Share A Dolly Parton-Inspired TBR: 6 Books for Fans of the Queen of Country

A Dolly Parton-Inspired TBR: 6 Books for Fans of the Queen of Country

We are passionate readers who love nothing more than discovering fantastic books and sharing them with friends. We recommend books that move us to laughter and tears—and everything in between. Trust us when we say, "You've got to read this!"

We love Dolly Parton. We love her music, we love her persona, and we love that she has donated over 132 million books to kids through her program Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Last year, Dolly also sat down with Good Morning America’s Jenna Bush Hager to talk about her love for books, and during the interview she mentioned some of her favorite things to read. So, in true Off the Shelf fashion, we put together a list! Below is our Dolly-inspired TBR featuring books, authors, and genres she has said she loves, plus a few books we feel are true to the spirit of the legendary singer.  


The Library Book
by Susan Orlean

Dolly told Jenna, “I read everything in Reese Witherspoon’s book club.” We do too! And since Dolly runs her own book donation program, we have a feeling she would approve of our adding Susan Orlean’s The Library Book to this list. THE book for book-lovers, it’s a chronicle of the 1986 L.A. Public Library fire, but on a grander scale, it’s a tribute to books and the importance of libraries.  

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo
The Library Book
Susan Orlean

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo

MENTIONED IN:

A Dolly Parton-Inspired TBR: 6 Books for Fans of the Queen of Country

By Off the Shelf Staff | February 19, 2020

Readers’ Choice: Our Top 25 Most Popular Books of the Year!

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 30, 2019

Readers’ Choice: Our 10 Most Popular Books in November

By Off the Shelf Staff | November 29, 2019

The Book Lover’s Book You Need to Check Out Today

By Ana Perez | October 22, 2019

6 Must-Read Books New in Paperback This October

By Off the Shelf Staff | October 14, 2019

Readers’ Choice: Our 10 Most Popular Books in September

By Off the Shelf Staff | September 27, 2019

Close

Whistling Past the Graveyard
by Susan Crandall

An incredibly touching novel, Susan Crandall’s Whistling Past the Graveyard is a natural fit for this list. Not only does it offer a deep look at Southern history, but it reflects Dolly’s messages about being kind and good to others. In 1963, precocious 9-year-old Starla runs away from her Mississippi home with one goal in mind: To reach Nashville and find her mother, who left when Starla was three to become a country music star. On her journey, Starla meets Eula, a black woman traveling with a white baby, and together the three of them set out on a road trip bound for Tennessee. Along the way, Starla learns about life as it really is in the Civil Right-era South and this new understanding changes her forever. 

Amazon logo Barnes & Noble logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo
Whistling Past the Graveyard
Susan Crandall

In the summer of 1963, nine-year-old Starla runs away from her strict grandmother’s home in Mississippi and embarks on a life-changing road trip.

Amazon logo Barnes & Noble logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo

MENTIONED IN:

A Dolly Parton-Inspired TBR: 6 Books for Fans of the Queen of Country

By Off the Shelf Staff | February 19, 2020

Listen to the Kids! 12 Memorable Novels With Child Narrators

By Off the Shelf Staff | November 10, 2015

Close

The Count of Monte Cristo
by Alexandre Dumas

Another book Dolly specifically mentioned on Good Morning America was Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo. The classic adventure follows Edmond, a sailor who is torn from his beloved and wrongfully imprisoned by his enemiesOver a decade later, he escapes from his captors with directions to an island full of treasure that helps him establish a new life. But by this point, he’s lost his career, and his love has married another. Under the guise of a different identity, he sets out to take revenge on those who wronged him. It’s an epic tale of suspense, loveand retribution that ultimately illustrates how good can triumph over evil.  

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo
The Count of Monte Cristo
Alexandre Dumas

Young merchant sailor Edmond Dantès returns home to Marseille to marry his fiancée, but is betrayed by his best friends and unjustly imprisoned. After he manages to escape prison and discovers a secret fortune, Dantès sets out for revenge on those responsible.

