28 New Books That Fit Perfectly In a Beach Bag


Cue the music: Summertime, summertime, sum-sum-summertime! And you know what that means… It’s beach read season. Not only do we have loads of new titles to get you from one road-trip pit stop or airport* to the next, but several favorites are now available as beach-friendly paperbacks. Pack up one or more of these titles and let the vacation begin.

(* Forget your book on your way out of town? Visit our Nashville International Airport Hudson Booksellers location and stock up before you fly.)

Recommended by Karen

Dual Citizens: A novel Cover ImageDual Citizens

Because of the indifferent care of their mother, Lark becomes a mother to her younger sister Robin. But as the two girls grow into adulthood, their intelligence and talents highlight just how different they are from one another. They begin to move apart, sometimes not seeing each other for years. The sisters reunite when their mother develops dementia and a new, surprising connection is formed between them.

Join Alix Ohlin and Julia Phillips, author of Disappearing Earth, in the store on Tuesday, June 25 at 6:30 p.m.

Recommended by Betsy

City of Girls: A Novel Cover ImageCity of Girls

If you’re like me, you’ve been anxiously awaiting Liz Gilbert’s newest novel since the second you closed her last, The Signature of All Things. This one is well worth the wait. City of Girls is breezy and bright. Just when I became convinced the story of Vivian Morris rollicking through the 1940’s NYC theater world was an ode to youth and spontaneity, the novel took a heartful pivot toward the rest of her life. Loved it.

Want your copy signed? City of Girls is also this month’s First Editions Club pick. When you sign up, you’ll receive a signed copy. (Scroll down to learn more.) 

And don’t miss a special edition of Salon@615 featuring Elizabeth Gilbert on Monday, June 17 at 6:15 p.m. at Montgomery Bell Academy! Get your tickets here.

Recommended by Mary Laura

Ask Again, Yes

GET HOLLYWOOD ON THE PHONE. Seriously: this multigenerational tale of two families whose futures change forever after a traumatic event would make for such an engaging mini-series. At first, I just wanted to know if a big twist was coming… until I realized a big twist wasn’t the point. The point is that these people keep living, year after year: loving each other, hurting each other, and sometimes trying to save each other.

Recommended by Steve

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel Cover ImageOn Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

Ocean Vuong’s debut novel is magnificent. And while it probably goes without saying that the language is beautiful, it’s hard to overstate just how beautiful. Unfolding a complicated tale of a son and his mother, of first love and a lost country, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a tender, explosive, haunted book. My first instinct after finishing it was to turn back to the first page.

Ocean Vuong joins Jeff Zentner in conversation in the store on Monday, June 10 at 6:30 p.m.

Recommended by Mary Laura

Mostly Dead Things Cover ImageMostly Dead Things 

Grief, love, anger, lust, and loneliness surge through the pages of this debut novel like blood through veins. The setting is Florida, and the family business is taxidermy, so be prepared for strange beauty in the story of Jessa — a young woman grasping for life in the wake of her father’s suicide and the departure of her brother’s wife, the woman Jessa loves. (Did you spot Arnett in the New York Times not once, not twice, but three times in the past several days?)

Kristen Arnett joins Mary Laura Philpott in conversation in the store on Monday, July 8 at 6:30 p.m.

Recommended by Lauren

Disappearing Earth: A novel Cover ImageDisappearing Earth

The disappearance of two little girls reverberates through a remote Russian peninsula. I love a good mystery, but this book is way more than that. It’s an invitation to be swept away by the rich, intriguing landscape of a corner of the world where reindeer still roam and volcanoes loom. Prepare to be mesmerized.

Join Julia Phillips and Alix Ohlin, author of Dual Citizens, in the store on Tuesday, June 25 at 6:30 p.m.

Recommended by Chelsea

My Ex-Best Friend's Wedding Cover ImageMy Ex-Best Friend’s Wedding 

This book has all the makings of a perfect beach read: a multigenerational wedding dress, ex-best friends, questionable decisions, and a beach setting! Plus, this book will make you laugh, cry, and just feel good.

Recommended by Cat

Rules for Visiting: A Novel Cover ImageRules for Visiting

When May, a university gardener, gets an unexpected month off from work, she decides to use it to reconnect with her four closest friends. I fell in love with May’s passion for the plants she cares for and the thoughtful meditations on what friendship means.

Recommended by Keltie

The Name of the Rose Cover ImageThe Name of the Rose 

Sex, serial murders, and a 14th century Benedictine Abbey — what’s not to love? Plus a new series on Sundance TV (also available streaming) starring John Turturro and Rupert Everett? I’ll be reading and watching. And hiding under the covers.

Recommended by Kay

The Calculating Stars: A Lady Astronaut Novel Cover ImageThe Calculating Stars: A Lady Astronaut Novel 

With its recent Nebula Award victory, now is a great time to pick up this beautiful alternate history set against the backdrop of early spaceflight. Kowal expertly uses science, history, and a diverse cast of (primarily) female characters to tell a story of fear, grief, courage, and hope. While this first book stands well on its own, the series is shaping up to be one you won’t want to miss.

