A Year in Review: Parnassus Bestsellers of 2022

In 2022, a bevy of new booksellers joined the Parnassus family. Two new shop dogs joined the canine ranks (Hi Roxy! Hi Winnie!). Thousands of book lovers came to browse our shelves, and new friends from all over the country connected with us on social media. Our amazing events team organized a whopping 268 events. Founding co-owner Karen Hayes set off on her new retirement adventure, and Cat returned, this time as store manager. Dolly Parton and Bono came to visit. We started a romance book club. Lindsay’s debut novel became available for pre-order (hint hint, you can do that right here). Ann started her “new to you” weekly book recommendation series, and we celebrated 100 episodes of The Laydown Diaries. What a 2022 it has been! And the truth is, none of this could have happened without all of you. Thank you for your unwavering support from near and far during this whirlwind of a year. And now without further ado, we present our top 30 bestsellers of 2022!

Astrid Parker Doesn't Fail By Ashley Herring Blake Cover Image30. Astrid Parker Doesn’t Fail

By Ashley Herring Blake

An interior designer who is never without the perfect plan learns to renovate her love life without one in this romantic comedy by Ashley Herring Blake, author of Delilah Green Doesn’t Care and former Parnassus bookseller! We love you, Ashley!

Happy-Go-Lucky By David Sedaris Cover Image29. Happy-Go-Lucky

By David Sedaris

The new collection of essays by one of the world’s funniest authors includes reflections on his final visit to his father, how people respond to death, the fortune of being born American, and the nature of family. More mature, Sedaris again delivers pithy insights on the human condition with a great dose of humor. — Patsy

28. The Shop Dogs of Parnassus by Ann Patchett

Who hasn’t wondered what it’s really like to be a Parnassus Shop Dog? This special 10th anniversary book is written by Ann Patchett, with an introduction by Kate DiCamillo, an afterword by Mary Laura Philpott, and illustrations by Theo Hall. It remembers the early dogs, the iconic dogs, and the dog who ran away. It takes you through the highs (biscuits!) the lows (there were a few mistakes, quickly cleaned up), and the unbrilded joy the dogs bring to customers and staff every day. Woof!

The Dutch House: A Novel By Ann Patchett Cover Image27. The Dutch House: A Novel

By Ann Patchett

As you might have guessed, everyone here at Parnassus loved The Dutch House. Cat says, “The magic of Ann’s books is that she always gets to the heart of some essential human connection in a way that is wholly unique yet relatable. The Dutch House is no different and you won’t be able to put it down. I couldn’t”; Sissy enthuses, “The brother and sister in this book began to feel like family — I just did not want it to end”; Or, trust head shop dog Opie, who calls it “a tasty treat from Sparky’s mom.” — Everyone

His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope By Jon Meacham, John Lewis (Afterword by) Cover Image26. His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope

By Jon MeachamJohn Lewis

John Lewis’ quest for justice — risking limb and life to bear witness for the powerless in the face of the powerful — took him from the lunch counters of Nashville to the halls of Congress. Jon Meacham does a superlative job of chronicling this singular life. In the afterword, Lewis writes that the movement “brought about a nonviolent revolution—a revolution in values, a revolution in ideas. The soul force of this movement enabled America to find its moral compass.” — Andy

Diper Överlöde (Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book 17) By Jeff Kinney Cover Image25. Diper Överlöde (Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book 17)

By Jeff Kinney

In book #17 of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Greg Heffley is finding out that the road to fame and glory comes with some hard knocks. Check out Ann’s interview with her pal Jeff Kinney from earlier this year here on Musing!

My Little Golden Book About Dolly Parton By Deborah Hopkinson, Monique Dong (Illustrator) Cover Image24. My Little Golden Book About Dolly Parton

By Deborah HopkinsonMonique Dong (Illustrator)

It’s a Little Golden Book about Queen Dolly. What else could you want?

