Best Dolly Parton Books for Adults – Complete Guide

Dolly Parton is a global icon who has contributed substantially to music, acting, and literature. Her writings, just like her songs, are filled with heart, humor, and wisdom. In this completed guide, we curated a collection of books authored by Parton and those that provide insight into her life. This compilation aims to assist dedicated fans and newcomers in finding the perfect book to delve into the world of this extraordinary artist.

Best Dolly Parton Books for Adults - Complete Guide

Parton’s journey from rural Tennessee poverty to worldwide fame speaks volumes about her talent and tenacity. Her five-decade career is highlighted by countless hits, notable film roles, and various books with deeper insight into her life and beliefs.

In addition to her professional accomplishments, Parton is a philanthropist renowned for her Imagination Library program, which provides free books to children. With her diverse talents and enduring impact, she continues to inspire and entertain people worldwide through her books. 

Books Authored by Dolly Parton


Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics

Songteller” is a remarkable volume that delves into Dolly Parton’s life and lyrics. Told in Parton’s distinctive voice, the book explores songs that shaped her journey, enriched with unseen photos and personal anecdotes. It highlights 175 of her songs from over six decades of songwriting, offering readers a glimpse behind the lyrics. 

This unique celebrity memoir uncovers stories and memories that have cemented Dolly’s status as an icon across generations, genders, and borders. 

Run, Rose, Run 

Run, Rose, Run: A Novel

Run, Rose, Run” is a gripping tale of Annie Lee Keyes, an ambitious country singer who lands in Nashville with dreams that reach the stars. Guided by retired country sensation Ruthanna Ryder and supported by talented guitarist Ethan Blake, she begins her ascent to stardom. However, her past casts a shadow over her promising future. In “Run, Rose, Run,” Nashville becomes the city of Annie’s destiny and a potential harbinger of her downfall. 

Behind the Seams: My Life in Rhinestones

Behind the Seams: My Life in Rhinestones

In “Behind the Seams: My Life in Rhinestones,” Parton unveils the story behind her unique fashion sense that has captivated fans globally. The book consists of exclusive stories and a grand reveal of her private costume, showcasing her most memorable looks from the 1960s to now. From handmade childhood clothes and daring Nashville attires to iconic film costumes and contemporary styles, Parton shares it all. 

Dream More

Dream More: Celebrate the Dreamer in You

Dream More” is a profound exploration of Parton’s philosophy: Dream more, Learn more, Care more, and Be more. Drawing from her journey from Tennessee’s hills to iconic global stardom, she presents her life as a testament to these principles. An expansion of her famous commencement speech at the University of Tennessee, the book serves as an inspiring anthem for individuals aspiring to shape their future on their terms. Honest, humorous, and uplifting, the “Dream More” encapsulates the wisdom of one of our era’s legends.

Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business

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Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business” is an honest and insightful autobiography of the beloved country singer, Dolly Parton. She shares her rags-to-riches journey from leaving home at eighteen to pursue a singing career, discussing her philosophies, marriage, friendships, and achievements. This inspiring narrative unfolds her life’s public and private aspects with characteristic humor, offering readers an intimate look into the experiences that shaped this American icon.

Dolly Parton: E-Z Play Today

Dolly Parton: E-Z Play Today Volume 280

This collection E-Z Play features 16 songs from the country music legend Dolly Parton. It includes timeless hits such as “Coat of Many Colors,” “Do I Ever Cross Your Mind,” “Here You Come Again,” “I Will Always Love You,” “Islands in the Stream,” “Jolene,” “Nine to Five,” “Two Doors Down,” and more. A musical journey through the iconic tunes that have defined Parton’s illustrious career, this compilation is a must-have for every fan of her music.

Just the Way I Am

Just the Way I Am: Poetic Selections on 'Reasons to Live, Reasons to Love and Reasons to Smile' from the Songs of Dolly Parton

Just the Way I Am” is a curated collection of poetic excerpts from Dolly Parton’s songs, offering inspiration on reasons to live, love, and smile. This book captures the essence of Parton’s lyrical genius, showcasing her unique ability to inspire through her music.  A tribute to Dolly Parton’s songwriting prowess, this compilation offers a deeper understanding of her timeless wisdom.

