43 Books to Read Right Now


Sometimes, when we know there’s a slew of spectacular books coming out later in the season,  we have to force ourselves to slow down and savor the books we can enjoy today. Are there some awesome books coming our way later this fall? Yes, indeed. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves! Here are some of our booksellers’ current book-crushes — brand-new September releases, new-in-paperbacks, and even a few old favorites. 

(As always, just click the title if you’d like to toss the book into your cart and have it sent your way.)

FC9781579655303.JPG The Flower Recipe Book

Tired of shoving a bundle of flowers into a cylindrical vase? The Flower Recipe Book provides step-by-step instructions on how to do a MUCH better job. Maybe it’s aspirational but I loved looking at the pictures. It’s a great gift book. – Ann Patchett

The Testament of Mary Cover ImageThe Testament of Mary

I’m on a Colm Toibin kick and this tiny book is perhaps his masterpiece. I listened to the audio, which is three hours long and read by Meryl Streep. Forget about getting out of the car once you’ve turned it on. – Ann Patchett

John Henry Days Cover ImageJohn Henry Days

Have you read Whitehead’s newest book, The Underground Railroad yet? If no, pick this book up next. If yes, pick up this book next. Whitehead timeshifts and combines myth with reality like no other writer today. He has always been a singular writer and with The Underground Railroad he is finally getting the recognition he deserves.

The Risen Cover ImageThe Risen

This is the story of two brothers whose lives are irrevocably altered by the events of the summer of 1969 and one bewitching young woman whose sensuality threatens to upend their lives, even 40 years later. Ron Rash gets the period detail so right in this suspenseful book. – Kathy Schultenover

The Atomic Weight of Love Cover ImageThe Atomic Weight of Love

Women’s liberation comes too late for Meridian Wallace as she bides her time in the desert of Los Alamos with her scientist husband, but passionate love does come along. Sound too soapy? Wrong! Good writing and lots to talk and think about. – Kathy Schultenover

The Last Policeman Cover ImageThe Last Policeman

Ben Winters is getting loads of praise for Underground Airlines, and I hope readers will take a moment to try his stellar backlist. This novel (the first in a trilogy) about a detective trying to solve a murder against a backdrop of impending global annihilation won the Edgar Award for Best Mystery. – Tristan Charles

A Modern Way to Cook: 150+ Vegetarian Recipes for Quick, Flavor-Packed Meals Cover ImageA Modern Way to Cook: 150+ Vegetarian Recipes for Quick, Flavor-Packed Meals

The author of A Modern Way to Eat is back with a sequel that continues her refreshing, no-nonsense, easy approach to vegetarian home cooking. – Tristan Charles

Grace Cover ImageGrace

Naomi was a slave in 1840s Alabama until she escaped, but she was murdered while on the run just after giving birth to a baby girl, Josey. From the grave, Naomi narrates her own history and the life story of her daughter, whom she watches over. I barely took a breath for the first 30 pages. – Mary Laura Philpott

Unknown Caller Cover ImageUnknown Caller

I can see why this enthralling and mysterious story of a brief, failed marriage and its complicated aftermath earned raves from the likes of novelists Tom Perotta, Lily King, and Lauren Groff. Every time you think you know what’s going on with these characters, Spark dials the timeline back a notch and reveals another surprising layer of backstory. – Mary Laura Philpott

Pond Cover ImagePond

This is a book about a woman walking around her house on the Irish countryside. Period. Full stop. Nothing else happens. I couldn’t have loved it more. – Lindsay Lynch

The Underground Railroad (Oprah's Book Club) Cover ImageThe Underground Railroad

Over the years, readers have had the pleasure of seeing Colson Whitehead jump from genre to genre — he’s done the zombie apocalypse, he’s done realism, and there was even that time he played poker. The Underground Railroad is, without a doubt, his greatest success to date, a perfect blend of historical fiction and magical realism. – Lindsay Lynch

Love Warrior: A Memoir Cover ImageLove Warrior

Glennon digs deep in this memoir. Survival, self-care, and peace are WORTH the fight. – Sissy Gardner

Whistlestop: My Favorite Stories from Presidential Campaign History Cover ImageWhistlestop: My Favorite Stories from Presidential Campaign History

