If you are buying all your books online, you are seriously missing out. I understand it, I really do – Amazon is almost always (like 98% of the time) cheaper than buying new from a local shop. However, as chain bookstores continue to shrink (here’s looking at you, Barnes & Noble, indie bookstores are actually growing, in part because while they may not be able to compete with the prices offered by Amazon and Barnes & Noble, they offer something worth much more, and that money can’t buy – community.
Parnassus Books is located in Nashville, TN, and owned by author Ann Patchett and Karen Hayes. It has now been open for 7 years, and is one of the most beautiful bookstores I’ve ever had the privilege to set foot in – not because of its size, because the store is truthfully only a moderate size – but you immediately have the vibe that yes, books are loved here, and when you speak to any of the employees you know that they, too, love books. Only a few years ago people were declaring local bookstores to be a thing of the past, but to quote Ann –
You may have heard the news that the independent bookstore is dead, that books are dead, that maybe even reading is dead—to which I say: Pull up a chair, friend. I have a story to tell.
Books, books, books…
Lovely collection of books from native Tennessee (Tennesseean?) authors.
Special event space! Which normally is somewhat more hemmed in, but on this particular day I was at the store a Maggie Stiefvater book event. EEEEEEEP yes.
Spectacular children’s section!
And the YA selection that nearly stopped my heart. Like my entire TBR was on these shelves. It was with GREAT difficulty that I didn’t empty my entire bank account. I still have some vague regret over that but I’m sure my utilities providers thank me.
THEY HAVE SHOP DOGS. Yes, plural. I’ve only ever seen one at a time, though (when I lived in Tennessee I went to Parnassus semi-regularly). You can meet them all if you read this page. If I have correctly identified, this particular shop dog is Bear.
Parnassus also has a fabulous event program! I swear every month there are at least three events I wish I could go to, and I only ever made it to two when I lived in the area. One of which was the before-mentioned Maggie Stiefvater event, and the other the launch party for When Dimple Met Rishi – YES, THAT BOOK. Even though I sadly do not have pics of that particular event. There is also a frequently updated blog, and they have TWO monthly book box programs, one of which is YA specific. Be still my heart…
Oh, and the decor is also fab. They have Elizabeth Hartman pattern pillows and enough bookish merch to fill my entire house. Sadly I forgot to take pictures of THOSE shelves. Also, my photos are about a year old, so if you visit now it is possible things may have changed…but I think I can say with confidence that the heart and soul of Parnassus will be the same. 🙂
This post is the first in what I plan to be a monthly (or so) feature, as I live within 100 miles of over 20 locally owned bookstores. If you want to find local indie stores near you, use this lovely tool from Indiebound – though I warn you, it is NOT comprehensive. Within 15 miles of me I know of two local bookshops that don’t show up on my map. Indiebound doesn’t list very many used bookstores, at least not ones from my area. So be sure to check Google and local pages to see if there are any near you!
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