I Will Always Love You Piano Library Series

Hal Leonard I Will Always Love You Piano Library Series by Dolly Parton (Level Inter)

I Will Always Love You Piano Library Series” presents the mega-hit song penned by Dolly Parton and popularized by Whitney Houston’s stunning rendition. This edition is specially arranged for intermediate-level students, enabling them to experience the joy of playing this timeless classic. This book offers a unique opportunity for budding musicians to connect with the depth and beauty of this iconic song, enriching their musical journey.

My Homeland Tennessee

My Homeland Tennessee, Introduction By Dolly Parton

My Homeland Tennessee” is a captivating collection of over 175 profiles highlighting celebrities, visionaries, and top companies that have shaped Tennessee. The book opens with a heartfelt introduction by Dolly Parton, where she shares cherished memories of growing up in the Tennessee Mountains. This comprehensive overview of Tennessee’s influential figures and institutions provides an in-depth understanding of the state’s unique cultural and historical landscape.

Dolly’s Dixie Fixin’s

Dolly's Dixie Fixin's: Love, Laughter and Lots of Good Food

Dolly’s Dixie Fixin’s” is a collection of over 125 southern specialties, many from Dolly Parton’s personal and family recipes. The book features comfort food rooted in Dolly’s childhood memories, including dishes from her mother and mother-in-law, recipes from Dollywood Companies, and her favorite restaurants discovered during her touring years. The cookbook is a testament to Dolly’s love for hearty, joyfully served food that brings people together.

Some Popular Books About Dolly

Smart Blonde 

Smart Blonde: The Life of Dolly Parton

Stephen Miller’s “Smart Blonde” is a  biography of Dolly Parton that delves deeper into her life and beyond her larger-than-life persona. Drawing from conversations with family, musicians, and producers, Miller has determined a woman who rose from humble beginnings in East Tennessee to conquer the male-dominated Nashville music scene of the 60s and later Hollywood. 

The book also explores her private life, including her enduring relationships with her husband, Carl Dean, and lifelong friend Judy Ogle. This biography offers an insightful look into how Dolly while jesting about her image, became a legend through her profound commitment to her music and business.

She Comes By It Natural

She Come By It Natural: Dolly Parton and the Women Who Lived Her Songs

She Comes By It Natural” by Sarah Smarsh profoundly explores Dolly Parton’s life, work, and significant impact on generations of working-class women. The book traces Dolly’s journey from being a punchline to becoming an icon, set against the backdrop of Smarsh’n rural upbringing. It paints an intimate portrait of Dolly’s cultural significance, particularly for the women represented in her songs – struggling mothers, pregnant teenagers, and waitresses. 

Unlikely Angel: The Songs of Dolly Parton 

Unlikely Angel: The Songs of Dolly Parton (Women Composers)

Unlikely Angel” by Lydia R. Hamessley is a comprehensive study of Dolly Parton’s career, emphasizing her often-overlooked prowess as a songwriter. The book tells about the process and influences that had shaped Parton’s artistry, revealing how her Smoky Mountains upbringing infused her songs with old-time music rhythms and themes. 

Hamessley explores how Parton skillfully blends her cultural heritage with craft to create powerful songs about women’s lives, poverty, heartbreak, and love. Covering the breadth of Parton’s career, “Unlikely Angel” offers a unique perspective on the creative genius behind the star.

Dolly Parton, Gender, and Country Music

Dolly Parton, Gender, and Country Music

Dolly Parton, Gender, and Country Music” by Leigh H. Edwards is a thought-provoking collection of essays exploring Dolly’s ability to challenge stereotypes and adapt her image over time. Edwards analyzes how Dolly ingeniously blends two opposing stereotypes – the innocent mountain girl and the voluptuous sex symbol – to create her iconic persona. 

The book delves into Dolly’s roles as a musician, actor, author, philanthropist, and entrepreneur, demonstrating how her gender subversion challenges traditional norms in country music. Though a bit dense with cultural theory, the book offers valuable insights into Dolly’s impact on music, gender roles, and authenticity.

Be More Dolly

Be More Dolly: Dolly Parton Life Lessons Beyond the 9 to 5

Be More Dolly” is an inspiring guide for those seeking to infuse their lives with Dolly Parton’s spirit. The book offers empowering advice on love, business, style, and self-care, encouraging readers to prioritize their needs and desires. It serves as a roadmap for creating a life that aligns with one’s true aspirations, making it a must-read for Dolly Parton enthusiasts seeking personal growth.

What Would Dolly Do?

