Saturday, December 10, 2011

Booklovers Haven

    We're Open for Business
   What? A city that calls itself the "Athens of the South" has no independent bookstore? You have got to be kidding! Thankfully, Parnassus has changed all that...
    With the demise of Davis-Kidd, Nashvillians had been woefully missing what I like to call a "browsing" bookstore, and we all know a city of our size simply must have one. Although we are not totally bereft (we do have the delightful purveyor of used books, Bookman/Bookwoman down in Hillsboro Village, Rhino Booksellers near Lipscomb and the warehouse-like McKay's off of Charlotte), most of the book addicts I know have been waiting with bated breath for the much anticipated opening of Parnassus. Local author Ann Patchett (Run, Bel Canto, Patron Saint of Liars, et al) has partnered with a friend, Karen Hayes, to open this smallish but just right little shop around the corner in the heart of Green Hills.
    Do yourself a favor and stop by. The collection is somewhat limited by the space, but Ann and Karen have done a superb job getting to the book-loving heart of Nashville. They have carefully done their homework and obviously understand our odd little quirks in taste as well as our eccentricities. If you are looking for a place that specializes in a plethora of cutting edge independent fiction, this is probably not it. Instead you will find Parnassus boasts a solid collection of classics, some lovely tried and true children's books along with some contemporary offerings, and a broad landscape of other lovelies from current fiction by up-and-coming authors to philosophy to music and travel. Simply put, you are bound to find something that just might call your name. As for me, I was happy just to walk through the doors and find that sense of kinship that I have been missing. Booklovers of all ages will be at home here.

    I am an old fogey when it comes to books and have been around long enough to remember and miss Bernie Mills from the tiny Mills Bookstore. It was there that I bought my children's first hardcover books. I only allowed myself the luxury of splurging on special must-have books for them; my own books gladly traveled back and forth from the Nashville Public Library. But Bernie never once led me astray. He understood that I would likely never be a big spender, but he welcomed my company as a lover of the written word. And I totally trusted his recommendations. The chain bookstores obviously fill a need as do the on-line monsters, but I still like to "talk" books with a live person who knows something about them. And the friendly folks at Parnassus certainly do.
    And besides, what would a bookstore in Nashville be without a little live music now and then? After all, we ARE Music City, are we not?!
   While Parnassus thankfully fills a much-needed void, the verdict is not yet in whether or not this will become an integral part of the literary hub and heartbeat of this city. It is totally up to us the customers to ensure that it does. So the next time you are in the neighborhood, stop by. You will be welcomed with open arms!
all photos from Parnassus

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