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 nonfiction: Truth & 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.

10 books Ann loves to recommend: Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood by Mark Harris; The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford; Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford; Endless Love by Scott Spencer; Lab Girl by Hope Jahren; True Grit by Charles Portis; Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed; Act One by Moss Hart; Independent People by Halldor Laxness; Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

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? Epice.

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 recommend most: The River of Doubt by Candace Millard; Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier; At Home by Bill Bryson; Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke; This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett; The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood; Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurty; Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi; Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley;

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 insist we keep in stock: Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Falada; Troublesome Young Men by Lynne Olson; Barbarian Days by William Finnegan

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 insist we keep in stock: Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt; The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith / JK Rowling; The Sherlockian by Graham Moore

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 insist we keep in stock: 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.

Catherine Bock, Inventory Manager and Adult Buyer

Quick description of what you do here: I manage our day-to-day inventory for the adult books and get to decide what new books to bring in.

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 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 insist we keep in stock: Some Luck by Jane Smiley; Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro; What Comes Next and How to Like It by Abigail Thomas; 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 insist we keep in stock: Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans; The Reason You're Alive by Matthew Quick

 

Steve Haruch, Marketing and Communications Manager, Musing Editor

Quick description of what you do here: I am marketing & communications manager. So I work on the store’s social media feeds and email newsletters, while also coordinating with other folks who are toiling away on events and other aspects of the shop. Basically, my job is to get the word out about what's going in (and around) Parnassus —- which is all pretty great —- and look for new ways to do that. I'm also editor of our online magazine, Musing

Favorite book as a kid: We were talking about this behind the counter the other day. There was a book about a sea turtle that was the first book I remember making me cry, but I can't remember the title of it. I really loved Lloyd Alexander's The Chronicles of Prydain. I made extremely painstaking illustrations for my book report on Taran Wanderer.

When I'm not at Parnassus, I'm ... Either working on my own writing at home, going through footage for a documentary film I'm producing or playing pick-up basketball with what's left of my knees.

Recommend a lunch spot in Nashville? I probably have more lunch meetings at Thai Esane than anywhere else. I especially love their larb.

Favorite author event we've had: There have been so many good ones, but a recent one that sticks out to me is Celeste Ng and Shanthi Sekharan. Maybe it's because I had just finished Little Fires Everywhere and got to spend a lot of time with it while writing a review for Chapter16. But that conversation felt really timely — in terms of talking about immigration and race — and also very universal, with these questions of what makes a family, and who gets to decide which families get to stay together. It was also great because while the overlap between the two books isn't huge or super-obvious, the authors made for a really engaging tandem, and their combined energy just lit up the room.

Books I insist we keep in stock: It's been a while since I read a book that was so powerful I felt like maybe I was incomplete in some way before I read it. That happened with Pachinko. (Luckily it doesn't seem to be in any danger of fading from the shelves any time soon.) A few that come to mind are out of print, I think — Mary Oliver's Wild Geese, Brigit Pegeen Kelly's Song — so for my second I'll say Ariel: The Restored Edition by Sylvia Plath. It undoes the reverse-svengali work of Ted Hughes, and really changes the overall tenor of the book. The language is still so striking, even so many waves of poetry later.

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 insist we keep in stock: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins; Euphoria by Lily King

Kevin Foster, Captain of Parnassus on Wheels

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

Books I insist we keep in stock: If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino; Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper

Rae Ann Parker, Director of Books and Events for Young Readers

Quick description of what you do here: I choose what to stock for our baby, picture book, chapter book and YA shelves. I also oversee Parnassus NEXT, our subscription box for YA readers.

Favorite book as a kid: Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff

When I'm not at Parnassus, I'm... enjoying a good book or movie or a walk with my dog.

Recommend a lunch spot in Nashville? Fido

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

Books I insist we keep in stock: The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley; After the Fall by Dan Santat

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

Book I insist we keep in stock: The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by Seonmi Hwang

 

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 insist we keep in stock: 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

Kay Witherow, Bookseller

Quick description of what you do here: I'm (officially) a children's bookseller and (less officially) a Wings of Fire expert. I'm particularly fond of helping find science fiction and/or fantasy books for readers of all ages. 

Favorite book as a kid: Redwall by Brian Jacques

When I'm not at Parnassus, I'm... usually home, with my own dog and my own books. I like to write, watch baseball, and scavenge cool stuff from thrift stores.   

Recommend a lunch spot in Nashville? Kobe's super easy to overlook, but it has one of the best deals on sushi I've found anywhere. 

Favorite author event we've had: Long before I started working here, I came as a customer to a John Scalzi event. It was my first time seeing an event at Parnassus, and it's still one of my favorite memories!

Books I insist we keep in stock: Cucumber Quest by Gigi D.G., Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin

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? Frothy Monkey

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.

Book I insist we keep in stock: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Sydney Bozeman, Bookseller

Quick description of what you do here: I'm a part-time bookseller!

Favorite book as a kid: The Sisters Grimm series by Michael Buckle

When I'm not at Parnassus, I'm... studying Publishing and Design Communications at Belmont University, reading, and creating artwork.

Recommend a lunch spot in Nashville? Fido

Favorite author event we've had: Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn's concert

Book I insist we keep in stock: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

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 insist we keep in stock: By Gaslight by Steven Price; The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman; Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

Ella Kuhnhenn, Bookseller

Quick description of what you do here: I sell books, mostly in the children’s and YA section.

Favorite book as a kid: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.

When I'm not at Parnassus, I'm... going to school at Hume Fogg, swimming, hanging out with friends, and watching movies with my dad.

Recommend a lunch spot in Nashville? Taqueria del Sol on 12th ave. It’s kid-friendly, fun, and delicious food for a cheaper price.

Favorite author event we've had: It’s a tie between John Green for Turtles All the Way Down and Maggie Stiefvater for All the Crooked Saints. John’s was cleverly structured and hilariously educational, while Maggie’s had this weirdly magical and hilarious atmosphere (plus bagpipes!)

Books I insist we keep in stockNimona by Noelle Stevenson, Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers, and The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

Ben Groner, Bookseller

Quick description of what you do here: I help people find books they'll (hopefully) love, with particular focus on the fiction, poetry, and literary collections sections.

Favorite book as a kid: His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman.There's parallel worlds, philosophical questions, heartbreak, and action galore. Each is better than the last.

When I'm not at Parnassus, I'm... writing poetry, hiking, going to Irish jams and bluegrass shows, playing tennis, or enjoying Nashville's diverse food scene!

Recommend a lunch spot in Nashville? La Mulita Express #2 for $1.25 tacos, or Sunflower Cafe for creative and tasty vegetarian dishes.

Favorite author event we've had: Ocean Vuong for On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous. His answers to interview questions were unfailingly thoughtful, and toward the end he sang "Bright Morning Stars" so beautifully it felt like everyone was holding their breath. I'd been on the store phone behind the register, so I'm not exactly sure how that moment transpired, but it was a treat.

Books I insist we keep in stock: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson; Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges; The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury; God's Silence by Franz Wright

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 insist we keep in stock: 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