Bacon on the Bookshelf

Savory picks for the free range reader

June 9, 2020
by jenniferpuryear

“Perched on the Strange Cusp of History”: Hope, Despair, Science, Love, Quaran-Streaming…

I sometimes feel despair when I read the news in the morning. Maybe you’re feeling it too, but for different reasons. Can you and I possibly get to a place of collective hope? Where we can together be proud of our country and also have the energy to keep forming a more perfect union? “We’ll get through this,” said one of my friends. And I …

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June 7, 2020
by jenniferpuryear

Sunday Morning Special: It Is Well With My Soul

Only watch this video if you want to cry. I suppose I thank God for tears. The Nashville studio musician collective “Ten Two Six” recorded this version of “It Is Well With My Soul” by cell phone some weeks ago. I am reminded of what a stunningly beautiful and harmonious city and country we can be – and that we are – in many ways. …

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June 4, 2020
by jenniferpuryear

Great Reads for Time Travelers

My friend Gray Thornburg sent me an article from “National Geographic” featuring the favorite travel reads of several bestselling authors. The authors were scheduled to speak at the Hay Festival in Wales this month (the Festival went digital instead – beautifully!). Five of the books sound so enchanting – gentle invitations to imagine a different time and place and to reflect on essential virtues of …

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May 28, 2020
by jenniferpuryear

Betsy & Meade: A Few Thoughts on FOGO and Fava Beans…

My FOGO (“Fear of Going Out”) is worst in the morning after skimming too many articles on Apple News (even with the fortification of a second strawberry Pop-Tart and second cup of tea). It’s only when I go outside and water the flowers that I’m not as scared of the world. My fear tends to diminish as the day goes on. I may even fly …

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May 21, 2020
by jenniferpuryear

Girlfriends in the Time of Corona: I Don’t Give Anxiety Permission (But Wine Is Allowed)

Sometimes a girlfriend knows you better than you know yourself. Sometimes a girlfriend likes you better than you like yourself. Sometimes a girlfriend laughs with you and helps you laugh at yourself. Agenia Clark and Marlee Mitchell make each other laugh, and they’ll make you smile too! Agenia Clark is the charismatic CEO of Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee; Marlee Mitchell is a badass, National-Park-loving …

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May 18, 2020
by jenniferpuryear

Science, Woo-Woo, and Country Fried Pragmatism: Life in the Time of Corona

My friend Stephanie Pruitt Gaines moves through the world with big love and big creative energy. She’s a poet who puts poems in vending machines; she’s an “artrepreuneur”; she advises the Nashville Public Library. She and her husband Al are world famous for “Poems & Pancakes”! Okay, maybe locally famous. They are known and loved for it. Stephanie is known and loved all over Nashville. …

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May 15, 2020
by jenniferpuryear

Friday Night Special: John and Allison Beasley in The Villa on the Hilla

“John Beasley is Vanderbilt University” for many alumni and friends of the school, said then-Chancellor Joe Wyatt on Beasley’s retirement after a five-decade career. John has been a wit, a wag, and an institution himself, widely admired and respected. Does it sound too old fashioned to say that Allison Beasley has been right by his side? I’ll just say it. She’s been right by his …

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May 12, 2020
by jenniferpuryear

Life in the Time of Corona: Dispatch from Lake Tillery

“Lake Tillery” sounds like someplace in Narnia. It occurs to me that I might need to reread The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Or the brilliant Magicians trilogy by Lev Grossman. Fillory – I’m remembering now – is the name of the magical land visited by the young people in Grossman’s novels. “The Magicians is to Harry Potter as a shot of Irish whiskey …

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