Our Booksellers

To see the latest books our staffers are reading and loving these days, make sure to check out the Staff Picks section of our online magazine, Musing! Meanwhile, meet our booksellers:
 

Ann Patchett, Parnassus Books Co-Owner

Ann Patchett is the author of seven novelsThe Patron Saint of Liars, Taft, The Magician’s Assistant, Bel Canto, RunState of Wonder, and most recently, Commonwealth. She was the editor of Best American Short Stories, 2006, and has written three books of nonfictionTruth & Beauty, about her friendship with the writer, Lucy Grealy; What Now? an expansion of her graduation address at Sarah Lawrence College; and This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage, a collection of essays that examines the theme of commitment.

See what Ann's been reading lately -- click here to read her blog!

 

Karen Hayes, Parnassus Books Co-Owner

Quick description of what you do here: Managing Owner

Favorite book as a kid: The Once and Future King, by T.H. White

When I'm not at Parnassus, I'm ... at home working or reading with my cats Francis and Fay, taking a walk in Percy Warner, or spending time with friends. I love to travel and take photographs, too.

Recommend a lunch spot in Nashville? Dozen. Their baguette sandwiches are amazing.

Favorite author event we've had: Hard to choose between David Sedaris and Doris Kearns Goodwin. They both are a dream to work with, have a great sense of humor, and obviously love what they do.

Books I sell most: River of Doubt by Candace Millard; A Constellation of Vital Phenonema by Anthony Marra; Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson; Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke; Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter; The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd; Jerry Lee Lewis by Rick Bragg; Hold Still by Sally Mann

 

Andy Brennan, Store Manager

Quick description of what you do here: I’m the store manager, which is sometimes called “floor manager,” — so I manage the floor. Dust bunnies, etc.

Favorite book as a kid: If I Ran the Zoo, by Dr. Suess

When I'm not at Parnassus, I'm ... hanging with Opie and dreaming of Tortola.

Recommend a lunch spot in Nashville? Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint

Favorite author event we've had: So many to choose but if I can only pick one – Doris Kearns Goodwin. I would never otherwise have known of her special relationship with Ron Burgundy.

Books I sell most: Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Falada; Night Soldiers by Alan Furst; Berlin Noir by Phillip Kerr; The Boys in the Boat by Daniel Brown; Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham; The Children by David Halberstam; Barbarian Days by William Finnegan

 

Stephanie Appell, Manager of Books for Young Readers

Quick description of what you do here: As the manager of books for young readers, I pick what books go on our baby, picture book, chapter book, and YA shelves; coordinate author events and school visits; oversee ParnassusNext subscription box; and help young readers (and their grown-ups) find great books to read, often using secret magics and ancient wisdom I learned during my time as a librarian.

Favorite book as a kid: Tamora Pierce's collected works. Let's be real, these are also my trapped-on-a-desert-island-favorites as a grown-up.

When I'm not at Parnassus, I'm ... hanging out with my boyfriend, trying new recipes, or watching Boston sports teams, which are the best sports teams.

Recommend a lunch spot in Nashville? Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, and my two favorite places to eat it are Mas Tacos Por Favor (get the chilaquiles roja on Saturday mornings) and Yeast Nashville (if you don't know what a kolache is, you are missing out). I also ideally eat breakfast when most people are eating lunch, so this is a totally acceptable answer.

Favorite author event we've had: The night we hosted Gayle Forman, Ruta Sepetys, Courtney C. Stevens, and David Arnold was pretty special for me. I love that part of my job is creating a space where the people who love the same books that I love come together as a community.

Books I sell most: I think Mem Fox's Where Is the Green Sheep, David Ezra Stein's Interrupting Chicken, and Jules Feiffer's Bark George are fantastic for the picture book set; I love giving independent readers Lauren Oliver's Liesl and Po, Gary Schmidt's The Wednesday Wars, or Sharon Draper's Stella by Starlight; and for YA readers of any age, if I can send them out the door with Patrick Ness's The Knife of Never Letting Go, Jennifer Donnelly's A Northern Light, or either of Jandy Nelson's two masterpieces, The Sky Is Everywhere and I’ll Give You The Sun, I consider my job well done. 

 

Niki Coffman, Events Director

Quick description of what you do here: I wrangle the bustling events calendar and arrange for your favorite authors to visit Nashville.

Favorite book as a kid: The Giver, by Lois Lowry

When I'm not at Parnassus, I'm ... trying new restaurants, baking delicious cakes, taking road trips, and snuggling my pups.

Recommend a lunch spot in Nashville? Chauhan Ale & Masala House -- I am in love with their tandoori chicken poutine.

Favorite author event we've had: Stephen King's sold-out event at the Ryman Auditorium.