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: A Novel By Taylor Jenkins Reid Cover Image23. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: A Novel

By Taylor Jenkins Reid

I love a good bit of celebrity gossip as much as the next person, but I can’t count the number of times I’ve misjudged or been wrong about the private lives of celebrities — which is why I loved this book so much. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a fun read that will challenge your expectations at every turn. — Lindsay

Graceland, at Last: Notes on Hope and Heartache from the American South By Margaret Renkl Cover Image22. Graceland, at Last: Notes on Hope and Heartache from the American South

By Margaret Renkl

Margaret Renkl is my favorite essayist. Every week I look for her column in the opinion pages of the New York Times. In a time when the country has such deep divisions, I can rely on her writing to be all heart, no snark. I’m so proud to have this fellow Nashvillian’s newest collection on my shelf. — Karen

A Book of Days By Patti Smith Cover Image21. A Book of Days

By Patti Smith

Patti Smith is a treasure and so is this book. A stunning, visual book of days. The images were all taken with her Land Camera 250 and are as eclectic and intimate as one would expect from such a brilliant and multi-talented artist. — Elyse

I Must Betray You By Ruta Sepetys Cover Image20. I Must Betray You

By Ruta Sepetys

A gut-wrenching, startling historical thriller about communist Romania and the citizen spy network that devastated a nation. Ruta is a Nashville treasure!

Bomb Shelter: Love, Time, and Other Explosives By Mary Laura Philpott Cover Image19. Bomb Shelter: Love, Time, and Other Explosives

By Mary Laura Philpott

Mary Laura does what few can – muse about mortality and make you laugh. Reading her essays is like sitting down on the porch with her and having a glass of wine. Her worries are OUR worries, only we rarely discuss them aloud. — Sissy

If I Survive You By Jonathan Escoffery Cover Image18. If I Survive You

By Jonathan Escoffery

If I Survive You reads like real life and reads like fiction of the highest order. This is a compelling hurricane of a book that sweeps the past, present and future together into one inextricable knot. This is where Jonathan Escoffrey’s career begins. There are no limits to where he will go. — Ann

Busy Betty By Reese Witherspoon, Xindi Yan (Illustrator) Cover Image17. Busy Betty

By Reese WitherspoonXindi Yan (Illustrator)

From Academy Award–winning actress, founder, and bestselling author, Reese Witherspoon, comes Busy Betty, a story about a creative, curious, and exuberant young girl who has big plans and an even bigger heart. Check out this video of Reese’s surprise visit to Parnassus for a Busy Betty story time!

Less Is Lost (The Arthur Less Books #2) By Andrew Sean Greer Cover Image16. Less Is Lost (The Arthur Less Books #2)

By Andrew Sean Greer

I loved the Pulitzer prize-winning Less. Did there need to be a sequel? Did we need more of Arthur Less? The answer is a resounding YES! This book manages to be cheerful even when nothing cheerful is happening. That’s because Less Is Lost is thoughtful, buoyant, and every bit as captivating as the original. — Ann

Woman of Light: A Novel By Kali Fajardo-Anstine Cover Image15. Woman of Light: A Novel

By Kali Fajardo-Anstine

A book so nice, I had to staff rec it twice! Woman of Light was our June First Editions pick and I’m so glad we got to send our members this gorgeous novel from Kali Fajarado-Anstine. I loved her story collection, Sabrina and Corina, and it’s such a pleasure to see her expand her talents to historical fiction! — Lindsay

Mercury Pictures Presents: A Novel By Anthony Marra Cover Image14. Mercury Pictures Presents: A Novel

By Anthony Marra

The story begins in the early 1940s in a small Hollywood movie studio. Laugh-out-loud wittiness changes to stories of trying circumstances that the employees had to endure in Europe prior to coming to the US. This novel is rich in its balance of humor and heart-wrenching survival. — Cheryl

Thank You, Mr. Nixon: Stories By Gish Jen, Gish Jen Cover Image13. Thank You, Mr. Nixon: Stories

By Gish Jen

Thank You, Mr. Nixon is a collection of stories that reads like an extremely engrossing novel, a novel about U.S.-China relations no less, in which the pages fly, I laughed out loud, and felt that I was suddenly understanding things I’ve never understood before. I was moved and amazed. — Ann

Mouth to Mouth: A Novel By Antoine Wilson Cover Image12. Mouth to Mouth: A Novel

By Antoine Wilson

Put together a psychological mystery, an unreliable narrator, and Great Gatsby-esque vibes, and you get this former First Editions Club pick. I couldn’t put it down! — Sarah

Groundskeeping: A novel By Lee Cole Cover Image11. Groundskeeping: A Novel

By Lee Cole

Told with an empathic heart and a keen observational eye, Groundskeeping has certainly earned a spot in the canon of campus novels. It’s also one of the best coming-of-age stories I’ve read in a long time. I’d stick it on the shelf somewhere between John Williams’s Stoner and Lily King’s Writers and Lovers. — Lindsay

