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Bacon Readers Survey Results

Thank you, Bacon Readers, for your enthusiastic and candid responses to last week’s survey! I especially appreciated the warm, honest, heartfelt, and often funny comments about your worries and what makes you happy… but first, the nuts and bolts. If you don’t live in or around Nashville, you most likely call another Southern city home (hello, Atlanta, Birmingham, Huntsville, Louisville, Paducah, Richmond, Chattanooga, Raleigh, Miami, …

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The Deep Dive: Eight Great Summer Reads

Book Titles: No One Can Pronounce My Name, Anything is Possible, The Stranger in the Woods, Since We Fell, The Women in the Castle, The Essex Serpent, The Radium Girls, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

“We want to know, I think, what it is like to be another person, because somehow this helps us position our own self in the world. What are we without this curiosity?” asks Elizabeth Strout (My Name is Lucy Barton, Olive Kitteridge, and the brand new Anything is Possible). Today’s post features eight inquisitive books as we stand at the edge of summer, ready to …

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Six Spring Reads: Goin Outta My Mind

Book Titles: Exit West, All Grown Up, Swing Time, Her Every Fear, Lincoln in the Bardo, Transit

Mindfulness has a stellar reputation these days, well deserved – but sometimes you don’t want to be where you are (more mindfully). Today’s post – at Styleblueprint – features six compelling, delightful, harrowing, entertaining, funny, and/or challenging current reads that promise to take you out of your own head. Below are a few Bacon bits to get your mouth watering…  We’re on a Road to Nowhere …

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Top Picks

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Top Picks

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Episode IV: The Princess Diarist (He Was Always On My Mind)

Book Title: The Princess Diarist

I recently finished reading The Princess Diarist, Carrie Fisher’s account of what went on behind the scenes during the filming of Star Wars. It broke my heart for her – for the girl she was at age 19, in love with Harrison Ford, and for the woman she was at age 59, writing the book. The first and last thirds of the book provide general …

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Imagine Me Gone

It’s crazy when the book you didn’t really want to read becomes the book you can’t stop talking about.  Adam Haslett’s Imagine Me Gone may be one of the most beautiful, wrenching novels about a family you’ll read this year, right up there with Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth.  If Commonwealth asks “What is a family,” Imagine Me Gone asks “What are the limits of love?” The story …

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Election Special: Prisoners of Geography

Book Title: Prisoners of Geography

Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need to Know about Global Politics is a stunning little snack-sized book – delicious, nutritious! – that provides an incredibly engaging account of the world our next president will face.  It’s an international bestseller – #1 in London when I picked it up this summer – and I’ve never read a pleasanter book covering so much territory.  …

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Top Picks

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Top Picks

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Top Picks

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Adventures in China

I am not a hearty traveler.  “If you were a farm animal, you would have been put down,” quipped my husband.  Between the food poisoning and the vertigo, the garden variety infections and anxiety, I’d have to agree. Despite distressing health, I was able to make a few observations and take a lot of pictures during the 17-day trip to mainland China and Hong Kong …

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Bacon at the Beach: Top Pick, Summer 2016

Book Titles: The Summer Book, The Excellent Lombards, Everyone Brave is Forgiven, Modern Lovers, Maestra, Tiny Beautiful Things

I have to tell you about The Summer Book, a quietly beautiful little novel first published in 1972 and still in print.  The paperback is just the right size for your beach bag, and it’s like the perfect sand dollar you find maybe once in your life:  a small miracle, ordinary in its way, but also extraordinary.  It has given me a vision of who …

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Couples Book Club: “Gentlemen, This Is Why We Have Survived as a Species” (The Sympathizer, by Viet Thanh Nguyen)

This month, my couples book club read The Sympathizer, by Viet Thanh Nguyen, and I suppose you could call it a spy novel of the tortured soul variety.  It’s the story of a communist mole for the North Vietnamese who finds himself – in a bizarre turn of the screw – writing his “confession” under duress in a communist re-education camp.  The son of a French priest and Vietnamese mother, …

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Late Summer Special: He Said/She Said Featuring Governor and Mrs. Haslam

A boy from Knoxville and a girl who grew up in Memphis found some pretty good real estate in Nashville: the Tennessee Governor’s Residence!  Today’s post concludes the Summer Reading series at Bacon, featuring Governor Bill Haslam and his wife, Crissy.  In a taxing political season, it’s reassuring to have a Governor and First Lady like ours – nimble of mind and generous in spirit.  The Governor is living …

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First GREAT novel of 2016: My Name is Lucy Barton, by Elizabeth Strout

Book Title: My Name is Lucy Barton

  My Name is Lucy Barton is the book your friends will be reading this winter, this spring, and beyond.  I try not to be a bully about recommendations, but you should join them!  I was recently reminded of Muhammed Ali’s approach to the ring: “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee,” and this seems to me Elizabeth Strout’s genius in My Name is Lucy …

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If You Liked Charlie and the Chocolate Factory… (on Act One, by Moss Hart)

Book Title: Act One: An Autobiography

I have a book to recommend to you – a grown up tale, and true – that has every bit as much cruelty, wonder and suspense as you find in the world of Charlie Bucket and Willy Wonka. “I grew up in an atmosphere of unrelieved poverty, with … ‘the dark brown taste of being poor’ forever in my mouth and the grim smell of …

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Margaret Mead – Among the Tribes – with Malaria – and Between Two Men

Book Title: Euphoria

Lily King makes no grand claim that Euphoria explains Margaret Mead, though her bibliography suggests extensive research.  Reading it made me feel as if I could understand at least partially what it might have felt like to be Margaret Mead – among the tribes – with malaria and big ideas – and between two men. “While this is a work of fiction,” writes King, “it was …

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The Last Days of My Dog

Book Title: Dog Songs

These are the last days of my dog, Belle.  She remains in good spirits – at least, today – but lymphoma has caused the nodes in her neck to swell to the size of golf balls.  The vet says the time will soon come when we shouldn’t let her suffer. I am walking around with a hole in my heart already.  Mary Oliver’s beautiful new …

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