Think the current political scene is the craziest, most free-wielding, no-holes-barred election in the history of our country? Not by a long shot! The “Face the Nation” moderator relates, not only the stories reporters share at the bar after a long day on the campaign trail, but also a bit of our history that shows just how bruising and under-handed candidates can be . . . even to the point of dueling (something today’s candidates haven’t stooped to — at least not yet). – Mary Grey James

China Rich Girlfriend Cover ImageChina Rich Girlfriend

If The Devil Wears Prada and Where’d You Go, Bernadette? had a baby, it would be this book. Delightfully funny and dripping with fashion and fine dining, it’s the perfect novel to take your mind off the current state of the world. – Niki Coffman

The Woman in Cabin 10 Cover ImageThe Woman in Cabin 10

Did you (like me) love Gone Girl? Or The Girl on the Train? Then this is the book for you. – Niki Coffman

A Gentleman in Moscow Cover ImageA Gentleman in Moscow

A Gentleman in Moscow is everything I want in a novel: Witty, humorous, a touch of history, and memorable characters. – Catherine Bock

Tender is the Night Cover ImageTender is the Night

This is the epic poem brimming over, in contrast to Gatsby’s tightly controlled lyric. Read it for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s sentences (or phrases: “the bright tan prayer rug of a beach”). Or, if you read it in high school — as I did — for the romance, reread it. It will be a different book to you now, because you are different and need truth and beauty more than romance. – Margy Roark

The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life Cover ImageThe Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life

In LeCarré’s first work of nonfiction, the master of the spy novel gives us a glimpse into his incredible life. From his days with MI-5 and MI-6 through his six decades of bringing the world of espionage to the page, LeCarré knows a thing or two about the secrets of the modern world. – Andy Brennan

Against Everything: Essays Cover ImageAgainst Everything: Essays

Mark Greif is a rare species: an intellectual writing in a moment when intellectuals have nearly gone extinct. Covering an array of topics, from the tyranny of exercise to the rise and fall of the hipster, and commenting on perspectives from liberal to conservative, Greif invites us along for the adventure of being joyfully and passionately “against everything.” As he says in the preface, “I taught myself to overturn, undo, deflate, rearrange, unthink, and rethink.” This book is a testament to what a beautiful thing this can be. – Nathan Spoon

The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life Cover ImageThe Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life

Is the American Dream more attainable if you’re living in…Finland? This big think book compares living in America with life in the Nordic region. If you’re looking for a fascinating nonfiction read, this one’s for you. – Katherine Klockenkemper

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo Cover ImageThe Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo

This collection of essays by Amy Schumer is described by the inside flap as “a literary equivalent of a night out with your best friend,” and I couldn’t have said it better myself. Get ready to laugh. – Katherine Klockenkemper

Mischling Cover ImageMischling

Affinity Konar’s debut novel possesses all the power and visionary scope of an old master. Nothing prepared me for the beauty of this unforgettable story. – River Jordan

A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland, Indiana Cover ImageA Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland, Indiana

If you missed Zippy when it was first published, do not leave the store without a copy in your hand. Then call your friends and laughingly read aloud to them, because it is too funny and too good not to share. As a matter of fact — get two copies today and give one away. – River Jordan

The Book of the Dun Cow Cover ImageThe Book of the Dun Cow

Walter Wangerin’s masterpiece of good and evil: it has been read, loved, taught, discussed, and made into a play for good reason. Wangerin tapped into the eternal muse when he wrote about “a time when the sun circled the moon and animals could talk.” We are the richer for it. – River Jordan

Eileen Cover ImageEileen

As a now much older Eileen candidly recounts a Christmas season in her 20s that changed the course of her unsatisfactory life, a feeling of suspense bordering on dread begins to pulse in the temple of the reader. This enchanting novel is one of the strangest, darkest, and most compelling things I have ever read. Now out in paperback and longlisted for the upcoming Man Booker Prize, there is no longer any avoiding the brilliance that is Ottessa Moshfegh and her disturbing Eileen. – Halley Parry

The Thing with Feathers: The Surprising Lives of Birds and What They Reveal about Being Human Cover ImageThe Thing with Feathers: The Surprising Lives of Birds and What They Reveal about Being Human

Read a book about birds and humans by a self-proclaimed “birder at large.” The depth of his knowledge coupled with his beautiful prose will have you perched in that tall tree branch to your left, behind the cranes. – Halley Parry

 And for young adults and kids . . . 

