This is another phone-it-in post, but to get back in the habit, you do whatcha gotta do, ya know? The following is once again a thing I wrote as a sample for Book Riot. Since composing it, I’ve made the pilgrimage to Parnassus, and OMG IT IS AWESOME.
Due to lack of funds, hectic work schedules, and other Dumb Adult Things, my husband and I aren’t taking any grand international vacations this year. Thanks to a friend’s impending nuptials, we will be making a trip to Nashville this year. Nashvegas (as the locals call it) is dear to our hearts for a number of reasons: we met and spent a number of years together there, and still have a number of friends in the area who we look forward to seeing. Believe it or not, the Tennessee capital isn’t a bad place to be a bibliophile, either:
Shop ‘Til You Drop
Nashville has some bangin’ bookstores. Of course, any bookworm worth her salt has heard of Anne Patchett’s Parnassus Books (which, alas, opened right around the time we moved away). College kids and Hillsboro Village hipsters are familiar with the oddly named BookManBookWoman, which is wedged between the Vanderbilt and Belmont University campuses. Rhino Booksellers has a couple of locations, stocked with lightly used books and charm galore. Then you’ve got the warehouse that is McKay’s, where I spent many an hour paging through random German-language novels and pawing through used sheet music. Newer on the scene but wisely allied with iconic record shop Grimey’s, Howlin’ Books has a small but well-curated collection worth investigating.
Check-ch-check-check-check-ch-Check It Out
Everyone talks about the libraries of New York and Seattle, and for good reason – they’re awesome! However, Nashville’s libraries are nothing to sneeze at, and were a favorite hangout during my college years. The main branch downtown is absolutely gorgeous, features rotating exhibits, and frequently hosts concerts from the refined (ex. classical guitar) to the rockin’ (I saw Harry and the Potters in NPL’s courtyard several summers ago, which was a blast). If you venture into the ‘burbs, the satellite branches are quite lovely as well; I have fond memories of visiting the Green Hills location in particular.
Crack a Bottle
After all that literary tourism, you’ll probably be in the mood for an evening of relaxation in a bookish bar. Fortunately, Nashville’s got your back. You might walk right past the Patterson House your first visit (I know I did), but it’s worth seeking out. The inconspicuous exterior perfectly meshes with its speakeasy-themed interior, complete with bookshelves galore. Plus, at the end of the night, your check will be served in a classic tome. If you find yourself on the east side come sundown, hit up No. 308, which with its “Writer’s Block Shots” has a similar literary vibe.