A pilgrimage to Parnassus Books

I felt compelled to bring my copy of Bel Canto to Parnassus Books.

Most people go to Nashville for the music, the hot chicken, the Titans or Vanderbilt. Or lots of other wonderful things. This is, after all, a great city to visit.

I was the plus-one for my husband on a business trip and do you know where I wanted to go first?

Parnassus Books. This lovely bookstore in a shopping center 15 minutes from downtown Nashville, is owned by one of my favorite writers, Ann Patchett.

Ann Patchett’s books

I’ve loved her since I gobbled up Bel Canto a l-o-n-g time ago. Silly me, I even carried my 20-year-old copy to Parnassus just in case Ann happened to be there with a pen in her hand.

I met the author during a visit to Baltimore about six years ago. Her talk about what inspires her writing was one of my early posts for this blog.

Now I love her bookstore, too. There are shelves devoted to all her books, a darling children’s section, a speaker’s area for book talks.

I bought a birthday present, a Christmas present, the only Ann Patchett book not already on my bookshelf, Taft, a sticker for my laptop, and a book on BB King by Daniel DeVise, The King of the Blues. I had to buy it after hearing the author speak about it earlier this summer—and giving me the idea for my book tour in Deep Creek Lake. Beside, who doesn’t love BB King?

An author’s dream….speaking from the podium in this wonderful bookstore.

I do my best to support local bookstores. So I usually make a point to stop in bookshops whenever I travel. I’ve seen some great ones. There’s Lello, in Porto, reputed to be the most beautiful in the world. And City Lights, a literary landmark in San Francisco since the days of the Beat Poets. Turn the Page in Boonsboro, where Nora Roberts launches all of her titles (and where I launched one of mine.) In Los Angeles, I stopped in the fanciful Last Bookstore, and in New York, I love stopping at the gigantic Strand.

I have a local bookstore I consider “my own.” I’m always thrilled when the owner of The Greyhound near Ocean City, Md., contacts me for more copies of my books. It’s where I go for book launches–one is coming up in November.

Oh and what about the name of Parnassus Books. It’s from ancient history. Parnassus was the home of the muses. Perfect.

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