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo

MENTIONED IN:

A Dolly Parton-Inspired TBR: 6 Books for Fans of the Queen of Country

By Off the Shelf Staff | February 19, 2020

15 Stories of Betrayal to Read for the Ides of March

By Taylor Noel | March 15, 2017

Close

Water for Elephants
by Sara Gruen

One of the titles Dolly called out by name in her GMA interview was Water for Elephants. In Sara Gruen’s novel set during the Great Depression, a young vet becomes the animal caretaker for a third-rate circus. There he meets an unforgettable cast of characters, including Marlena, the beautiful star of the equestrian act and wife of the cruel animal ringleader, and Rosie, the seemingly untrainable elephant who is supposed to help save their show. It’s a wonderfully written story about hope, survival, and love.   

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo
Water for Elephants
Sara Gruen

During the Great Depression, Jacob Jankowski quits veterinary school and finds himself working at the second-rate Benzini Brothers circus, where he must contend with August, the mercurial animal trainer; Marlena, his performer wife; and Rosie, a bull elephant. There he finds danger, love, and the dark world behind the glamour.

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo

MENTIONED IN:

A Dolly Parton-Inspired TBR: 6 Books for Fans of the Queen of Country

By Off the Shelf Staff | February 19, 2020

8 Novels That Will Warm You Up From the Inside

By Keturah Jenkins | October 16, 2019

10 Books That Take You Inside the Strange and Wonderful World of Carnivals

By Sarah Jane Abbott | July 26, 2016

Close

Black Mountain Breakdown
by Lee Smith

Lee Smith is a New York Times bestselling author who usually incorporates Southern culture or settings into her stories. Since Dolly regularly shows pride for her own Tennessee roots, it’s no surprise she considers Smith one of her favorite scribes. This novel in particular follows Crystal, a young woman living in rural Appalachia, as she matures from 12 to 32. In the beginning, Crystal is the most popular girl in school, destined to leave town and do great things. As the book progresses, however, her life shifts, and she returns home confused and lost. It’s an amazingly beautiful, but melancholy, tale of innocence and the way women are often encouraged by society to become passive participants in their own lives.  

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo
Black Mountain Breakdown
Lee Smith

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo

MENTIONED IN:

A Dolly Parton-Inspired TBR: 6 Books for Fans of the Queen of Country

By Off the Shelf Staff | February 19, 2020

Close

Dumplin'
by Julie Murphy

This list would not be complete without Dumplin—the book that inspired the Netflix movie of the same name. In Julie Murphy’s thoroughly charming novel, Willowdean Dickinson is a teenage girl dealing with insecurity about her weight and pressure from her mom, a former beauty queen. To try and overcome these, she does something completely unexpectedShe enters into the Miss Clover City beauty pageant. With support from a few other unlikely candidates, not to mention inspiration from Dolly Parton’s music, Willowdean finds herself and her confidence. It’s a truly enjoyable and utterly heartwarming read 

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo
Dumplin'
Julie Murphy

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo

MENTIONED IN:

9 Literary Characters Keeping Us Company While We’re Social Distancing

By Holly Claytor | April 1, 2020

13 Feel-Good Novels You’re Going to Love

By Taylor Noel | March 18, 2020

A Dolly Parton-Inspired TBR: 6 Books for Fans of the Queen of Country

By Off the Shelf Staff | February 19, 2020

Readers’ Choice: The Top 25 Most Shelved Books of the Year!

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 24, 2018

Readers’ Choice: The Top 10 Most Shelved Books in May

By Off the Shelf Staff | May 25, 2018

Close

Photo Credit: GreenPimp/iStock

Thank you for joining our email list!

If you create an Off the Shelf account, you'll be able to save books to your personal bookshelf, and be eligible for free books and other good stuff.

Click here to create your free account.

You must be logged in to add books to your shelf.

Please log in or sign up now.