Sure, you could credit the huge pre-order sales of Edan Lepucki’s California to the “Colbert bump” that helped launch it from first-novel obscurity onto the New York Times bestseller list, but don’t dismiss all the attention as empty hype. This book is worth every bit of the buzz. Now that it’s out, we’re seeing customers at the new releases table recommending it to each other — “Have you read THIS yet?” — and those word-of-mouth sales aren’t likely to stop anytime soon.
(If you missed it earlier, watch that video clip here. You can also see Lepucki’s guest turn on Colbert’s show this week here.)
California is dark literary fiction with cross-genre appeal. This end-of-the-world tale sticks with you but doesn’t give you nightmares quite like, say, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road did, in part because Lepucki keeps her focus on the relationship at the center of the story: the marriage of 20-somethings Cal and Frida. The pair have fled the crumbled remains of Los Angeles to live in the wilderness after the world as we know it has begun to die due to a combination of not-unimaginable disasters — catastrophic weather, earthquakes, an oil crisis, disease pandemics, and economic collapse. Lepucki zooms in on the couple’s tender moments and their petty arguments, proving that nothing — not even a slowly impending apocalypse — precludes the time-honored tradition of marital bickering.
We couldn’t be more thrilled that Lepucki is headed to Nashville next week. What we didn’t realize when we booked her trip, however, was this:
Well, then. We have a job to do, Nashville! It’s time to reach out to the author of…
and introduce her to our great little part of…
So, anyone who’s from Nashville, loves Nashville, or is the owner of a Nashville-based restaurant or other business Lepucki should know about, this is the chance to help plan her itinerary!
Here, we’ll get things rolling:
Begin your day with a hike around beautiful Radnor Lake, which will make you feel like you’re in the wilderness even though you’re right in the middle of town. Unlike Cal and Frida’s forest, this one has parking, a bathroom, marked trails, and no pirates hunting you. (Recommended by Sissy)
Reward yourself for that hike with a trip to The Loveless Cafe for breakfast. The biscuits are to die for, and you really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. Tip to avoid a lengthy wait: Call when you’re on your way (615.646.9700), and ask to be placed on the call-ahead list. (Recommended by Niki)
Take in some local sights. Start with a visit to Nashville’s full-scale replica of The Parthenon, and don’t miss the enormous, breathtaking Athena statue — recreated in exquisite detail by local artist Alan LeQuire. (Recommended by Ann)
Tour the historic Ryman Auditorium, which started out as the Union Gospel Tabernacle when it first opened in 1892, then went on to become the home of the Grand Ole Opry, before turning into what it is today — “the mother church” of all live music venues. (Recommended by Karen)
If you need a spot to sit and work while friendly people keep you fueled with delicious food and/or coffee and/or cocktails, snag a comfy little seating nook at Pinewood Social. Bonus: If you need a break, you can take to the lanes in the bowling alley behind the bar. (Recommended by Mary Laura)
Ready for barbecue now? A big squabble broke out when we asked the staff which place in town is best. Stephanie likes Edley’s and some folks prefer Whitt’s, but Andy gets to give the official recommendation, because he’s the manager. He insists you go to Martin’s BBQ Joint (located conveniently near Parnassus). “If you like wings,” Andy says, “the ones with the white Alabama sauce are really good.”
Then, of course, on Tuesday the 29th, it’ll be time to head to Parnassus at 6:30 for the discussion and signing of California.
* * *
We could name about 100 more of our favorite places, but why don’t we turn it over to our readers? Leave a comment below (short, sweet, and on topic, please) with suggestions for what an author should do on her first trip here!
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown and Company, 7/2014
anything in Franklin TN…all good. music, food quaint antique shops. etc.
Patterson House has amazing cocktails, and you’ll feel like you’re in some kind of 1920s speakeasy. Super glam.
Local radio morning show host Wells Adams says:
More from Twitter!
Barista Parlor…some of THE best coffee you’ll ever have. Mad Tacos for killer tacos. Jeni’s for ice cream. Heck…East Nashville in General is a must-do!
Oops…meant Mas Tacos…though it is Mad good!
Nashville has a vibrant local craft beer scene – check out a taproom at one of our breweries (see my blog beerinnashville.com for lists and reviews)
A couple of other food places to check out in downtown Nashville are Jack’s BBQ and Puckett’s!