Books I sell most: Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson; Little Bee by Chris Cleave; Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt; The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith / JK Rowling; The Sherlockian by Graham Moore; Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty; The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson

 

Ginger Nalley, Events Manager

Quick description of what you do here: I help Niki wrangle the calendar and work at our events.

Favorite book as a kid:Mr. Popper's Penguins, by Richar Atwater; The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Manus Pinkwater

When I'm not at Parnassus, I'm ... hanging with my kids, cats, and dogs. Or watching my kids at gymnastics.

Recommend a lunch spot in Nashville? Unique Flavors

Favorite author event we've had: Kid President was a lot of fun....although I also enjoyed meeting grownup President Jimmy Carter!

Books I sell most:I like recommending authors more than specific books, so I’d say Chris Bohjalian, Diana Gabaldon, Kristin Hannah, and Mary Kay Andrews are some favorites.

 

Tristan Charles, Inventory Manager

Quick description of what you do here: I’m the buyer (for adult titles) and inventory manager.

Favorite book as a kid: The Legend of Luke, by Brian Jacques

When I'm not at Parnassus, I'm ... playing video games, reading, or playing with my dog.

Recommend a lunch spot in Nashville? Marché. Try their brunch, too.

Favorite author event we've had: Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

Books I sell most: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel; Redeployment by Phil Klay; the Redwall series by Brian Jacques; The Once and Future King by T.H. White

 

Catherine Bock, Special Sales and Office Manager

Quick description of what you do here: I handle our online and special orders, as well as managing our first editions clubs. If a book is shipped to you, chances are I'm responsible.

Favorite book as a kid:The Harry Potter series., by J.K. Rowling

When I'm not at Parnassus, I'm ... cooking, reading, binging Netflix, or hiking with my shopdog Belle.

Recommend a lunch spot in Nashville? Kalamata’s. They have great, fast Greek food. I can never say no to a falafel.

Favorite author event we've had: Margaret Atwood. She was just as smart, witty, and kind as I'd hoped she was.

Books I sell most: Some Luck by Jane Smiley; Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro; What Comes Next and How to Like It by Abigail Thomas; Mosquitoland by David Arnold; In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides.

 

Sissy Gardner, Assistant Floor Manager

Quick description of what you do here: I’m the assistant floor manager, and I specialize in shelving children's and YA books, telling coworkers to go to lunch, climbing ladders, patting Bear, and balancing the registers.

Favorite book as a kid: The Long Winter and Thirteen Georgia Ghosts

When I'm not at Parnassus, I'm ... sleeping, reading, or wine tasting.

Recommend a lunch spot in Nashville? blvd nashville

Favorite author event we've had: Mary Laura Philpott & JD DuPuy

Books I sell most: California by Edan Lepucki; Sparky! by Jenny Offill; I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith; The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick; Peanut Butter & Cupcake by Terry Border; Death Cloud by Andrew Lane; Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum

 

Mary Laura Philpott, Editor of Musing, Social Media / Marketing Projects

Quick description of what you do here: I produce our online magazine, Musing, where I get to interview my favorite authors and write in the voices of our shop dogs. I also keep one eye on some social media and marketing things.

Favorite book as a kid: I loved the original Hans Christian Andersen story “The Little Mermaid” (which is waaaaay different from the Disney version). I also read age-inappropriate things like Firestarter by Stephen King when I was little and tried very hard to set things on fire with my mind.

When I'm not at Parnassus, I'm ... chasing my dogs, chasing my kids, or chasing a deadline.

Recommend a lunch spot in Nashville? For a quick sandwich within walking distance, call The Food Company on Bandywood, order the Jasper, then go pick it up.

Favorite author event we've had: Every David Sedaris event.

Must-stock book: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. And at any given time, I'm in love with at least one funny essay collection and one new literary fiction release.

 

Kathy Schultenover, Bookseller and Book Club Coordinator

Quick description of what you do here: As the book clubs manager, I serve as a liaison to community book clubs, as well as a bookseller here in the store.

Favorite book as a kid:The Little House on the Prairie series, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, which my fourth grade teacher started me on

When I'm not at Parnassus, I'm ... reading (of course!) or taking care of my grandkids.

Recommend a lunch spot in Nashville? Picnic Court (the chicken salad is to-die-for)

Favorite author event we've had: Amor Towles for Rules of Civility (super smart and suave)

Books I sell most: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins; Euphoria by Lily King

 

Grace Wright, Captain of Parnassus on Wheels

Quick description of what you do here: I currently manage our secondary, mobile location: Parnassus On Wheels - nicknamed Pegasus or "Peggy" to her friends. (Which if you're reading this you are!) You can find out where Parnassus On Wheels will be open for business by either following us on twitter @ParnassusTruck or checking out the Parnassus on Wheels link on our home page.