Now Is Not the Time to Panic: A Novel By Kevin Wilson Cover Image10. Now Is Not the Time to Panic: A Novel

By Kevin Wilson

Two bored teenagers want to be artists, whatever that means, and create a poster with the enigmatic sentence “The edge is a shantytown filled with gold seekers. We are fugitives, and the law is skinny with hunger for us.” When they post it anonymously all over town, people are whipped into an absolutely frenzy they cannot control. This is Kevin Wilson at his very best. — Ann

This Time Tomorrow: A Novel By Emma Straub Cover Image9. This Time Tomorrow: A Novel

By Emma Straub

A time travel book from Emma Straub. You probably don’t need to know anything else if you are a fan, but if you haven’t read any of Emma’s books, start here. Alice is turning 40 while dealing with a dying father and an unsatisfying romantic relationship. After a long night she passes out and wakes up in her childhood bedroom on her 16th birthday. This is a fresh take in the time travel genre. You won’t want it to end. — Karen

The Candy House: A Novel By Jennifer Egan Cover Image8. The Candy House: A Novel

By Jennifer Egan

Truly, this is one of the great books of our time, and much too ambitious and far reaching to be neatly folded into a couple of sentences. Trust me on this one. This should be Egan’s second Pulitzer. — Ann

Horse: A Novel By Geraldine Brooks Cover Image7. Horse: A Novel

By Geraldine Brooks

I’m stealing this quote from a bookstore in Geraldine’s hometown of Sydney, but it is so exactly right: “A sweeping story of spirit, obsession and injustice.” Plus it’s beautifully written and meticulously researched. Loved it. — Ann

Demon Copperhead: A Novel By Barbara Kingsolver Cover Image6. Demon Copperhead: A Novel

By Barbara Kingsolver

In this tour de force novel, Kingsolver recasts David Copperfield as Demon Copperhead, an orphan who must make his way through the broken foster care system, as well as the meth, oxy, and fentanyl that are destroying Appalachia. Like Dickens, Kingsolver shines a flood light on the suffering of the poor, while proving that fiction can still change who we are as a society. — Ann

What We Wish Were True: Reflections on Nurturing Life and Facing Death By Tallu Schuyler Quinn Cover Image5. What We Wish Were True: Reflections on Nurturing Life and Facing Death

By Tallu Schuyler Quinn

Quinn’s life, her mission, her decency, and her love create a vibrant legacy for us to hold on to and learn from. This book, like its author, is incandescent. — Ann

The event held in partnership with Tallu’s family and Harpeth Hall earlier this year to launch the book and honor Tallu’s life and legacy is available to watch in full here.

And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle By Jon Meacham Cover Image4. And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle

By Jon Meacham

Many books have been written about Abraham Lincoln. Meacham’s latest will stand with the very best of them. It examines the moral question of slavery and Lincoln’s evolution on the subject from rural Kentucky to the White House. — Andy

If This Book Exists, You're in the Wrong Universe: A John, Dave, and Amy Novel (John Dies at the End #4) By Jason Pargin Cover Image3. If This Book Exists, You’re in the Wrong Universe: A John, Dave, and Amy Novel (John Dies at the End #4)

By Jason Pargin

New York Times bestselling author Jason Pargin’s hilarious and horrifying John Dies at the End series continues with If This Book Exists, You’re in the Wrong Universe. Pargin clearly has a legion of loyal fans all over the world, because this was one of the largest signed pre-order campaigns we’ve ever done!

These Precious Days: Essays By Ann Patchett Cover Image2. These Precious Days: Essays

By Ann Patchett

Life is complicated, unexpected, and out of our control. Through her essays, Ann shows us how truly meaningful life can be if we look beyond the mess and difficulty to the connections that enrich our days. — Heather (and the rest of the Parnassus staff, who all feel the same way)

Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story By Bono Cover Image1. Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story

By Bono

Bono sold out the Ryman AND made a quick pit stop at Parnassus on his book tour for this honest, intimate, and profound memoir. It’s safe to say that he made quite the impression on Ann and the rest of the staff. Our New Year’s resolution is to find a way to get Bono back here to tell us more stories.