What Would Dolly Do?: How to Be a Diamond in a Rhinestone World

What Would Dolly Do?” by Lauren Marino is a vibrant blend of biography, inspiration, and life lessons drawn from the life of Dolly Parton, an embodiment of the American dream. It highlights Parton’s unique brand positivity, spirituality, resilience, and work ethic. 

Based on her autobiographies, songs, interviews, performances, and more, this book presents the best of “Dolly Mama.” It offers insights on embracing adversity with confidence, faith, and humor, encouraging readers to tap into their Inner Dolly—a must-read for those seeking to be inspired by Dolly’s journey from humble beginnings to international stardom.

Dolly On Dolly

Dolly on Dolly: Interviews and Encounters with Dolly Parton (Musicians in Their Own Words Book 12)

Dolly on Dolly” by Randy L. Schmidt presents an engaging collection of interviews that span five decades of Dolly Parton’s illustrious career. This book, filled with her unique humor and down-home philosophy, provides an intimate look into her journey from a poor Smoky Mountain girl to the “Queen of Country Music.” It’s a patchwork of stories tracing her evolution, much like her famed “Coat of Many Colors.” 

The book includes material from renowned publications and previously unavailable interviews, offering readers a first-hand account of Dolly’s rags-to-riches tale and her impactful presence in the entertainment industry.

I’ve Had to Think Up A Way to Survive

I've Had to Think Up a Way to Survive: On Trauma, Persistence, and Dolly Parton (American Music Series)

I’ve Had to Think Up a Way to Survive” is a potent blend of personal essay and cultural criticism by Lynn Melnick, exploring Dolly Parton’s influence as a feminist icon and sex symbol. 

Each chapter dissects one of Parton’s songs, examining themes of violence, misogyny, creativity, love, and religion. This daring work provides an innovative framework for understanding our times and the journey toward self-discovery and survival.

Dolly Parton: In Her Own Words

Dolly Parton: In Her Own Words (In Their Own Words)


Dolly Parton: In Her Own Words” by Suzanne Sonnier is a collection of over 300 quotes from the country music legend and business icon. The book provides a comprehensive view of Dolly’s legacy, drawn from her interviews, speeches, and public statements. It encapsulates her wisdom, wit, and insights with a vivid picture of her journey from humble beginnings to global stardom. This compilation is a must-read for fans seeking to understand Dolly’s world through her own words.

Pilgrimage to Dollywood

Pilgrimage to Dollywood: A Country Music Road Trip through Tennessee (Culture Trails: Adventures in Travel)

In “Pilgrimage to Dollywood,” Helen Morales embarks on a journey through Tennessee, exploring the real and imaginary worlds of Dolly Parton. Starting from Graceland, Morales traverses iconic country music landmarks, eventually reaching Pigeon Forge, home of the “Dolly Homecoming Parade.” 

As she compares the Tennessee of Parton’s lyrics with reality, she contemplates the connections between country music, the land, and lifestyle. This personal quest, shared with her partner and daughter, also serves as Morales’ attempt to understand American values through Tennessee’s celebrity sites.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, this guide offers a fantastic selection of the best Dolly Parton books for adults. Whether you’re interested in her writings or seeking a deeper understanding of her life and career, there’s something here for every fan. These books not only celebrate Dolly’s incredible talent and resiliency but also provide a glimpse into the heart and mind of this beloved icon. 


Why is Dolly Parton so famous?

Dolly Parton’s popularity today extends beyond her singing and songwriting talents, according to Ted Miller, vice chair of the Dollywood Foundation. It’s her genuine kindness that truly endears her to people.

How intelligent is Dolly Parton?

Dolly is an exceptionally gifted individual with an IQ of 145.

What is something unique about Dolly Parton?

One unique and fascinating fact about Dolly Parton is that  Dolly has three Guinness World Records. She holds three Guinness World Records: One for “Most Decades With a Top 20 Hit on the US Hot Country Songs Chart,” another for “Most Hits on US Hot Country Songs Chart By a Female Artist,” and one for “Most No.

What is Dolly Parton most remembered for?

Dolly Parton holds the distinguished title of the most successful female country singer to date. Her timeless melodies have graced the illustrious Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for seven decades. With a record of chart-topping hits, Dolly reigns the female artist with the most No.1 songs in history.

What did Dolly Parton struggle with?

Dolly Parton had to undergo a hysterectomy, which meant she could never have children. It was a devastating blow, and she spiraled into a deep depression, even considering ending her life. But, she managed to gather her strength and redirect her focus toward a new business opportunity.

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Elvira Lagud