Last night’s grand opening of Parnassus Books lived up to the months of anticipation:
There was a great wailing and gnashing of teeth this past year when Nashville lost, in rapid succession, its longtime independent bookseller, Davis-Kidd, and then saw its Borders stores summarily shuttered. That’s when local literary superhero Ann Patchett and her business partner Karen Hayes announced their plan to open a new indie bookstore (with an appropriately Greek moniker), rescuing the so-called Athens of the South from literary desertification.
Parnassus Books, named for Mt. Parnassus (mythological home of the Muses), opened last night to the kind of classed-up, subdued fanfare you’d expect of Nashville’s men and women of letters. The cheek-by-jowl crowd was adorned with a preponderance of professorial sweaters, chic eyeglasses, and bow ties, with the usual literary suspects on hand: authors Patchett and Alice Randall, and music writer/author/NPR contributor Craig Havighurst, to name a few.
The crowd fell silent when Patchett climbed onto a chair to deliver her thanks. “I’m not emotionally a very forthcoming person,” she said, resplendent in a cranberry-red sheath dress. “But I love you all tonight!”
It was one of those nights when love seemed to suffuse the room: gratitude-love for Patchett and Hayes; admiration-love for the many name-tagged authors sprinkled about the room, glad-handing their fans; and most of all, word-love from misty-eyed book nerds (self included), happily paging through novels, memoirs, and history tomes—browsing, sampling, discovering. The very thing you can’t do via Amazon.
The question is this: now that we self-described book lovers have gotten what we asked for—a well-curated gathering place for books, authors, and the folks who love them, will we follow up by opening our wallets? Because it’s going to take more than a roomful of love to keep Parnassus up and running.
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7 thoughts on “Parnassus Books Opens in Nashville”
I’ll swing by in a couple weeks when I’m in Nashville again and buy myself some birthday presents. We lost our last independent bookstore in Knoxville earlier this year, but one of the owners has recently re-imagined it downtown. Thanks for reminding me to check their calendar of upcoming author/poet readings!
Brilliant. I love Ann Patchett. Now I’ll have to make a detour to Nashville next time I’m in the States.
I can’t wait to go check it out. I hope it is a fruitful endeavor for all.
Hi there. Love the top photo! I also ran a post about the opening: http://www.leisahammett.com/2011/11/a-literary-resurrection-for-nashville.html …Cheers!
We travel to Nashville about 1-2 times per year we’ll definitely have to check this place out!!