The Great Believers: An Excerpt from Rebecca Makkai’s New Must-Read Novel

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The following excerpt comes from the opening pages of The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai. This engaging and heartbreaking novel alternates between two storylines — one centered around a group of friends in Chicago during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and one set in 2015 Paris as a woman searches for her adult daughter. The novel is already a staff favorite at Parnassus, and you can get your copy here. 

Twenty miles from here, twenty miles north, the funeral mass was starting. Yale checked his watch as they walked up Belden. He said to Charlie, “How empty do you think that church is?”

Charlie said, “Let’s not care.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Work He Was Born to Do: Jim Ridley’s Legacy Lives on in New Book

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Maria Browning contributes this review of People Only Die of Love in Movies: Film Writing by Jim Ridley, a new book of Ridley’s film reviews, edited by Steve Haruch. This piece also runs at Chapter16.org.

“Beloved” is not a word usually associated with critics, but Jim Ridley, who spent 20 years as a film critic at the alt-weekly Nashville Scene and another seven as its editor, was absolutely beloved. When he died in 2016 after collapsing in his Scene office, the wave of sorrow rippled far beyond his personal circle. Many people who knew him only through his writing felt as if they’d lost a brilliant friend. A new collection of his work, People Only Die of Love in Movies, confirms that, in a very real sense, they had. Ridley’s voice was dazzling, honest, joyful, and a consistent force for good in the cultural life of the city he loved. Read the rest of this entry »

22 New Favorites for Young Readers: From Picture Books to YA

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Summer’s here, and you know what that means: time to read whatever you want! We’re happy to help kids gather all their school-required books — and our kid-lit experts can show you lots of new and exciting just-for-fun reads, too. We’d love to recommend a stack tailored specifically to your young reader’s taste. Read the rest of this entry »

Faith and Family at a Crossroads: Southernmost by Silas House

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Nashville-based writer Jeff Zentner contributes today’s interview of Silas House, author of the new novel Southernmost.

I’ve been a huge Silas House fan ever since reading his novel Clay’s Quilt on the recommendation of an author friend. Nobody writes the varied landscapes — physical, emotional, and cultural — of the American South quite like he does. From the buzzsaw thrum of cicadas on a stifling summer night, to the gray smell of stones cooled in river water, to the beads of condensation on a pitcher of sweet tea, to a quiet moment of connection between a father and a son, the heart of this place beats in his books. Read the rest of this entry »

Early Summer Faves: 31 Bookseller-Picked Reads

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Our best-books-of-right-now list ranges from sweet odes upon fatherhood and warmly relatable stories about growing up to heart-stopping suspense and surreal sci-fi. Then there’s some humor and cooking, a little memoir . . . OK, we’re all over the place this month, but that’s the deal: booksellers pick their favorites, no rules. That’s what makes this list so good, right? Read the rest of this entry »

Libro.fm: The Audiobook App That’s Changing How You Listen to Books

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(Libro.fm: because you can’t just plug headphones into your favorite hardcovers.)

Love a good audiobook? Us, too. No, really — we do. Parnassus booksellers may spend their days preaching the gospel of the printed page, but sometimes we have to sit through a long road-trip or knock out a few hours of household chores (ugh, laundry) — occasions when an audiobook makes for perfect entertainment. Many of you have told us you feel the same way. Read the rest of this entry »

Escape Into These 8 Perfectly Beachy New Reads (No Invitation Necessary)

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You might typically be a green salad and egg-white omelet type, but it’s hard to resist the pull of fried shrimp and frozen margaritas at this time of year. Summer’s starting, and even those of us stuck in landlocked Tennessee are thinking of the beach. So pass the cocktail sauce, and in exchange, let us serve up some books that fit the mood, starting with Dorothea Benton Frank’s latest, By Invitation Only. Read the rest of this entry »