Meet our staff:
Ann Patchett is the author of six novels: the New York Times bestselling Run and State of Wonder; The Patron Saint of Liars, which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; Taft, which won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize; The Magician's Assistant; and Bel Canto, which won the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Orange Prize, the BookSense Book of the Year, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She is also the author of two works of nonfiction: the New York Times bestselling Truth & Beauty and What Now? Patchett has written for many publications, including the Atlantic Monthly, Harper's Magazine, Gourmet, the New York Times, Vogue, and the Washington Post. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.
Karen moved to Nashville when she was 12 and it made her very happy. She has lived here ever since, except for a short stint in Italy, which she loved, but she was still very happy to come back to Nashville. Her charmed life continued when she fell by chance into the book business when she was 20 years old. She has never left it (except for that stint in Italy). Besides reading, Karen loves travel, the outdoors, music, photography and her friends.
For someone whose next life will be as a jazz pianist who writes critically-acclaimed novels on the side, Mary Grey finds her life in Nashville to be just about perfect. In addition to being the General Manager of Parnassus Books, as well as its expert children’s book buyer, she devotes her free time to volunteering at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center and the Nashville Jazz Workshop. She is also a past national president of the Women’s National Book Association. Books, music…throw in a beach, and MG’s contented.
Niki adds sparkle to Parnassus Books, whether it's through her personality or her vast array of glittery shoes. With an extensive background working for a literary agency in New York and as the Campaign Coordinator for the Nashville Public Library Foundation, Niki brings an editor's eye and a marketer's talent to Parnassus. If you've ever talked to her in the store, you probably know that her favorite book is Little Bee by Chris Cleave. (If she hasn't made you read it yet, just wait. She will.) Niki is also the proud owner of store dog Lexington, and Lex's rambunctious sister, Sam, who is not store dog material.
Tristan Hickey graduated from the University of Tennessee in 2011 with a major in English. His favorite authors include Salman Rushdie, Cormac McCarthy, and Rainer Maria Rilke.
Patrik Ward is the chief curator of our Science Fiction & Fantasy and Anthropology sections. He comes to us from New Mexico by way of Wisconsin, where he spent his undergrad years studying sunken artifacts and translating Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. His favorite book is The Toilers of the Sea by Victor Hugo.
After serving 16 years with the New Zealand Foreign Service, Andy moved to a small village in the Carribbean for several years before finally settling down in Nashville, TN with his wife. His many travels around the world have instilled in him a love for mystery and a particular passion for World War II novels. He is currently working on restoring a vintage 1927 Bristol Bulldog biplane.
Lauren's love for books goes all the way back to Island of the Blue Dolphins where she remembers being scolded for forgetting to eat and opting to read instead. That passion never dwindled as she made her way to Nashville from southern California, via St. Louis where she split her time between the English and Women's Studies departments. Before coming to Parnassus, Lauren spent time learning the difference between a cappuccino and a latte, interning at various political groups, standing guard to art, and working as an enrichment teacher for active kids. She has an indescribable obsession with all things Joss Whedon and may own more than one piece of Whovian paraphernalia.
Donna Nicely served as Director of the Nashville Public Library from 1995-2011. Today she is a happy bookseller at Parnassus Books. She has rediscovered the pleasure of putting just the right book into an eager reader’s hands. Donna hosts a monthly community series at Parnassus Books with notable Nashvillians entitled “Let’s Talk Books.” She enjoys walking, traveling, and, of course reading. Recently she started a blog called “The Reading Life.”
Miriam brings a long history of retail experience to our little corner of the world. In addition to her responsibilities as a bookseller, she also spearheads our Special Orders, delivering precious little books into the arms of eager readers. Among other things, Miriam has built a log cabin, marketed lingerie, worked on the sale of Hank Williams' publishing catalogue, edited a rock climbing guide, and jumped out of a perfectly good airplane from two miles up. A ninth-generation Deep South Texan, she studies creative writing at Vanderbilt.
The following, taken from After great pain, a formal feeling comes – (372) by Emily Dickinson, is a favorite:
This is the Hour of Lead –
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow –
First – Chill – then Stupor – then the letting go –
What do Keats's Ode to a Nightingale, Susanna's aria in the garden in Mozart's Marriage of Figaro, and bookselling all have in common? Nathan would like to find that out. His library--a contained catastrophe in progress--includes his paintings, philosophical essays, handmade dolls, poems, and limestone sculptures. When going out, he selects a small stack of books as carefully as one chooses an outfit. Truthfully, sometimes the stack is larger than small, which he says has been pointed out to him on more than a few occassions...