Oh! And, in the spirit of Frida, Edan should grab a bite at Bread & Company on her way to Parnassus!
Sinema upstairs for a cocktail, BLVD for a burger or Martin’s for BBQ and people watching on Belmont blvd, or the Frist for art exhibits.
Rolf & Daughters is a “must do” restaurant. OMG (old made good) & Hey Rooster General Store are great vintage shops in east Nashville. The 12 south area is nice to walk around with Sevier park, great restaurants, & Las paletas on a hot day. Enjoy NASHVILLE!!
Hatch Show Print!
After visiting the Parthenon, have lunch at Rotiers!
Go to Franklin, TN and explore the town for an afternoon! Come back to Nashville at night and dine al fresco at Watermark!!!
Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, Monell’s for family-style southern cooking, Ryman Auditorium, Yazoo Taproom
As a downtown Franklin resident, I must recommend a visit to ‘The Greatest Southern Town’ during your Nashville stay. My recommendations are all here: http://www.12thandbroad.com/story/news/2014/04/14/insiders-guide-greatest-southern-town-franklin-tn/7705509/
I think the Country Music Hall of Fame is badass and beautiful.
I love staying at The Hermitage when I’m in Nashville…
Germantown is a must. It’s a host to fabulous dining and a truly urban live, work, play environment. Checkout Rolf & Daughters, City House, Silo and 312 Pizza for lunch/dinner. Enjoy breakfast at Flour Sugar Eggs or Red Bicycle. Walk over to the Farmers Market and enjoy a sandwich from Sloco. As you’re walking around the neighborhood, be sure to stop in Cupcake Collection for the most fabulous cupcake that you’ll ever put in your mouth!!! Enjoy the mix of new and old architecture mixed with an industrial vibe!
Take a little trip out Hwy 100 to the Loveless Cafe and Motel! It’s fun, and the homestyle cooking is pretty darn good considering that Mama isn’t on site to do it herself. Very southern and located in a pretty place. Yum
And some suggestions from Facebook…
Skip Martin’s and go to B&C or Peg Leg for BBQ. Hattie B’s for Hot Chicken. Best kept secret burger is the local burger at Fido. Burger Republic is also a fine choice. Desano’s Pizza is also worth a mention. For typical southern fare, I get lunch at Arnold’s.
Check out the showings at Belcourt Theatre followed by a meal or snack at Fido’s, both conveniently located in Hillsboro Village.
Oh you know how much 12th & Broad loves to give Nashville Itineraries! Edan, go ahead and get our daily newsletter, which tells you what events and places you should check out EVERY day. If you sign up now, you may be able to craft your own list of places to go and, of course, the events will be relevant when you’re actually here.
Meanwhile, do your research on some of Nashville neatest neighborhoods. We’ve got an Insider’s Guide to Elliston Place, Hillsboro Village and our neighbor, Franklin. You can find those, and other neighborhood news (such as a list of ALL the BBQ places) here:
Be sure to have a scoop of ice cream at Jeni’s in 12South…you could entertain yourself all day long in that neighborhood.
We think you should check out the new arts district, Wedgewood-Houston. Ask a local to take you there to see all the new art galleries springing up there. Of course, 5th Avenue of the Arts downtown, is a must-see too.
We suggest you grab lunch on Belmont Blvd. at one of the cafes or coffee shop there and stop in to look at some great local vintage.
Get someone to help you navigate East Nashville. You must check out Five Points. While there, peek into Art & Invention Gallery and visit East Side Story and the other vintage shops next to it. We suggest you eat nearby on McFerrin (Mas Tacos, The Pharmacy, or Holland House) afterwards.
Oh, and Marathon Village is a fun spot. You muuuust have a gourmet marshmallow at Bang Candy Company. Take a peek into Otis James’ shop, too.
For a classic, Nashville, meat-n-three, head to Arnold’s off of 8th Avenue (near Music City Center).
Be sure to sample some of our local brews, such as Yazoo, Jackalope or Turtle Anarchy.
Cheers & Welcome!
~12th & Broad
Don’t miss Cheekwood Mansion and Botanical Gardens. There is an Andy Warhol exhibit in the mansion….his “flower period.” For absolute hilarity, take the NashTrash tour. And come to my garden to eat homegrown tomatoes, squash, eggplant, turnip greens, blackberries, God knows what else….
An absolute must for breakfast or brunch (on the weekend) is Marche in East Nashville!