Whatever.: Or How Junior Year Became Totally F$@cked Cover ImageWhatever.: Or How Junior Year Became Totally F$@cked

I cried so hard while reading this… because I couldn’t stop laughing. You’ll either want to be Mike, date him, or be his best friend. This book takes a raucous bunch of friends and shows us their relatable, unique, complicated hearts with just the right amount of levity. – Grace Wright

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit Cover ImageGeorgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit

As if it isn’t bad enough that out-and-proud Joanna’s radio minister father is remarrying and moving her from cosmopolitan Atlanta to middle-of-nowhere Georgia, he then asks her to “lay low” (read: act straight) for her senior year in a new school. But when Jo finds unexpected romance, she’s torn between her promise and her new relationship. Brown absolutely nails the complexities of family, friendship, and faith, and her small-town Southern setting shines. This one’s a peach. – Stephanie Appell

Space Dumplins Cover ImageSpace Dumplins

This juvenile graphic novel is perfect for young readers eagerly awaiting the next book from Raina Telgemeier (mark your calendars for her next one, Ghosts, coming mid-September) or Kazu Kibuishi (the Amulet series). It’s a zany space adventure with a heart as big as the Milky Way and a wacky and wonderful cast of characters you won’t want to say goodbye to. Only Craig Thompson could tell a story involving junkyards, talking chickens, references to the story of Jonah, buttons (the kind you sew and the kind you press), and a whole lot of space whale poop. – Stephanie Appell

Moo Cover ImageMoo

What do city kids know about taking care of a cow? Newbery medalist Sharon Creech spins the friendship story of a brother and sister, an ornery cow, a pig, a cat, and a snake in this unique mix of prose and poetry. – Rae Ann Parker

Ghost Cover ImageGhost

Castle Crenshaw has a lot of scream inside. When he stumbles upon an elite track team practicing, he earns spot, but will he stay altercation-free at school and make the first race? This book is perfect for middle-grade readers who like sports stories. – Rae Ann Parker

The Dark Unwinding Cover ImageThe Dark Unwinding

Sharon Cameron’s debut novel, The Dark Unwinding, is one of my favorite books. In 1852, Katherine is sent to her uncle’s estate to have him committed to an asylum, but the truth is not what she expects. Read it, and if you love it, rejoice — because Cameron has a new novel, The Forgetting, coming later this month! Which leads me to . . .


The Forgetting

Every 12 years the city descends into chaos and all memories are lost. Except Nadia’s. YA fans will want to join us for the launch of this amazing genre-blending book at Parnassus on Sept. 8. – Rae Ann Parker

ParnassusNext — September Selection

The Reader Cover ImageThe Reader 

This is a book. Imagine for a moment that you don’t know that. Imagine that this rectangular object covered in tiny black markings is a complete mystery. Now imagine that, if anyone knew you owned this book, you and everyone you ever cared about would be targeted for assassination.

Everyone that Sefia has ever loved has been taken from her. All that remains is her need for revenge and to understand the mysterious object her parents left in her care. As Sefia discovers more about the strangely familiar symbols inside the object she hides, the repercussions ripple out—radically impacting new allies, old enemies, and even the course of life and death.

In the brilliantly crafted world of The Reader, Traci Chee asks us to reimagine the book and rediscover the magic of reading, inspiring a greater appreciation of the written word and a deeper understanding of how the best stories define our lives and our deepest wishes

This is a book. Are you brave enough to open it?

Stephanie Appell
Manager of Books for Young Readers

First Editions Club — September Selection

The Underground Railroad (Oprah's Book Club) Cover ImageThe Underground Railroad

Every once in a while, a book comes into the store and gets passed from hand to hand among the staff. We all read it and love it and say the same thing: This book is important. We can’t wait to see the conversation it will start. The Underground Railroad is such a book, and that’s why I am so happy to pass this book to you now.