Favorite book as a kid: The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley

When I'm not at Parnassus, I'm... dropping by my favorite local bookstore, Parnassus; trying out awesome new restaurants in Nashville; hiking; and working on my book-making skills.

Recommend a lunch spot in Nashville? Too many new good places to count!

Favorite author event we've had: The time I got to meet Jasper Fforde at Southern Festival of books and almost hyperventilated. Does that count? And definitely our event with Becky Albertalli and Jasmine Warga — they were just such wonderful authors and so eloquent about the need for diversity of all types in YA literature.

Books I sell most: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde; The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman; An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir; The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon; Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones 

 

Halley Parry, Bookseller & Social Media Manager

Quick description of what you do here: I run the daily social media for the shop AND I'm a bookseller. I love them both equally.

Favorite book as a kid: From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler 

When I'm not at Parnassus, I'm ... reading, watching Frasier, or walking my dog Leonard. 

Recommend a lunch spot in Nashville? Hemingway's has a stellar Reuben (and a literary name, so). 

Favorite author event we've had: Zadie Smith. 

Must-stock books: Isadora by Amelia Gray, Giovanni's Room, and anything by Rebecca Solnit. 

 

Bill Long-Innes, Bookseller

Quick description of what you do here: I am a bookseller. Most often, I’m behind the register.

Favorite book as a kid: Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome

When I'm not at Parnassus, I'm ... Watching football, at the bar at Yazoo.

Recommend a lunch spot in Nashville? Marché

Favorite author event we've had: Probably Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn

Books I sell most: One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson; Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransom; The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame; Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee; My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell; The All of It by Jeannette Haien

 

Rae Ann Parker, Bookseller

Quick description of what you do here: I work in the children’s department as a bookseller.

Favorite book as a kid: the Little House on the Prairie series

When I'm not at Parnassus, I'm... writing, reading, or volunteering as a school tour guide at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

Recommend a lunch spot in Nashville? Taco Mamacita

Favorite author event we've had: Jessica Young’s event for My Blue Is Happy which included bluegrass music and blue snacks!

Books I sell most: Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin; The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger; The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt; The Teacher’s Funeral by Richard Peck; Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko 

 

River Jordan, Bookseller

Quick description of what you do here: Some people call it being a bookseller. I think of it as book therapist. For every human condition, need, and season there is a perfect book that meets the reader where they are. I'm a story 'matchmaker.'

Favorite book as a kid: David and The Phoenix by Edward Ormandroyd

When I'm not at Parnassus, I'm... at the Belcourt sitting in the dark waiting for that magic moment where the lights dim and the movie begins.

Recommend a lunch spot in Nashville? The Picnic Cafe. It's fast. It's good. You can eat inside or out and that's always a nice choice. And people always seem to be so cheerful there. It's contagious.

Favorite author event we've had: Dennis Lehane for the Salon@615 Series. He told great personal stories about his big, Irish-American family, Boston, bars, baseball. I left a bigger fan than ever.

Books I sell most: West With the Night by Beryl Markham; The Given Day by Dennis Lehane; Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt; All Over But the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg; Gilead by Marilynne Robinson; For Whom The Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway; Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn; Me and Earl and The Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews; The Ecology of A Cracker Childhood by Janisse Ray; My Brother Michael by Janis Owens; Bright's Passage by Josh Ritter; A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel; The Book of The Dun Cow by Jr. Wangerin Walter

 

Devin Rutland, Bookseller

Quick description of what you do here: I'm a bookseller in the children's department.

Favorite book as a kid: The Ramona series by Beverly Cleary.

When I'm not at Parnassus, I'm ... working at my full-time job in children's mental health, reading, seeing touring Broadway shows at the TPAC, crying over pictures of cute puppies and/or babies, or losing my mind over Auburn football.

Recommend a lunch spot in Nashville? Edley's Barbecue. The BBQ Loaded Fries are so good that it makes me want to hit somebody, hence why I usually order those to go.

Favorite author event we've had: John Green. It was such a fun, educational, and emotional night.

Must-stock books: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

 

Kevin Foster, Bookseller

Quick description of what you do here: Drop recommendations all over the store — but especially in the children’s advancing readers section and weird, weird literary fiction

Favorite book as a kid: Harry Potter, of course!

When I'm not at Parnassus, I'm … holding court at coffee shops or singing

Recommend a lunch spot in Nashville? Gotta get that International Market while it lasts

Favorite author event we've had: George Saunders with Lincoln in the Bardo — he looked into my soul

Must-stock book: Italo Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler

 

Keltie Peay, Bookseller

Quick description of what you do here: Bookseller, champion of non-fiction from cooking memoir to military history. (But honestly, I love it all.)

Favorite book as a kid: The Trixie Belden series (far superior to Nancy Drew). Still hoping to be a girl detective when I grow up.

