We all have destinations on our bucket list that seem so close yet so far away, don’t we? For many RV’ers, those must-sees include national parks, mountains, beaches, deserts. And while I want all that too, I also have a lot of bookstores on my must-see list.
Top among those bookstores has long been Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee.
Do you know what finally happened last week? Bill and I RV-ventured our way over to Nashville, and Parnassus Books did not disappoint!
Author and literary goddess, Ann Patchett, co-owns Parnassus Books in Nashville. She and her business partner, Karen Hayes, opened Parnassus in 2011 after the only two bookstores in town closed because, as she explains, “…we knew that we didn’t want to live in a city that didn’t have a bookstore.”
Think a minute about the timing of that store opening – 2011. Things in the book-buying world weren’t looking all that great. In fact, opening a book store probably should have been one of the worst ideas. The U.S. economy was still struggling to recover from the 2008 recession, and the sticks and bricks retail landscape was grim at best with Amazon’s rise and their e-reader, the Kindle, growing rapidly in popularity.
And yet. Here we are nearing 2020 and Parnassus Books endures. Not only that but from the looks of it, at least through my eyes, it thrives.
It’s not just a place to buy books. – It is a wonderfully beautiful place to buy books! Carefully curated books. (All of Ann’s are signed, of course.) With storytime for the kids and frequent author events, I envy the locals of Nashville.
If books, book stores, independent book stores, Ann Patchett, or all of the above is of interest to you, check out this PBS NewsHour interview from 2016 with Ann talking about Parnassus. Then go down the YouTube rabbit hole (like I did) by entering “Ann Patchett” into its search box and watch all the other hundreds of delightful videos with Ann in them. And then, if you’re so inspired, read her books. Her latest, The Dutch House, is my favorite to date! Maybe go to your local bookstore and buy it.
Some Helpful Info
3900 Hillsboro Pike, Suite 14, Nashville, TN 37215
Monday – Saturday, 10 am – 8 pm
Sunday, noon – 6 pm
If you’re wondering, like I was, what the origin of the store’s name is, it is explained on their website like this: “In Greek mythology, Mount Parnassus was the home of literature, learning, and music. We are Nashville’s Parnassus, providing a refuge for Nashvillians of all ages who share in our love of the written word. We provide a venue for writers to connect with readers, and for readers to connect with books. In doing so, we strive to complement and contribute to the rich cultural character of Nashville, the Athens of the South.”