Books Under the Tree: The BIG Holiday Gift List

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Great news: We’ve made your gift list for you. Well — truth be told, this list is just a start. So come by and browse! Our booksellers would love to make custom recommendations for your friends, family, colleagues, significant others, neighbors, kids, teachers…

Not in Nashville? No worries. Just click any title below to read more about it or toss it into your online shopping cart. We offer fast shipping and FREE gift-wrap — and we always throw in a little something extra, like a shop dog postcard or Parnassus bookmark. Let’s get started:

For fiction-lovers:

The Tsar of Love and Techno: Stories

For the voracious book eater who loves to binge-read a series:


Get under a blanket by the fire and arrange for someone to bring you takeout so you don’t have to put these down. – Mary Laura Philpott

And also:

The Last 100 Years Trilogy

By Jane Smiley
Some Luck 
Early Warning
The Golden Age

For your friend who lives under a rock and hasn’t yet experienced these much-buzzed-about books:  

Fates and Furies

I think I’ve witnessed more discussion and debate over this book among customers at the new fiction table than any other. – Mary Laura Philpott



For the English major who still loves to compare-and-contrast:

The Harper Lee Collection: To Kill a Mockingbird + Go Set a Watchman

For the person who can’t say no to a great tale of revolution:

The Distant Marvels

If you’re drawn to Cuban culture and history, you’ll love this. Acevedo will have you wishing you were in an old mansion during a hurricane, too, just so you could hear this story in person. – Catherine Bock
For the future Daily Show correspondent:

The Sellout

If you were wondering where the next era-defining political satire is, it’s right here. – Lindsay Lynch
For anyone with a body and a heart:


Do you have a body? Does it have a heart? Then you should read this book. I would GIVE it to you if I could. – Stephanie Appell

For the burgeoning super-villain and/or mad scientist in your family:


By V. E. Schwab 
Full of biting humor and scathing wit, this tale of a science experiment gone perfectly wrong will either serve as a dire warning or instructional encouragement. – Grace Wright

For the bibliophile who thinks they have everything or anyone who likes getting their mind completely blown:

 The Country of Ice Cream Star 

By Sandra Newman

This fierce, resplendent book changes literature as we know it and is guaranteed to have the recipient crowing your praises for decades to come as the one who gave them the book that changed their life. – Grace Wright

For your colleague who always wants to talk about the podcast in the breakroom:

Welcome to Night Vale

For your brother who can’t flip past a movie like Scarface or Donnie Brasco on cable without stopping to watch the whole thing: 

The Cartel

For your book club leader who loves a book/movie combo:

The Danish Girl

Now in paperback, by David Ebershoff

And of course this bestseller, set to hit the big screen next year:

The Girl on the Train


For when only “the best” will do:


100 Years of the Best American Short Stories

More best-of:

For every adventure-lover, from granny to grandchild:

The Explorers Guild, Volume One: A Passage to Shambhala

By Kevin Costner, Jon Baird, Rick Ross (Illustrator)
This incredibly original work about The Expoyers Guild reveals a secret society of adventurers “seeking to discover the mysteries that lie beyond the known world.” (Purchase a signed edition by Kevin Coster — yes, that Kevin Coster — while they last.) – River Jordan
For the Mark Twain fan:

Twain & Stanley Enter Paradise

The last book by the late author Oscar Hijuelos tells the story of the real and fascinating friendship between two famous, ego-driven men. – Kathy Schultenover
For the aunt everyone tells great stories about:

Sweet Caress

This historical novel is a sweeping tale of the 20th century, which serves as a backdrop for the life of Amory Clay — early feminist, photographer, and wild woman. – Kathy Schultenover
For your book-snob uncle who says no novel will ever live up to the perfection of Stoner:  

Stoner: 50th Anniversary Edition

Special wrapped edition from the New York Review of Books, including author correspondence, by John Williams, with introduction by John McGahern
For the professor you’re trying to impress:

The Recognitions

This erudite and bountiful novel, available in paperback, offers a nearly prophetic look at the increasingly wispy boundary between the false and the genuine — a theme subsequently explored by writers like Heller and Pynchon. Perfect for a deep thinker who’s open to a story that’s not instantly understandable. – Nathan Spoon
For anyone we didn’t sell it to last holiday season:

The Cuckoo’s Calling 

How you got by me, I will never know. Buy this for anyone who didn’t get it last year. – Niki Coffman

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Want to surprise your favorite book lover with a Parnassus T-shirt? How about a mug? New book- and Nashville-themed stocking stuffers, ornaments, and gifts are coming in every day. Come see!


