Bacon on the Bookshelf

Savory picks for the free range reader

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, Jacksonville, etc.!). Thank you, long distance friends, for joining us from Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Washington, D.C., New York, Arizona, Texas, Maine, and Bhutan, among other exotic locales.

Since 77% of you like to hear what’s going on around Nashville, I’ll keep reporting on local readings and events. To my non-Nashville readers: I won’t go overboard, I know it’s not your top priority.

How old are you? It varies! But it’s safe to say we’re mostly over 30, no shockers there. How old do you feel? It depends on the day, dear reader! “From 18-60,” says one. “Under 50 if I don’t look in the mirror,” notes another. “Sometimes I think I’m still Scout Finch’s age. So 8?” one asks.

Your favorite way to find your next read? A friend’s recommendation. I love that! You also pay attention to reviews, browse at the bookstore, and read something because your book club made you (40% belong to book clubs). The blogs Modern Mrs. Darcy and Musing were mentioned several times, and I was glad to learn about Magnificent Octopus and Biblioklept. We are all pulled hither and yon by life, and our reading choices reflect that. ”My interests and moods influence what I want to read at any given time. Of course I am open and interested to subjects and genres I might not have experienced before…basically I go where fate leads me,” wrote one, voicing a sentiment expressed by many.

65% of you are happy to receive Bacon whenever it shows up. A solid third like to read it once a week or whenever you can get to it. Beginning this September, please expect Bacon as a Friday morning delivery! I hope Friday Bacon will feel like a great way to head into the weekend. I’ll supplement with Pepper posts on the occasional Sunday morning, as I do now.  

Speaking of Pepper – thank you for the love! For those of you who admitted that you actually hate Pepper’s posts (or are indifferent to her charms), please just delete those posts immediately. I’m so sorry to aggravate you! (But now that she’s started talking, I don’t think I can shut her up.)

Wow, 70% of you want to make sure that nonfiction is well represented at Bacon. Got it. Will do. 

Everyone seems happy with the mix of Bacon and guest posts and I am as well. “I like readers’ personal experience with the book, not just the review,” says one. Me too. 

What’s missing at Bacon? Some of you would enjoy more attention to classics, audiobooks, and biographies. More than a few asked for book club lists, tips for book clubs, and questions to accompany book club reads. Of course there are a few who demand “eggs” or “lettuce and tomato.” 🙂

It was such a compliment to hear from one reader that “Nothing [is missing]! You are one of my guilty pleasures. I save the posts to read at night when my world is quiet.” 

Does anything annoy you at Bacon? Mostly Pepper posts, if you don’t enjoy them. Posts that are too long. The comment that’s given me the most to think about:  “I’m not in Nashville, so I tend to skip the Nashville-oriented posts. Sometimes Bacon feels a little too insider-y, like your guest posters and the people at the bookstore and the authors all know each other. That doesn’t really bother me, but it doesn’t appeal either. I would imagine that makes it harder for you to grow your reader base outside Nashville.” I don’t much like insider baseball and I don’t want Bacon to feel like that. We have a vibrant literary community here, but I wouldn’t say that it’s any particularly cohesive group of people who all share the same in-jokes. Or if it is, I’m not in it. So: I’m going to watch my tone.

Thank you for sharing your worries with me, such as …

“My health, my children’s safety and happiness, the weather…oh my, I could spend a lot of time on this.”

“My family’s wellness and education equality top the list, and also what to make for dinner.”

“My arms, my son, my mom, my boxwoods, my president.”

“I fret when my book to read stack is low, like there’s only one in it now??”

“Death. Not being smart enough. Thinking about large ideas but talking about trivia. That my neuroses are not the interesting kind.”

“Congress, politicians, the news media, news networks, terrorists, Democrats, political correctness, and the student behavior tolerated by universities in the name of freedom of speech.”

“Our nation’s inability to discuss issues rationally and reach reasonable compromises. The apparent lack of knowledge or appreciation for history by many current leaders.”

“How self centered, divided and unkind we, Americans, have become.”

“Our democracy. Learning the role of being (a good) mother of an ADULT child. Ecological fragility.”

“Lack of appropriate temperament in our current President and likelihood he may start a war.”

“My children, my aging parents, my aging house, my aging body.”

“Not enough time in life to read all the books I would like to read; and whether my kids will have a good relationship with me when they’re adults.”

“Untapped potential, feeling lonely, suffering of loved ones.”

“This box isn’t big enough.”

Many thanks to the person kind enough to add:

“That you might get tired of doing your blog.”

And I should probably acknowledge one other worry voiced in this section:

“My wife’s inner voice as a dog.”

There are a few non-worriers out there, and I am so glad the world includes you, too. (“Not much. Life is short. God has a plan. I am along for the ride.”)

Thank you also for sharing what makes you happy, including:

“Being loved by my husband and great friends. Finding, reading and sharing a great book. Those “Aha” moments of revelation and awareness. My cat. Learning.”

