Thursday, May 9, 2013

Bookstore Review: Parnassus Books

When I was in Nashville for a conference, I made time to visit Parnassus Books, owned by author Ann Patchett.  Ann is the author of State of Wonder and Bel Canto, among others.

The store is beautiful, and I was there shortly after opening on a Thursday and it was pretty busy!  There is a small room with cookbooks and travel writing, and a carved out space for children and YA.  In front of that is a beautiful art book section, more in-depth than most bookstores.  While science fiction and fantasy are relegated to the back of the store (why do stores do this?), there is also a substantial section of music books.  When in Nashville....

The author has handwritten recommendation cards throughout the store, which was a nice touch.  A few of the cards are also written by her staff, but the majority seemed to be Patchett.  I bet this sells quite a few volumes!  There was a nice section of local authors, but my favorite feature was probably the shelves of local book club picks.  What a great idea, and a service to the community (also probably selling quite a few books.)

As someone living in the southeast, I know how few authors bother to come down to visit the readers down here.  It is really unfortunate, but clearly having a known author as a bookstore owner has made a difference at Parnassus Books, just check out this line-up:

Maria Semple! Isabel Allende!? Augusten Burroughs! Jess Walter! I wish I lived closer. I didn't buy a book.  I didn't buy a $15 poster of the store either.  I was in the mood to produce, not consume, so I bought an empty journal to fill up with my own words.

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