Cora is a slave on a plantation in Georgia. Ostracized even by her fellow slaves, Cora is just biding her time and contenting herself with the small patch of dirt where she grows vegetables. Then Caesar joins the plantation and approaches her about running away. Caesar can read and has knowledge of the world beyond the plantation — not to mention dreams of being free. So they decide to run and risk their lives on the Underground Railroad, a literal network of underground tunnels with running trains, to find a freedom that may not exist.

This novel is inventive, captivating, and full of memorable characters. But even more than that, it’s all the ideas Whitehead packs into this book that resonated with those of us who read it. We can’t wait for you to fall in love with this book too.

Yours in Reading,
Catherine Bock
Special Sales and Office Manager

Every member of our First Editions Club receives a first edition of the selected book of the month, signed by the author. Books are carefully chosen by our staff of readers, and our picks have gone on to earn major recognition including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the PEN/Faulkner Award. There’s no membership fee or premium charge for these books; just the monthly cost of each book (+ shipping if you’d like yours mailed to you). Build a treasured library of signed first editions and always have something great to read! Makes a FABULOUS gift, too. 

Parnassus Book Club


FC9780345534200.JPGSeptember – Circling the Sun by Paula McLain
Monday, September 19 at 6:30pm (NOTE: this meeting will be held at the Green Hills Library)
Wednesday, September 21 at 6:30pm
Thursday, September 22 at 10am

Classics Club – The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Thursday, September 29 at 10am and 6:30pm

October – The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout
Monday, October 17 at 6:30pm
Wednesday, October 19 at 6:30pm
Thursday, October 20 at 10am

Classics Club – And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Monday, November 28 at 10am and 6:30pm

Are you a member of our store book club? Would you like to be? Parnassus Book Club meetings are free and open to anyone. Buy the book, read along, and join the discussion!

“It’s All About the Book”

More thoughts on reading from Kathy Schultenover, Parnassus Book Clubs Manager:


FC9780062220516.JPGI recently quit on a book (which shall remain nameless) after 100 pages. As I get older, I find I do this more and more. “So many books, so little time” — it’s true! As you may recall, last month I wrote about looking for books I could love all the way to the last page. Good news: I did find some real gems and page-turners perfect for filling enjoyable hours. They will probably appear in the Parnassus Book Club rotation at some future date, too. Here they are:

The Risen – Ron Rash
See my staff rec above. This story of two brothers held me in suspense from start to finish. So good.

As Good As Gone – Larry Watson
Same setting as his best-selling novel of 20 years ago, Montana,1948, this book deals with an older man living off the grid in the wilds of Montana who returns to the city to care for his grandchildren while their parents are away. His “Old West” behavior and ways of thinking don’t fit in with today’s society, and bad trouble ensues.

The Care and Management of Lies – Jacquelyn Winspear
The lives of 2 best friends are changed forever by the events of the summer of 1914. As Britain prepares for war, one woman becomes a suffragette, and one marries and watches her husband go off to fight while she is left to run the family farm. This is a wonderful book, as good as Helen Simonson’s The Summer Before the War, but a bit more serious in tone, with equally good writing.

The Underground Railroad – Colson Whitehead
We’ve made it a First Editions Club pick, all the booksellers are buzzing about it, and even Oprah picked it. Count me in, too. This book deserves every bit of the hype.

Put these titles on your book club’s list, and you’ll minimize the chances of your members quiting on a book! Great discussions with happier, more involved readers — isn’t that what every book club wants? Here’s to finding the books we really love and want to talk about!

— Kathy

Cover_September-2016-1Want more? Don’t miss our Bookmark column in Nashville Arts magazine, including the much anticipated Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer.

Getting excited for the Southern Festival of Books in October? Our friends at Chapter16 / Humanities Tennessee are doing some great coverage of books by festival authors.

Curious about much-buzzed-about new releases like Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue and The Last Days of Night by Graham MooreBookpage has you covered! (Reviews of Dreamers and Night here.)

Did you catch Ann Patchett’s interview last week? “None of it happened, and all of it’s true.” Remember you can pre-order your own signed or personalized copy of Commonwealth right here.

Are you the person your friends look to for the best book recommendations? (We thought so.) Forward this along and tell them to join you in subscribing to Musing! These book lists, exclusive interviews, Ann Patchett’s blog, and more arrive FREE in our subscribers’ inboxes every week!

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