Bacon on the Bookshelf

Savory picks for the free range reader

October 2, 2018
by jenniferpuryear

Help Wanted: Southern Festival of Books

Dear Bacon Friends – I don’t want to do this alone. I’d be so grateful for your help! I imagine you joining me – we’re up there together on stage interviewing Celeste Ng (Little Fires Everywhere) and Tayari Jones (An American Marriage) at the Southern Festival of Books. We’re hoping to start a good conversation. What serious OR not-so-serious questions shall we ask?

The sky’s the limit. I’d like to encourage a fun and delicious conversation! (Yes, substantive too of course.)

Please be in touch in the comments below OR send me an email at jenniferhpuryear@gmail.com with your questions and conversation starters…my sincerest thanks in advance! If you’re local – I’d love to have some friends in the audience! The conversation takes place on Sunday, October 14th from 2 to 3 pm at War Memorial Auditorium.

In the meanwhile, you might want to take a look at the rest of the Southern Festival of Books lineup – it’s terrific! Truly, there’s something for everyone. 

Here are some of my top picks (you’ll have to check the schedule for the times/places)…

The Honorable Sonia Sotomayor, Turning Pages: My Life Story…

Barracoon: The Story of the Last ‘Black Cargo,’ by Zora Neale Hurston, edited by Deborah G. Plant (see my StyleBlueprint review here)…

The Great American Read: Ron Charles (Washington Post) and Joelle Herr (The Bookshop) in conversation…

Webb Campbell and Tom Royals, “The Legacy of Will Campbell”

Webb Campbell, Partner at SRVH (Nashville)

Will Campbell, author, maverick minister, Civil Rights activist

Will Campbell, officiating at his son Webb’s wedding

Women’s National Book Association presents Coffee With Authors, Saturday morning, Oct. 13, including Rebecca Makkai, The Great Believers (National Book Award Longlist 2018) and Wateyu Moore, She Would Be King (Indie Next Top Pick for September 2018)…

Ben Fountain, Beautiful Country, Burn Again: Democracy, Rebellion, and Revolution (I adored Billy Lynn’s Long Half-Time Walk. But will he ruin my crush with his nonfiction?)

Jamie Quattro, Fire Sermon (for the range of emotions, see Bacon review here)

Lisa Patton, Rush (INSIDE BASEBALL on sororities – see StyleBlueprint review here)…

Anne Byrn, American Cookie (I’m counting on samples!)

Kevin Powers, A Shout in the Ruins (on the war in Iraq)

Lee Smith, “Southern Writers on Writing (What’s your favorite Lee Smith? Mine might be Dimestore, though I’m also partial to Fair and Tender Ladies)…

Jane Lorenzini, After the Rain (on my nightstand to read right now – historical fiction – 19th century, set in Florida, Thomas Edison and those surrounding him play roles)…

Inman Majors, Penelope Lemon: Game On! (Raunchy! Funny. Heartwrenching. Real. See StyleBlueprint review here)…

Ariel Lawhon, I Was Anastasia (Franklin, TN author… also on my nightstand)…

Lorrie Moore (Birds of America) (Her latest think piece at Lithub “It’s Better to Write than Be A Writer: The Route to Truth and Beauty is a Toll Road”)…

Sarah Hays Coomer, Physical Disobedience: An Unruly Guide to Health & Stamina for the Modern Feminist (a beautiful call to physical health for today. Maybe you or I disagree with her about the political objectives. Her encouragement is powerful, no matter where you find yourself politically)

Bob Spitz, Reagan: An American Journey (the biggest biography of Fall 2018)…

Charles Frazier, Varina (see StyleBlueprint review here)…

Kevin Wilson, Perfect Little World (see Mary Laura Philpott’s interview at A Word on Words)…

Tessa Fontaine, The Electric Woman (I love a good memoir. Again: this one’s in my stack)…

Mark Deutschmann, One Mile Radius: Building Community from the Core (“After 30-plus years of leading a real estate company creating positive change in Nashville, Tennessee, I realized others might be interested in the perspective I’ve gained while helping neighborhoods evolve. In One-Mile Radius: Building Community from the Core, I share what I’ve learned about activating neighborhoods, connecting them and helping them become sustainable.  I also address using business as a tool for social change. I hope my book will inspire you to use your unique gifts to make positive change in your one-mile radius.”)

Other highlights: Rachel Allen (Taxonomy of Love), Alice Bolin (Dead Girls: Essays on Surviving an American Obsession), Sonny Brewer on William Gay’s Lost Country, Bren McClain (Our Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy), Luis Arrea, House of Broken Angels (Kathy Shultenover at Parnassus Books loved this – reason enough to read it!)

For poetry, children’s books, cookbooks, YA, and more excellent fiction – check out the Southern Festival of Books schedule here! Please let me know who else I MUST see at the Festival!! xoxo

September 30, 2018
by jenniferpuryear

Pepper and The Fall of the Great Black Oak

On a hot, still day in September – a day that did not feel like autumn – the Great Black Oak in the backyard fell. It had grown at an angle most of its life, stretching out over the Rock Garden and an ancient gnarled hackberry and some pink dogwoods. When it came down, drawn finally to earth, it broke the old hackberry and took the dogwoods out, too. The yard was still as death that afternoon, hot as death, a green death that stretched 60 feet across the yard from the roots of the Great Black Oak. Continue reading →