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.

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 youth services 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, reading, cross-stitching, 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 on Saturday mornings, you'll thank me later) and Yeast Nashville (if you don't know what a kolache is, you are missing out).

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. Recently, the on-stage conversation between Kelly Loy Gilbert, Tamara Ireland Stone, and Andrew Shvarts was among the most incredible I've ever witnessed. And then there was the time I got to introduce John Green to a room full of fifteen hundred fans.

Books I insist we keep in stock:Was the Cat in the Hat Black: The Hidden Racism of Children's Literature and the Need for Diverse Booksby Philip Nel; Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever by Mem Fox

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

Mary Laura Philpott, Editor of Musing and Book Enthusiast at Large

Quick description of what you do here: I *love* introducing readers to fabulous new books, and I get to do that here by running our online magazine, Musing, where we showcase author interviews and book excerpts, Ann's blog, and the phenomenal reading recommendations of our shop people (and dogs). I also handle a variety of special projects, including writing and speaking about books and indie bookstores.

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 ... probably reading.

Recommend a lunch spot in Nashville? Firefly Grille -- walkable from the store!

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

Books I insist we keep in stock: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro; Half Empty by David Rakoff; and usually a handful of my latest favorite novels by brilliant women

Steve Haruch, Marketing and Communications Manager

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.

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, Special Sales and Office Manager

Quick description of what you do here: I process online orders and take care of administrative tasks and shipping for the First Editions Club and Parnassus NEXT.

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

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 Grimmseries by Michael Buckle

When I'm not at Parnassus, I'm... studying Publishing and Design Dommunications 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

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.

Books I insist we keep in stock: 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.

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? Marche

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

Books I insist we keep in stock:  Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore, by Robin Sloan; Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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

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 insist we keep in stock: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox, Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

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

Carla Lafontaine, Bookseller

Quick description of what you do here: When I'm not giving out free hugs and high fives, I'm selling amazing books to the best people!

Favorite book as a kid:The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, by C.S. Lewis

When I'm not at Parnassus, I'm ... I can be found (camera in hand) on some trail, downtown street or old cathedral searching for that perfect light.

Recommend a lunch spot in Nashville? Taqueria del Sol or Burger Up--you must try the truffle fries!

Favorite author event we've had: Courtney Stevens' launch party for Faking Normal -- I performed live music in the bookstore with some of my favorite people. It was such a great night!

Books I insist we keep in stock: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers

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

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.

Books I insist we keep in stock:  An Army at Dawn by Rick Atkinson; The Children by David Halbertstam

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

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.

Book I insist we keep in stock:  Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman

Peter Taylor, Bookseller

Quick description of what you do here: When I'm not dancing to half the songs that come on the store playlist and complaining about the other half, I end up selling books to customers.

Favorite book as a kid: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe or Ender's Game.

When I'm not at Parnassus, I'm ...  Reading, playing guitar, or watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

Recommend a lunch spot in Nashville? El Stuffed Pepper. Order the Chuy's Special with steak.

Favorite author event we've had: Colson Whitehead, because that man's a genius. Also, somebody came into the store just to play the piano for a bit the other day. It wasn't an author event, I guess, but it was very nice.

Book I insist we keep in stock:  The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides (great for bibliophiles) and Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (great for humans)