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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April 19, 2020
by jenniferpuryear

Neighborhood Wildlife in the Time of Corona

This week, I spotted 4 vultures in a tree in our yard, a wandering turkey two houses down, two ducks enjoying a conjugal visit in a local pond, and cardinals and mockingbirds, in particular, establishing territory. I also spotted two couples from our neighborhood who came over for an outdoor, socially distant cocktail (on different afternoons). I was kind-of worried about the vultures, but a …

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March 26, 2020
by jenniferpuryear

Life in the Time of Corona: I Lift My Eyes

  Today’s post is brought to you by poet Margaret Widdemer (1884-1978), my friend Mary Jo Shankle, my friend Patricia Eastwood, and the local trees. Have you ever heard of Margaret Widdemer? Me either. She shared what is now the Pulitzer with Carl Sandburg in 1918; he was recognized for “Cornhuskers” and she for “The Old Road to Paradise.” I’m going to try to get …

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August 30, 2016
by jenniferpuryear

Guest Post by Mary Jo Shankle: Where You Can Find Me

Where you can find Mary Jo Shankle is in her garden – here in Nashville or at their mountaintop retreat “Shankri-la” in Sewanee.  After the Sir Winston Churchill narcissi and irises and peonies come the hydrangeas.  Then the coneflowers and zinnias, bee balm and lavender.  Happiest of all:  the creeping thyme.  Rather, happiest of all:  Mary Jo. Today, she shares her thoughts on Sheri Joseph’s Where You Can Find …

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August 6, 2015
by jenniferpuryear

Guest Post by Mary Jo Shankle: Portrait of a Marriage (“The Triumph of Love Over Infatuation”)

Book Title: Portrait of a Marriage

Mary Jo Shankle has checked a lot of important things off the list:  kids situated in college, screened-in porch built, Extreme Volunteer Commitments wrapped up (for now).  In the last 6 months, she’s focused on her health – and you can tell.  Mary Jo is a girlfriend who gets the job done!  A sense of humor coupled with a strong work ethic goes a long way. …

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September 24, 2014
by jenniferpuryear

A Note to Eudora Welty Fans

Bacon contributor Mary Jo Shankle recently wrote a beautiful post on Welty’s Delta Wedding and wanted to share an unusual opportunity.  From Mary Jo: A note to Welty fans in the middle Tennessee area…the downtown branch of the Nashville Public Library is featuring an exhibition of 36 of her photographs taken in the 1930s and ’40s.  Welty was a prolific photographer and her work includes portraits, …

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August 28, 2014
by jenniferpuryear

Guest Post: Mary Jo Shankle on a Delta Wedding

Mary Jo Shankle, my friend and neighbor, keeps it real and makes me laugh.  She claims that her special talent is knowing when to turn off the rice.  “Seriously, I have an instinct. I am also very good at intuiting possible problems with any plan. It drives many people crazy.”  Guilty pleasures include old movies (especially musicals), truffle oil, and letting the dogs on the …

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