In 2011, just about the time many bookstores around the country were closing, author Ann Patchett, a Nashville resident, announced she was opening an independent bookshop. Her risky decision has paid off—the thriving shop has expanded and even added a Parnassus on Wheels bookmobile. The shop has a knowledgeable staff (including a cast of shop dogs like Mary Todd Lincoln, a dachshund) and a warm environment that encourages browsing. Parnassus champions the local literary community and also invites out-of-town guest authors like Zadie Smith and George Saunders to read and speak. The bookstore’s association with the remarkable Ann Patchett occasionally draws famous visitors you won’t find on the published speaking schedule: Yo-Yo Ma once dropped by on the day of his appearance with the Nashville Symphony and treated shoppers to an impromptu cello concert amid the bookshelves.