Articles & Lists

Women’s Lives on Their Own Terms in Two New Books

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Between them, Glynnis MacNicol and Jo Piazza’s new books have appeared on more must-read lists this summer than we can count — including BuzzFeed, Elle.com, Goop, People, Cosmopolitan, Vulture, Refinery29, InStyle, and Town & Country, just to name a few. While MacNicol’s No One Tells You This is a memoir and Piazza’s Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win is a novel, the two books make for a delightful pairing, as both focus on women pushing back against expectations to create the lives they want. Parnassus Books will host these authors together next Tuesday, July 31, at 6:30 p.m. To celebrate this double-header event, we’re offering twice the usual reading experience today on Musing, with excerpts from each. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Bring the Right Thing for Every Occasion

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Raise your hand if, despite your intention to show up with just the right token of love or appreciation, these scenarios feel familiar:

  • Your mama taught you never to arrive at a social function empty-handed, but you usually run out of time to choose a host gift and end up grabbing a questionable bottle of wine from your fridge at the last minute.
  • You want to make a thoughtful gesture when a friend experiences a loss, but you don’t have a clue what to say.
  • You realized (too late) you gave your nephew the same birthday present three years in a row. Oops.

Ready for some fresh ideas? Hit the bookstore to find go-to gifts for life’s common occasions:
Read the rest of this entry »

The Great Believers: An Excerpt from Rebecca Makkai’s New Must-Read Novel

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The following excerpt comes from the opening pages of The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai. This engaging and heartbreaking novel alternates between two storylines — one centered around a group of friends in Chicago during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and one set in 2015 Paris as a woman searches for her adult daughter. The novel is already a staff favorite at Parnassus, and you can get your copy here. 

Twenty miles from here, twenty miles north, the funeral mass was starting. Yale checked his watch as they walked up Belden. He said to Charlie, “How empty do you think that church is?”

Charlie said, “Let’s not care.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Work He Was Born to Do: Jim Ridley’s Legacy Lives on in New Book

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Maria Browning contributes this review of People Only Die of Love in Movies: Film Writing by Jim Ridley, a new book of Ridley’s film reviews, edited by Steve Haruch. This piece also runs at Chapter16.org.

“Beloved” is not a word usually associated with critics, but Jim Ridley, who spent 20 years as a film critic at the alt-weekly Nashville Scene and another seven as its editor, was absolutely beloved. When he died in 2016 after collapsing in his Scene office, the wave of sorrow rippled far beyond his personal circle. Many people who knew him only through his writing felt as if they’d lost a brilliant friend. A new collection of his work, People Only Die of Love in Movies, confirms that, in a very real sense, they had. Ridley’s voice was dazzling, honest, joyful, and a consistent force for good in the cultural life of the city he loved. Read the rest of this entry »

Libro.fm: The Audiobook App That’s Changing How You Listen to Books

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(Libro.fm: because you can’t just plug headphones into your favorite hardcovers.)

Love a good audiobook? Us, too. No, really — we do. Parnassus booksellers may spend their days preaching the gospel of the printed page, but sometimes we have to sit through a long road-trip or knock out a few hours of household chores (ugh, laundry) — occasions when an audiobook makes for perfect entertainment. Many of you have told us you feel the same way. Read the rest of this entry »

Escape Into These 8 Perfectly Beachy New Reads (No Invitation Necessary)

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You might typically be a green salad and egg-white omelet type, but it’s hard to resist the pull of fried shrimp and frozen margaritas at this time of year. Summer’s starting, and even those of us stuck in landlocked Tennessee are thinking of the beach. So pass the cocktail sauce, and in exchange, let us serve up some books that fit the mood, starting with Dorothea Benton Frank’s latest, By Invitation Only. Read the rest of this entry »

What Makes a “Great American Read,” Anyway?

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Want to get Americans fired up? Show them a list of “the best” anything. The best colleges. The best burgers. The best movies. Or in this case, the best books. PBS recently announced America’s 100 best-loved novels, as chosen in a public opinion survey. The survey was the first step in The Great American Read, a new PBS series that celebrates reading with a nationwide conversation about America’s most beloved books. The second step, apparently, was everyone talking loudly about the list. Read the rest of this entry »