“A splendid sentence. The perfect muddy, smoky, smudged shade of rust or olive. Hats. Cities. Benny Goodman’s ‘Sing, Sing, Sing.’”

“34 year old Scotch.”

“1) music; 2) baseball (my sons’ team in particular); 3) golf (me in particular); 4) hamburgers (or steak!) with the family and a nice Cotes du Rhone on a warm weekend evening.”

“Lunch with friends, walks on the canal, low humidity days, reading, travel, going to the theater, dancing in my kitchen, board games, old friends.”

“The Golden Isles! And when a new book is coming along swimmingly.”

“My dog. My family, sometimes. Quiet time to myself. The ocean.”

“Bodies of water from puddles to pools to oceans, stars, books.”

“Beauty, truth, the created order, daring ideas, ancient traditions that still breathe life, good stories, love, writing and thinking that offers hope…”

“Good and kind people. Live singer-songwriter music. Yoga. Hiking in the mountains. Walking on the beach. A great meal at home.”

“Puppies and laughing babies.”

“Animals great and small. Exploring ruins internationally. Snorkeling the great reefs that exist in far oceans. Books of course. Archaeology. Friends. My husband and Jack Russell. No one has asked me this before and I am over 70. I have asked it many times to teenagers!!”

“Accomplishing things on my list, growing as a person, sharing good advice with someone else, and my core peeps doing well in their varied lives.”

“Teaching, my marriage, our children, and our grandchildren, my garden. Travel.”

“My children and three Goldens.”

“When I am free to be myself.”

I feel that I know you better, Bacon readers. Thank you for taking the time to complete the survey. If you didn’t find the right moment, please feel free to comment below or send me an email!

I’m sorry I couldn’t acknowledge every wonderful – or critical – comment in this post. Please know that I have read all of the surveys closely and so appreciate the feedback. I’m thinking a lot about what you have said.

Finally – please look out for two guest posts lined up for the end of July – An Interview with author Corabel Shofner on her wonderful middle grade novel, Almost Paradise, and Sara Bhatia’s guest post on Janesville: An American Story. Following those, I’ll take August off and see you again in September!

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Thank you so much, Josh Goggans (Beanstalk Creative) for the beautifully designed survey.

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Image of Friday copyright here.

Image of nonfiction copyright here.

Image of bacon and eggs copyright here.

Image of double rainbow copyright here.

Images of me: by Ashley Hylbert.


  1. Loved this so much 🙂

  2. Jennifer,
    Bacon on the Bookshelf is a gift from your heart and soul. We are blessed by you for it.
    Thank you, truly.

  3. This might be the best post ever. I love how honest readers were and how much they shared. I love your curiosity about what your community is seeking and intention about how best to change and go forward. I love the pictures of you and Pepper. I laughed aloud at the mysterious worrier who has a wife with an inner voice named Pepper. Bravo!

    • Thank you, Mary! I was blown away by the honesty and beauty of the responses about worries and happiness. I’m so glad you enjoyed this post & let’s please get together for coffee & book talk soon. xo

  4. I too really love this post! Respondents’ lists of worries and happy things are wonderful — thoughtful, nuanced, and richly textured. Thank you for asking, and for sharing these replies. And have a lovely, relaxing August!

    • One of the greatest pleasures of this blog has been the chance to be in closer touch with you, Sara… thank you so much for the encouragement, the contributions, and thinking some of these things through with me (blog direction) when I was in D.C.! xo

  5. What a wonderful synopsis of a survey! You turned it into a story with insights into our fellow readers. Enjoy your month off in August.

  6. I’ll take my Bacon any way I can get it! And fantastic photo of you and Pepper. Fridays can’t come soon enough. We need it out here…

  7. Loved reading this and knowing that Fridays are the day going forward.

  8. I LOVE Pepper’s posts!!

  9. Great post! One more reason to look forward to Friday’s!!

  10. Jennifer, if you are writing about it, talking about it, or posting about it, I want to know about it! It is so nice to have a wise, witty, and wonderful voice in my mailbox. You are a gift! Xoxo

  11. I love this post! Your willingness to be open to criticism and to praise with an open heart is indeed inspiring – and truly entertaining. The whole community you are creating is so special! Have a great break and I will look forward to Fridays in September and onward!!!

  12. I find this post sooooo comforting. Thank you! A window into so many likeminded minds! And that guy whose wife has an inner dog voice is a lucky guy.

    • I think that guy actually does wonder about my mental health – haha! I’ve long since embraced crazy. It makes me so happy that you found this post a comfort. I felt that way too. Though some of the worries made me sad and – worried. It reminds you that people are so often walking around with deep concerns. Thanks so much for chiming in, Buttercup – xo

  13. Looking forward to Friday’s in the fall!! Love Bacon!

  14. Bacon is a gift and you are the giver! Keep up the good work. I couldn’t read without it.

  15. Best survey results summary EVER.

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