When I'm not at Parnassus, I'm ... working toward being a girl detective. Or reading. Also hang a lot at the Green Hills branch of the library. And Radnor Lake. 

Recommend a lunch spot in Nashville? I pick Noshville every time. They put something in that weird sweet and sour soup that is addictive.

Favorite author event we've had: Too hard to call: David Sedaris, Will Schwalbe, and--being a girl of a certain age--Andrew McCarthy.

Must-stock book: Very difficult question. I am easily distracted by my most recent book-love affair (yeah, I'm talking to you, The Heart's Invisible Furies). But I do always like an opening to sell somebody on Halberstam's The Children.  

 

John Cochran, Bookseller

Quick description of what you do here: I am a bookseller in the store and also aboard Peggy (aka Pegasus), known to the public as the "Parnassus on Wheels" bookmobile.

Favorite book as a kid: My favorites were Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen. The latter experienced a healthy stint on the banned books list, which makes me proud of my childhood tastes!

When I'm not at Parnassus, I'm ...  either working at my home recording studio or on my next writing project.

Recommend a lunch spot in Nashville? Baja Burrito. No contest.

Favorite author event we've had: Albeit hectic, the David Sedaris event in June 2017 was so much fun.

Must-stock book: It's a tie between The Moviegoer by Walker Percy and Eudora Welty's collected stories. Two wonderful classics. The book I sell the most, however, is likely Ottessa Moshfegh's short story collection, Homesick for Another World -- certainly a soon-to-be classic.

 

Katherine Klockenkemper, Bookseller

Quick description of what you do here: I am a full-time bookseller, and I do the chalkboard.

Favorite book as a kid: The Harry Potter series

When I'm not at Parnassus, I'm ... dead inside. (That's a joke.) Real answer: I love to spend time outside and take long walks around my neighborhood. 

Recommend a lunch spot in Nashville? Noshville is a New York-style decicatessan that has been here in Green Hills for over 20 years. Great, classic diner feel with great breakfast food, too! I get the tuna melt.

Favorite author event we've had: It's a tie between David Sedaris and RL Stine + Marc Brown

Books I sell the most: Waiting is Not Easy by Mo Willems, Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett

 

Betsy Coughlin, Bookseller

Quick description of what you do here: I’m a bookseller. I gush about books I love and try to connect folks to books they'll love.

Favorite book as a kid: Mary Poppins, P.L. Travers 

When I'm not at Parnassus, I'm ... Writing, reading, kicking it in the woods, figure-skating and teaching religion/spirituality at Belmont University down the street.

Recommend a lunch spot in Nashville? Fido and Burger Up (I can't make it one week without their sweet potato fries) are my go-to's, but the best food is on the East Side: Marché, Mas Tacos, and Mitchell Delicatessen... any one will change your life.

Favorite author event we've had: Elizabeth Gilbert during her book tour for Big Magic

Books I sell most: Where'd You Go, Bernadette, Maria Semple; Everything I Never Told You, Celeste Ng; Fishbowl, Bradley Somer; State of Wonder, Ann Patchett; When Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanithi. Also, pretty much anything published by Riverhead Books.
 

 

Margy Roark, Bookseller

Quick description of what you do here: Technically, I sell books, but I am probably the employee who ends up buying the most books.

Favorite book as a kid: A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

When I'm not at Parnassus, I'm... Reading poetry, writing, raising kids, trying out pratfalls to make the kids laugh.

Recommend a lunch spot in Nashville? Ginger Thai

Favorite author event we've had: the humble and irreverent David Sedaris, for the way he truly delighted in every single person there.

Books I sell most: A Life's Work: On Becoming a Mother by Rachel Cusk; The Silent Woman by Janet Malcolm; View with a Grain of Sand by Wislawya Szymborska; Traction Man is Here by Mini Grey; and Shark vs Train (See Margy’s latest picks on Musing.)

 

Sarah Arnold, Bookseller

Quick description of what you do here: I am a bookseller during the summer and school breaks.

Favorite book as a kid: Harry Potter series, Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

When I'm not at Parnassus, I'm... hanging out with friends, playing guitar, and reading.

Recommend a lunch spot in Nashville? Local Taco

Favorite author event we've had: The event with Jamie Tworkowski is my favorite so far because it was amazing to see all the people he has had a positive impact on come together at the store.

Books I sell most: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys; Mosquitoland by David Arnold; The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky; Wonder by R.J. Palacio

 

Peter King, Does Everything/Receives Books

Quick description of what you do here: I receive the books from shipping and enter them into our inventory system.

Favorite book as a kid: The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf

When I'm not at Parnassus, I'm... usually at home. Sometimes I go other places.

Recommend a lunch spot in Nashville? 2-Boots Pizza

Favorite author event we've had: My favorite so far has been Carol Bradley with Last Chain on Billie

Books I sell most: The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by Seonmi Hwang