Recommended by Sarah 

You Will Be Safe Here Cover ImageYou Will Be Safe Here 

Love historical fiction but looking to change it up from your go-to WWII novel? This multigenerational South African saga is for you.

Recommended by Rae Ann

The Spies of Shilling Lane: A Novel Cover ImageThe Spies of Shilling Lane

In addition to being about war, this book is also about the relationship between a mother and daughter. It’s a story of forgiveness, starting over, and stretching to new heights. Simply delightful.

Recommended by Ann

Baby, You're Gonna Be Mine: Stories Cover ImageBaby, You’re Gonna Be Mine: Stories 

Now out in paperback! In this collection of short stories, Kevin Wilson moves from being a very good writer to a truly great one.

Recommended by Karen

Florida Cover ImageFlorida 

Groff’s masterful collection of short stories is now out in paperback, just in time to tote to your favorite summer reading spot.

Don’t miss Lauren Groff at LIT UP, the sixth annual benefit party for The Porch Writers’ Collective on Saturday, June 8, at Corsair Distillery! It’s almost sold out — get one of the last remaining tickets here.

Recommended by Katherine

The Female Persuasion: A Novel Cover ImageThe Female Persuasion

I love the rare book that is smart, modern, and a total page-turner. The Female Persuasion manages to be all three — and a fresh take on how we live now. Now out in paperback!

Recommended by Sissy

Ghosted: A Novel Cover ImageGhosted

Out in paperback JUST IN TIME for you to take it to the beach! If you’re a fan of Sliding Doors, you’ll love this sophisticated, mysterious British romance.

Recommended by Rae Ann

Dear Mrs. Bird: A Novel Cover ImageDear Mrs. Bird

One of my favorite books of last year is now out in paperback! This is an intense story of WWII London during the Blitz, masquerading as an easy beach read. Funny, serious, and tender.

Recommended by Ann

Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose Cover ImagePromise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose

By Joe Biden

If your dad is a democrat, or if he is a deeply caring father, or you wish to give him a road map to becoming either of those things (or both!) this book is a must. Get a copy for yourself too. It’s incredibly moving.

Recommended by Andy

Spying on the South: An Odyssey Across the American Divide Cover ImageSpying on the South: An Odyssey Across the American Divide 

Fredrick Law Olmstead’s impact on American public places is well documented. What’s not as well documented is how he came to his philosophy of design. Tony Horwitz retraces Olmstead’s journey from New York City to Mexico and all points in between, contrasting today’s South with what Olmstead found in the 1850s. The result is incredibly perceptive of the complexities of the region (and occasionally hilariously funny). It was our joy and privilege to see Tony when he visited Nashville last month, and we will miss him greatly.

Recommended by Steve

Once More We Saw Stars: A Memoir Cover ImageOnce More We Saw Stars: A Memoir 

“Grief at its peak has a terrible beauty to it,” Greene writes in this courageous book. He’s writing from inside a pain that is hard to imagine, except that he paints it so vividly on the page: the aftermath of his two-year-old daughter’s death in a freak accident as she sat next to her grandmother. But there is so much more than loss in this book, which brims with a stubborn sort of awe and, ultimately, hope.

Recommended by Mary Laura

Out East: Memoir of a Montauk Summer Cover ImageOut East: Memoir of a Montauk Summer 

The beach setting, the observations about Hamptons nightlife, and John Glynn’s witty way with words might lull you into thinking you’re in for an easy-breezy read, but don’t be fooled. This memoir of an eventful summer dives deep. (Did I just say “dives deep” about a beach memoir? YES, I DID.) Glynn captures how it feels to discover something important about yourself as an adult, and to be a late bloomer finally blossoming.

Recommended by Ben

Leaving the Witness: Exiting a Religion and Finding a Life Cover ImageLeaving the Witness: Exiting a Religion and Finding a Life 

This fascinating memoir traces one young woman’s loss of faith while serving as a Jehovah’s Witness missionary in Shanghai and how she seeks to find meaning after leaving the only identity she’s ever known. Scorah explores the desires and dangers of religion, community, friendship, loneliness, and love, all with an honest, conversational tone. Clear-eyed and even-handed, it’s weighty with emotion and buoyant with hope.

Recommended by Joy

Notes from a Young Black Chef: A Memoir Cover ImageNotes from a Young Black Chef: A Memoir 

This book is honest and real. A chef in some of the finest restaurants in America and a reality TV veteran from Top Chef, Onwuachi is also a brilliant storyteller. Raised in the Bronx, by way of Louisiana and New York, he combines stories of his father’s Nigerian heritage with flavors of his mother’s Creole and Jamaican roots to make a wonderful book about the intersection of race, fame, and food.

Recommended by Keltie

Formation: A Woman's Memoir of Stepping Out of Line Cover ImageFormation: A Woman’s Memoir of Stepping Out of Line 

We follow Dostie through a dark personal narrative stemming from her rape by a fellow soldier in the U.S. Army. From the indifference of her command to her inability to escape the rumors about her reputation even after deploying to Iraq, she learns a combat patch is not just earned with gunfire. It is also earned by becoming a witness to inhumanity.

