Articles & Lists

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 »

How SCBWI Helps Launch Careers: A Conversation with Four Authors

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Audiences at our author events are often made up of not only avid readers but also aspiring writers and illustrators. When those folks raise their hands to ask the inevitable questions — “Where did you get your start? What should I do next?” — the answer is commonly a tongue-twisting abbreviation: SCBWI. It stands for the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, an international organization with regional chapters offering conferences, education, and networking for people at all levels of experience in making books for young people. Some of our favorite Nashville writers and illustrators, including Ruta Sepetys, David Arnold, Susan Eaddy, and Jessica Young, credit SCBWI with playing an integral role in their creative development and success. Read the rest of this entry »

What Next? Books to Inspire Graduates (And Anyone Facing a Major Milestone)

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When someone you love is taking a big step — graduating from school, striking out on their own, or making a big life change — it can be tough to know what to say beyond the usual platitudes: Go get ’em! You can do it! (And if you’re a parent, you can’t always be sure you’ll be heard.) That’s why we’re lucky to have books to say important things for us. Read the rest of this entry »

29 Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day (Plus Your Soon-to-Be-Favorite New Books)

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In his autobiography, Mark Twain wrote: “My mother had a good deal of trouble with me but I think she enjoyed it. She had none at all with my brother Henry, who was two years younger than I, and I think that the unbroken monotony of his goodness and truthfulness and obedience would have been a burden to her but for the relief I furnished in the other direction.” If that experience feels a little familiar, let us remind you that Mother’s Day is coming up on Sunday, May 13, 2018, and Parnassus can help you pay Mom back for all the “relief” she put up with from you. Read the rest of this entry »

Surviving the Ordinary: Why We Need Memoirs of Regular Lives

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Click over to Lit Hub today, where Musing editor Mary Laura Philpott contributes an essay about memoirs. Here’s an excerpt:

I am 100 percent here for a good stranger-than-fiction memoir. Do I want to know how someone escaped a cult, pulled off a heist, or became famous after surviving a freak accident? Absolutely. Send me your tales of life-and-death adventure. But I also want to read about the lives (and deaths) of people who face nothing extraordinary at all, whose stories exemplify the challenges and realities of common, daily existence. High stakes make for great reading, but examine any life, and you’ll see the stakes get pretty high for all of us at some point, even if the only decisions we ever make are the ones billions of people have made before us and billions will make again. It’s not novelty that draws me to a memoir, at least not always. Read the rest of this entry »

Cover Reveal! Nashville: Scenes from the New American South

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Today’s post from Ann Patchett includes your first look at her new book with photographer Heidi Ross (right), featuring an introduction by Jon Meacham (left).

I’d worked with Liz Sullivan before. She’s an executive editor at Harper Collins, the person who handles the art books. Four years ago when I wanted to edit a collection of essays based around the photography of my friend Melissa Ann Pinney, I went to Liz. She was tough and exacting and in possession of a flawless sense of design. What we wound up with is TWO, a truly gorgeous piece of work. After we were finished, Liz and I stayed friends. These days we mostly talk about our dogs, though sometimes the conversation veers towards chocolate. Read the rest of this entry »

Getting Specific in the Kitchen: 13 Niche Cookbooks

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“When a person dies, a casserole is born.” That’s according to Garden & Gun magazine, which gave rave reviews to The Southern Sympathy Cookbook: Funeral Food with a Twist. As the title of this new book by Memphis-based writer Perre Coleman Magness indicates, this is no catch-all cooking guide. Magness, whose last book offered 50 different pimento cheese recipes, has a knack for zooming in for a close look at a distinct food group. This time it’s recipes for food you can take to friends, family, and neighbors when it’s time for that unique cultural experience — the Southern funeral. (Bonus: You’ll also get spot-on observations about Southern traditions and excerpts from unexpectedly funny obituaries.) That got us thinking about other super-specific cookbooks we love. Read the rest of this entry »