Spring Preview: 5 Guest Authors Pick 10 Upcoming Favorites

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Generally, we don’t post about books that aren’t out yet. This is a bookstore, after all, and if you get excited about a book, we want you to be able to walk right in and get it. But over the weekend, Nashville experienced a nasty cold snap. After weeks of temps in the 70s, blue skies, and budding flowers, Mother Nature came along and snowed on our parade, plunging us back into winter. You can understand why we’d feel the need to think ahead to sunnier times.

That’s why we’re especially delighted that five authors of our favorite books from last year agreed to tell us what they’re most excited about for this spring. Here they are with 10 fabulous books to look forward to:

Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 1.27.25 PMRumaan Alam is the author of Rich and Pretty, which we put on our list of 44 hot reads last spring. (Extremely brief recap: Two childhood best friends grow up to become women with very different lives. Can their friendship survive? If you didn’t read it last year, get on it!) Rumaan recommends:

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Meet Lepucki when she’s at Parnassus on May 18.

Woman No.17 by Edan Lepucki (May 9)
“I’ve already read Edan Lepucki’s new novel — her second (following California) — but I’m anticipating everyone else reading it so that we can discuss it. Lepucki is just so gifted a storyteller, and has pulled off a bona fide page turner with Woman No. 17, but she’s done so while writing about big heady subjects like art and motherhood and identity (of course, it helps that she mixes in lots of sex and bad behavior).”

Our Little Racket by Angelica Baker (June 20)
“Don’t be fooled by the ripped-from-the-headlines premise; Angelica Baker’s big, warm debut novel is about the financial crisis of 2008 in the same way the Golden Bowl is about a golden bowl. It’s simultaneously a panorama of life in one of America’s fanciest enclaves (Baker is very good with the enticing, anthropological detail) and a portrait of a family that, net worth not withstanding, reminded me of my own.”

Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 2.27.37 PM.pngAnton DiSclafani has been a favorite of the Parnassus Book Club ever since she dropped by to join their discussion of The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls back in 2014. Last spring, she celebrated the release of her second novel, The After Party, with a signing here in the store, and rumor has it she may rejoin the book club for a chat this July when the paperback comes out. Anton recommends:

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Meloy will visit Nashville in June. Keep an eye on the Parnassus events calendar for details.

Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy (June 6)
“I’ve been a big fan of Maile Meloy since I read Liars and Saints, about a very complicated family (is there any other kind?) living in California, and then the follow-up to that book, A Family Daughter. Meloy’s writing is literary but also page-turnery (my highest compliment), and Do Not Become Alarmed, about a vacation gone awry, promises to be both.”

Somebody With a Little Hammer by Mary Gaitskill (April 4)
“Mary Gaitskill’s short stories are brutal and beautiful; I’m very excited about her first collection of essays. They might not be easy to read, but they will be thought-provoking and daring.”

Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 2.56.49 PMPaul Lisicky wrote The Narrow Door, which we listed on our spring break book-list last year as, “an exquisitely written (also brave, sweet, and self-aware) memoir of his friendship with fellow writer Denise Gess.” If we could go back in time, we’d add even more adjectives. Paul recommends:

Lisicky’s not the only one excited about this debut — it already has a starred review on Kirkus!

Imagine Wanting Only This by Kristen Radtke (April 18)
“I can think of at least seven forthcoming books I’m excited about, but since I’m working on a new nonfiction book, and thinking about ways to warp and stretch that form, I’m going to go with a book that does exactly that. Kristen Radtke’s images have turned up in the New Yorker and the Paris Review in the last year or so, and every time I’ve seen them I’ve been haunted by their elemental loneliness, their strange combination of coolness and heat. Her book, Imagine Wanting Only This, meditates on a sequence of ruins and leads us to New York City, the American Midwest, the Philippines, and an Icelandic town buried in ash. But more than that, this book is an inquiry of loss and what it might mean to go forward in a world that’s corroding right in front of us.”

Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 3.56.33 PMCamille Perri knocked our socks off last spring with her hilariously fun novel about an office uprising, The Assistants. We’re thrilled that she’ll be here May 4, 2017, to celebrate the paperback release in time for the beach-reading season. Meanwhile, Camille recommends:

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Lisa Ko will appear in conversation with Weike Wang and Ann Patchett in Nashville on June 1.

The Leavers by Lisa Ko (May 2)
“I’m very much looking forward to this debut novel, which won the 2016 Pen/Bellwether Award for Socially Engaged Fiction. It’s about the son of an undocumented Chinese immigrant who is adopted by white college professors and raised as an all-American boy. Fiction that addresses assimilation, immigration, and loss feels especially important right now.”

Marlena by Julie Buntin (April 4)
“The only thing I like better than a female-friendship story is a doomed-girl story. Marlena appears to be both of those, from Julie Buntin, an exciting new voice in fiction. I’m excited to devour it while giving thanks I made it through my youth.”

Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 4.16.49 PMCynthia D’Aprix Sweeney‘s debut novel, The Nest, was the must-read novel of last spring, according to many Parnassus customers, booksellers, local book clubs, and our friends at Nashville Public Television, who fell in love with it, too. (Watch that conversation here, on A Word on Words.) We can’t wait for the paperback! Cynthia recommends:

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 1.30.57 PMThe Woman in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck (March 28)
“This book is for readers who love World War II novels and especially for anyone who thinks they don’t need to read another World War II novel. Told from the point of view of three very different women living in Germany at the start of World War II and spanning several decades, it’s a beautifully written page-turner that explores what we will — and won’t — do to survive and protect the people we love.”

No One Is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts (April 4)
“When I read that this debut was a reimagining of The Great Gatsby told through the lens of an extended African-American family in North Carolina, I couldn’t wait to read it. And while Watts deploys Fitzgerald’s familiar themes to wonderful effect, the story she’s woven is entirely her own. Her characters are struggling to reconcile their dreams and desires with the harsh reality of a world in flux — and the limitations of their own lives. Insightful, compelling and beautifully written.”

(Alam agrees on this one and says: “It takes guts to rework one of American literature’s most sacred texts, but then Watts is a writer with guts.”)

Isadora by Amelia Gray (May 9)
“I first became a fan of Amelia Gray after reading her New Yorker short story ‘Labyrinth,’ which was so funny and surprising I probably think about it once a month. Apparently, she can do anything — because Isadora is a completely different kind of tale and equally as mesmerizing. A fictional portrait of Isadora Duncan in the wake of a tragic real-life event, this novel is breathtaking and brilliant.”

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If you’d like to give yourself something to look forward to, just click any title above to pre-order the book, and we’ll send it to you as soon as it comes out. In fact, if you pre-order all 10, you can enter “ALL TEN” in the notes section at checkout, and we’ll throw in a Parnassus tote and mug!

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Hang in there. Spring’s coming.