Looking for nonfiction? Here you go:

For smart, driven, creative types who get energized reading about the same:

M Train

 By Patti Smith
A signed copy of Patti Smith’s collection of musings is the perfect gift for the literary music lover or hardworking, lifelong artist. – Karen Hayes

More memoirs by women at the top of their game:

For your friend who hordes old vinyl and/or works in the music biz:

Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll

This biography of the man who believed in “perfect imperfection” is as multi-layered as the music he recorded. – Rae Ann Parker

The music-lover might also like:

You name the band, Glyn has recorded them. He remembers all the fun stories, too. – Bill Long-Innes
For the civic-minded history buff:

Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush

A thorough look at a man who spent most of his life in service to his country, this new biography by Pulitzer Prize winner and Nashville resident Jon Meacham illustrates that leadership goes beyond ideology. – Andy Brennan

For dad, especially if he grew up in the 60s; or for anyone with a hobby that has shaped their life :

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life


For teachers, parents, or anyone in a position to discuss sensitive issues of race and culture with young people: 

Between the World and Me

A letter from a father to a teenage son about history and humanity, fear and the future, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
For your really smart kid who asks a lot of questions (or your less-smart adult friend, who does the same):

Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words

This beautiful book explains a lot of things in simple terms. – Ginger Nalley

For your friend who’s always writing things down on old receipts and Post-it notes and then wondering where they went:

Screen Shot 2015-11-29 at 9.06.20 AMHandmade Leather Journals

Crafted by Linen Laid & Felt (available in-store)

Locally made leather journals are soft, gorgeous, luxurious. – Sissy Gardner


For your sister, who’s totally into the Nashville food scene:

Nashville Eats: Hot Chicken, Buttermilk Biscuits, and 100 More Southern Recipes from Music City

This beautifully illustrated collection of recipes and anecdotes from (and about) local chefs and personalities makes a perfect gift. – Karen Hayes
We have signed copies of that one, plus these… while they last!
For the master-level chef (or the person who thinks they are) in your house: 

My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life

If you believe in the healing power of words and food, Reichl’s delicious new book is the perfect prescription. (Signed copies available while they last.) – Karen Hayes

See also:

For the person who can do 20 push-ups, school Scalia, brunch with Gloria Steinem, and legalize gay marriage before most people even start their workday:

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

A celebration of the Supreme Court’s biggest celebrity. – Lindsay Lynch
For anyone who’s a little stuck and needs inspiration:

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Give this book to the most creative people in your life and the people you would most like to see become creative. It gives the reader permission to bloom, whether that’s writing a novel or painting a porch or making a cake.(Signed copies available.) – Ann Patchett


More to cheer you up and cheer you on:

I didn’t intend to buy this book, but once I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down — it’s all the things you underlined in her other books, packed into a little volume you can open again and again and say, “Yes,  that.” (Signed copies available.) – Sissy Gardner

For the grownup’s stocking:

The Little Miss/Mr. Parodies

Contemporary characters such as Mr. Humblebrag by humorist Dan Zevin

Grab a stack of these smart laughs, too:


For the go-getter who likes to talk work at the dinner table:

The Courage to Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and Its Aftermath

For the book-obsessed individual to whom a book about books doesn’t seem too bookish at all:

Last Night’s Reading: Illustrated Encounters with Extraordinary Authors

Bookstore-lovers will dig it. Check out these illustrations and quotes! – Kathy Schultenover


And furthermore:
For the armchair traveler:

Metropolis: Mapping the City

By Jeremy Black

From skyline profiles, bird’s-eye views, and panoramas, to the schematic maps of transport networks and road layouts, this enlightening and fascinating book illustrates the inner-workings of some of the oldest, youngest, and liveliest cities in the world. – Andy Brennan
For the gardener:

What a Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses

How does a Venus Flytrap know when to snap shut? This fascinating paperback guide is the best at showing how plants experience the world. – Bill Long-Innes
And a beautiful view of gardens as outdoor living rooms:


 For anyone overcome with nostalgia for days gone by:

Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story

The auto industry, Motown, the UAW, and visionary leaders showing the way to a brighter tomorrow… In 1960s Detroit anything seemed possible; but Maraniss reveals that even in its heydey, there was evidence that the glory days wouldn’t last. – Andy Brennan

See also:

For someone facing a challenge who could use an example of brave people doing hard things:

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

You might also consider:

For 20-somethings and 30-somethings (and 40-somethings…) still figuring life out:

Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget

A funny, honest, and thoughtful account of coming to terms with alcoholism (including many tales of “cleaning up after an evil twin”) by a great writer and longtime Salon editor. – Mary Laura Philpott


Also fabulous:

Essential reading for creative types young and old, and for any girl who refuses to make a sandwich for anyone but her own damn self. – Lindsay Lynch

For the person who has read every John Le Carré book twice:

John Le Carre: The Biography

For the teacher:

It’s Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going!

While it would be a lot of information for kids to take on by themselves, this book would be inspiring for teachers at any grade level. Kids want to make the world a better place, and this is the book to show them how to do it. (Signed copies available.) – Ann Patchett
For all pilgrim souls and soccer moms yearning to breathe free:

Deep Lane: Poems

Doty explores the strange beauty of grieving, its potential to transfigure suffering into hope, and the pain of emptiness when it doesn’t. In other words: this is a book with pretty words that made me feel things. – Margy Roark

Also for poetry-lovers:

For the abstract art enthusiast:

The Essential Cy Twombly

A feast for the eye and the mind. – Nathan Spoon
For the hostess, mother-in-law, or anyone else you’re nervous about giving to (tip: a beautiful coffee-table book is always a safe bet):

John Baeder’s Road Well Taken

By John Baeder
This local painter is nationally recognized as a chronicler of the vanishing landscapes of  America.(Signed copies available.) – Karen Hayes


A fantastic choice for anyone who loves literature and photography, this is a combination of both — photographs on the theme of “two,” plus accompanying short texts by great writers.(Signed copies available.) – Catherine Bock

The Southern Rustic Cabin

These photos will especially appeal to anyone who pores over interior design magazines (where Emily Followill is a regular photographer) — or your friends who run off to the mountains every chance they get. – Mary Laura Philpott
For that friend who’s always getting lost, sometimes on purpose: 

Slow Roads Tennessee: A Photographic Journey Down Timeless Byways

Folks who love exploring backroads will be enthralled by Jerry Park’s collection of Holga photographs (made with a low-fi plastic film camera). Every county in Tennessee is represented! Signed copies available. – Karen Hayes


For dog-lovers:

Dogs as I See Them

By Lucy Dawson (signed by foreword author Ann Patchett)
This book is perfect for anyone who likes dogs, and really, why would you want to give a present to someone who doesn’t like dogs? It’s been out of print since the 1940s, and it’s a joy to have it back again. – Ann Patchett


The Dogist: Photographic Encounters with 1,000 Dogs

By Elias Weiss Friedman

The right gift for anyone with a soul. Who doesn’t love beautiful photography of adorable dogs? – Niki Coffman

Beloved Dog

Kalman wittily annotates and illustrates how these beloved animals enrich our lives in this illustrated volume that differs from the typical photos-of-cute-pups book. – Karen Hayes


The cover is gorgeous (seriously, could I get this as wallpaper for my powder room?); the illustrations are equal parts hilarious and mesmerizing (look at the facial expressions on that pooch!); and the “journal” of Plum, the author’s dog, is just what you’d hope a dog would write if a dog could. – Mary Laura Philpott
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A signed book makes a great gift! Our inventory of signed books is always changing; you can see the current stock here. CYBER MONDAY SPECIAL: Monday only, enter code CYBER15 at checkout (or shop in the store), and get 20% off any book signed by the author!

And as always, we’re happy to choose the books for you. Simply sign your book-lover up for a pre-paid gift membership in one of our book-of-the-month clubs (ParnassusNext for young adult fiction; or the Signed First Editions Club for regular adult fiction/nonfiction), and they’ll receive a brand-new, hardcover, first edition book every month. The best new releases, selected by our expert booksellers, always autographed by the author. Easy!

Don’t miss part two of the BIG gift list, right here on MUSING: The super-spectacular, extra-huge list of books and gifts for young readers — including picture books, early readers, middle-grade novels, and YA!