Kathy Schultenover is the Book Club Coordinator for Parnassus Books. She facilitates store book clubs and directs the outreach to local book clubs, a job she held for 17 years at Davis Kidd Booksellers as well. Her specialty and interest is fiction, both contemporary and classic.
A former employee of Davis-Kidd Booksellers, Ginger joined our team as a bookseller and now leads our offiste events, helping to bring the joy of books to Nashville at large.
Margy (with a hard "g") has been reading from an early age. She has been known to hide from her three kids in order to read a few more pages. She reads the New Yorker magazine from back to front. Poetry and short stories make up most of her reading list, although the occasional non-fiction gets on there if it's not too longwinded. Latest feat: teaching Shakespeare's poetry to her daughter's Brownie troop.
Yashwina loves words, books, books about books, and people who love books. If you can't find her, ask for the "cheerful girl who always has a flower in her hair."
Lauren is a bookseller by summer and high school English teacher by school year. Not being the most athletic kid growing up, she immersed herself in books at an early age and never looked back. Moreover, being a native Mississippian, she grew up surrounded by the influence of great southern storytellers, which of course led her to name her dog Faulkner. Some of her other favorite authors include Charles Dickens and David Foster Wallace.
Sissy is an Augusta, GA native and Sewanee graduate. She has a cat named Garp, is the Queen of the Loose Women Book Club, and is a mom to J.C. Her husband Jim says she uses the superlative too much. Her favorite book is The Secret History … and also, maybe, Until I Find You. She has told the book club the best book ever is The Magicians, but told another friend it is I Capture the Castle. She was not lying when she told her high-school English teacher her favorite book is All the King's Men. She is certain the most fascinating novel set in Tennessee is Body of a Girl, but then of course she has to mention the best short story collection in Nashville, which is Ladies and Gentlemen. Her favorite writers are Mary Laura Philpott and J.D. DuPuy.
According to Heidi, one of the best things about portrait photography is that she gets to ask interesting people what they're reading. Here are some of her favorites, in terms of both recommendations and recommenders.
from Sara Bareilles:
I'm always hesitant to share what I'm reading because generally people don't seem to want to hear about Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea, but I also loved The Glass Castle and Half Broke Horses, both by Jeannette Walls. The Glass Castle is an amazing memoir of a young girl and her struggling family, and of how the role of a child is challenged when the parents never grew up themselves. Half Broke Horses traces the story of Jeannette's grandmother as she's growing up in the early ranching days of Texas, another incredible account of the hardship and heartbreak of a child being forced to grow up.
from Allan Heinberg:
My recent favorite books have been The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach and The Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes, and my current guilty pleasure is Mindy Kaling's Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). I'm also a huge Anne Patchett fan.
from John Stirratt:
I recently read and loved Graeme Gibson's The Bedside Book of Birds: An Avian Miscellany. It's a beautifully laid-out book of artistic and literary ephemera relating to birds, from ancient to contemporary. Truly beautiful. I also loved The Ashley Book of Knots by Clifford Ashley. It's pretty amazing when there's one definitive book on a subject; this would be the Gibbon's Rise and Fall of knots. Wonderfully archaic and completely comprehensive, it combines amazing how-to drawings with charming black and white photography.
from Benmont Tench:
Right now I'm rereading the Volokhonsky and Pevear translation of War and Peace--highly recommended. Don't look at it as a daunting task, think of it as an opportunity to hang out with some great characters! (P.S. Anne Patchett is my new hero.)
Named after Lexington Avenue in New York (not the city in Kentucky), Lex is a quiet, pensive dog who prefers an afternoon with a good Jane Austen novel to a game of tag in a sunny field. She has been known to occasionally recommend books that are on the bottom shelves.
Sparky is Ann's 9-month old new rescue pup. He loves to pop in and offer recommendations in exchange for attention. His particular specialty is deconstructive criticism..
People who make our store better, even if they don't work here on a daily basis.
Matt Slocum grew up in his father's bookstore in the Texas Hill Country where he developed a voracious reading habit. After studying classical cello in Austin, he moved to Nashville to pursue a career in the music business, working as a touring and session musician, songwriter, arranger, and recording artist. Apart from a brief stint in Northern California he has called Nashville home for the past 15 years, where he lives with his wife, Kristen, two daughters, Olive and Alice, and a crazy dog named Woody. His favorite book is The Moviegoer by Walker Percy.