Bacon on the Bookshelf

Savory picks for the free range reader

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 of the paperback!

I’ve started Less, and it’s fantastic so far. I picked it up because – you know, it won the Pulitzer – but that happened a while ago. Mostly I picked it up because my friend Nicki Pendleton Wood told us to in a Facebook post. She has a great sense of humor and said it was a fun vacation read.

A “vacation read” doesn’t always win a Pulitzer.  I think I want more of that.

Here are the deets:

Parnassus Books is thrilled to welcome Andrew Sean Greer to celebrate the paperback release of his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Less.

Who says you can’t run away from your problems? You are a failed novelist about to turn fifty. A wedding invitation arrives in the mail: your boyfriend of the past nine years is engaged to someone else. You can’t say yes–it would be too awkward–and you can’t say no–it would look like defeat. On your desk are a series of invitations to half-baked literary events around the world.

QUESTION: How do you arrange to skip town?

ANSWER: You accept them all.

What would possibly go wrong? Arthur Less will almost fall in love in Paris, almost fall to his death in Berlin, barely escape to a Moroccan ski chalet from a Saharan sandstorm, accidentally book himself as the (only) writer-in-residence at a Christian Retreat Center in Southern India, and encounter, on a desert island in the Arabian Sea, the last person on Earth he wants to face. Somewhere in there: he will turn fifty. Through it all, there is his first love. And there is his last.

Because, despite all these mishaps, missteps, misunderstandings and mistakes, “Less” is, above all, a love story.

A scintillating satire of the American abroad, a rumination on time and the human heart, a bittersweet romance of chances lost, by an author The New York Times has hailed as “inspired, lyrical,” “elegiac,” “ingenious,” as well as “too sappy by half,” Less shows a writer at the peak of his talents raising the curtain on our shared human comedy.

Andrew Sean Greer is the bestselling author of five works of fiction, including The Confessions of Max Tivoli, which was named a best book of 2004 by the San Francisco Chronicle and the Chicago Tribune. He is the recipient of the Northern California Book Award, the California Book Award, the New York Public Library Young Lions Award, the O Henry award for short fiction and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Public Library. Greer lives in San Francisco.

Event date:

Saturday, June 9, 2018 – 2:00pm

Event address:

Parnassus Books

3900 Hillsboro Pike Suite 14

Nashville, TN 37215

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Check out this fun, smart interview with Greer at our own here.

June 6, 2018
by jenniferpuryear

kate spade

Sometimes the world reminds us of the hidden sadness all around us, even (especially?) in unexpected places.

The thought of Kate Spade ending her life with a red scarf is shocking and awful.

Here’s my contribution to the mourning – a minor poem, in a minor key.

Photo from Cosmopolitan

kate spade

Kate Brosnahan
from Kansas City

used her boyfriend’s name
for the handbag she made

the handbag together they called kate spade

what’s in a bag?
what’s in a name?

in time she also became Kate Spade

they sold the company they had made

Fame, name, age, time
she added the letters “Valentine”
between Kate and Spade.

When did her mind

become a blade
she turned on herself?

She lived her life
in vibrant hues –
in orange yellow pink and blues
when did the melody tuneful and true

go silent?

kate spade sold hope
and cheerful dreams
a future that sparkled
a future that gleamed –

What’s in a name?
What’s in a bag?

Things aren’t – we know – always as they seem.

She held the red scarf around her neck
(Kate Brosnahan, spade, and Valentine) –

Name bag fame dread
full empty hungry fed
dream in colors
or dream in red
it’s all the same
we end up dead –

A woman with a red scarf
might have said.

(I wish a friend could have held her – stayed her – hand instead.)

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Hand photo copyright here.

Because I’m borrowing an image, which has haunted me since I first heard the song (If you click link below, it will take you to Youtube) –