Songwriter Harlan Howard famously described country music as “three chords and the truth.” That take on songwriting is part of what has shaped Nashville storytelling for decades. But it isn’t just in country music. Nashville novelists craft fictional stories out of real-world experiences, resulting in books that resonate with readers.
Here’s a list of five compelling novels by writers who live in Nashville.
If you’re more of a non-fiction reader, check out other recommendations here. Need some suggestions on where to buy books in Music City (included some signed editions)? Find that list here.
Ann Patchett is Nashville’s patron saint of fiction. The novelist owns Parnassus Books and locals appreciate her devotion to the craft. Her newest book, “Tom Lake” tells the story of romance and family and reimagining both.
Lindsay Lynch works at Parnassus Books, Patchett’s book store, and was mentored by Patchett on her debut novel “Do Tell.” The book is a peek into Old Hollywood and power struggles of women in the early days of a patriarchal film industry.
Technically author Kevin Wilson lives in Sewanee, which is about 1.5 hours from Nashville, but his book, “Nothing to See Here,” not only takes place in Franklin, but the suburb is essentially a character in the novel. While some of the plot points are fantastical, the emotions are spot-on real life.
Alice Randall is known for her cookbooks, her academic excellence as a professor at Vanderbilt, her songwriting and her acumen in telling stories of the Black experience. In “Black Bottom Saints” turns her lens on jazz music, Detroit and politics.
Sharon Cameron writes historical fiction largely about World War II. Her newest book, “Artifice,” is inspired by a true story of an art dealer who sold forged paintings to the Nazis in order to fund the rescue of Jews hiding from their persecution.
February is Black History Month. Certainly, while in Nashville one can learn about the Black experience of the past, including the vital role the city played in the civil rights movement. Nashville is also about the Black experience of today and the way Black business-owners, musicians and others are shaping the Music City of the…
Most people, when asked to summarize the prototypical country song, come up with something along the lines of tears in my beer. There’s a breakup and a truck and any manner of down-on-your-luck circumstances. But country music knows its way around a love song, too. Maybe you want to create some playlists for Valentine’s Day…