Recommended by Lauren

How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy Cover ImageHow to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy 

If you’ve ever considered reclaiming your attention from the powers that seek to manipulate and monetize it, this book is for you. Read it, then repeat after me: I am more than an algorithm. I am more than a personal brand. Jenny Odell has fantastic ideas about reframing our lives to exist more fully outside of the box that productivity culture likes to put them in. Take a moment to stop and smell the roses this summer. I’ll join you.

Recommended by Joy

Wordslut: A Feminist Guide to Taking Back the English Language Cover ImageWordslut: A Feminist Guide to Taking Back the English Language 

“In one thousand years, will women rule the English language?” Yes! But you should read this book anyway. You won’t regret it, and you will learn about the inextricable link between language and culture, along with an arsenal of words and word trivia to impress your friends at parties. This book captivates.

Recommended by Karen

Calypso Cover ImageCalypso 

Sedaris’ latest collection of essays — newly out in paperback — makes the perfect vacation companion. Better yet, if you’re hitting the road, download the audio from LibroFM. Sedaris will keep you company reading his funniest and most heartfelt book yet.

Recommended by Keltie

The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777 (The Revolution Trilogy #1) Cover ImageThe British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777 (The Revolution Trilogy #1)

Following the completion of his Liberation Trilogy, Atkinson decided to return to the story that first captivated his budding young historian’s imagination: the American Revolution. You can see that thrill on every page of volume one. Buy it for your dad or for your favorite young history lover!

First Editions Club: June Selection

City of Girls: A Novel Cover ImageCity of Girls

Are you in the mood for something expansive and wildly entertaining? Then please allow me to direct you to Elizabeth Gilbert’s new novel, City of Girls.

Gilbert exercising her considerable talent on a group of bedazzled show girls living a fleabag existence in New York in the 1940s is a bit like Jane Austen writing about young women in manor houses who wish to marry. You might wonder why such a lavishly gifted writer would take on such small potatoes, but before your thought has even fully formed, the book has swept you up and away.

Reading City of Girls is like seeing someone toss a bolt of bright blue silk down a marble staircase. It’s just so gorgeous, watching it spread out. It’s a gift.

Yours in reading,
Ann Patchett

More about our First Editions Club: Every member 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. Plus, there’s no membership fee or premium charge for these books. Build a treasured library of signed first editions and always have something great to read! Makes a FABULOUS gift, too. 

Parnassus Book Club — Upcoming Meeting Schedule  

June – A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
Monday, June 17 at 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, June 19 at 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, June 20 at 10 a.m.

July – Only to Sleep by Lawrence Osborne*
Monday, July 22 at 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, July 24 at 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 25 at 10 a.m.
*Note that clubs meet one week later than usual.

Classics Club – The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
Monday, July 29 at 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Are you a member of our store book club? Would you like to be? Parnassus Book Club and Classics 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:

Have you ever wondered how your book club compares with other book clubs? Are they more “studious” than yours, reading heavier, more literary titles? Do they exist primarily to socialize, with the book as just an excuse to get together? Do they tackle controversial issues, yet still respect each other’s opinions? Or do individuals find it difficult to listen to each other and control what they say during animated discussion?

These and many more topics are covered in a fascinating new study recently published on BookBrowse. Based on more than 5,500 responses, “The Inner Lives of Book Clubs” study revealed some surprising (and not-so-surprising) things:

  1. The longer a club spends discussing the book during a meeting, the happier and more satisfied the members are.
  2. Nearly all clubs feel that socializing is an important element of meetings.
  3. Most groups do not have topics that are off-limits; sex, religion and politics are OK.
  4. The vast majority said the most important quality of the book club experience is respect for each other’s opinions.
  5. Nearly all cited exposure to books they wouldn’t otherwise read as a strength of membership.
  6. The most commonly mentioned “issue” or problem experienced is that of overly dominant personalities who talk too much or try to control the discussion.

These are but a small sampling of the fascinating details that give us a snapshot of book club life today. The report also contains dozens of suggestions for dealing with problems of book groups, and also ideas to improve meetings. It is a wonderful resource for anyone who wants to improve their book club life.

Is your club part of our book club registry? Local book groups can order and purchase their club’s reading selections at a discount! Your club’s chosen titles are also displayed in the store on the book club shelf with the club’s name, so members can come in and find their selections easily. Registered clubs also receive notices of special book-club-related author events and seminars. To register a club, simply stop by the store and fill out a short form at the counter.

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Meanwhile, keep an eye on the Parnassus events calendar. We’re bringing your favorite authors to Nashville all summer long. (Case in point: Are you a fan of Patti Callahan Henry? She’ll be here with her new novel, The Favorite Daughter, on June 14, in conversation with fellow novelist Lisa Patton!)

Coming up next on Musing: Andy’s making a list of faves for Dad! Don’t forget, Father’s Day is Sunday, June 16.