3 best gifts for readers: part I

Books.  Books.  Books.  Is there anything else?

When you give someone a book, not only are you wrapping up a passport good for entry into an enchanted storyline but you’re giving yourself the pleasure of passing an hour or so in the idyllic splendor of your local independent bookstore.  This week Two or Three Little Birds invites you to roam the stacks with us as we take you to some of our favorite shops.


Parnassus Bookstore, Nashville TN

from guest blogger Matt Pennington

Nashville was cold and windy on the October day I visited Parnassus Bookstore. The celebrated American author Ann Patchett (Bel Canto, The Patron Saint of Liars) could not abide the thought of living in a city where there was no functioning bookstore and so she and a fellow book lover opened their city center store in a strip mall across from a bustling shopping center. You need to know where you’re going if you want to find Parnassus Books. It’s tucked away among the locksmiths, tanning salons and frozen yogurt. It’s a busy, congested part of town but once you pull open the glass doors, all the cold and the wind and the traffic melt away and you are enveloped in the fragrance of books. I imagine that in the beginning the store was merely a long unadorned space but now it’s lined with golden oak shelving procured from the local closure of Borders Bookstores. It’s filled with soft light, classical music and beautifully organized books, clearly arranged and displayed by people who love reading.

You blow in the front doors and to your left is a wonderfully curated display of local cultural events. And then an entire wall of Patchett’s signed books. In the center of the store, tables are set with staff selections and recommendations, complete with small handwritten place cards indicating the particular merits of each individual treasure. By meandering you instantly have a sense of the organization of their offerings and there are plenty of treasures in this uncluttered emporium. As you move to the rear of the store you pass benches for resting with the book of your interest. There is an culinary alcove with mouthwatering cover photos and over a central display table descend a flock of lights surrounded by metal bird shapes. Toward the rear of the shop behind the art and photography books is a tiny columned entryway for little readers to enter their domain. This entire children’s section is lit with hanging star lanterns and it is here in this magical enclosed space that storytelling takes place.

IMG_0199               IMG_0202

IMG_0193               sparky

On my visit I procured Christmas presents of several pre-signed copies of Patchett’s books and book bags with the imprinted store logo. And for some friends who recently moved into a new home I also purchased a lovely, elongated volume decorated with book illustrations intended for the signature of their guests. Ann Patchett has a dog named “Sparky,” who is the store mascot. One of my friends was extremely disappointed on the day of our visit that Sparky was absent — I on the other hand was disappointed that Ann Patchett was absent — it would have been thrilling to meet her and listen to her recommendations . . . and tell my friends that she personally selected their Christmas presents! I haven’t a single complaint — the staff was knowledgeable, unobtrusive, cheerful — the space wonderfully appointed and the selection of books complete with a few surprising treasures for my own collection. In spite of the temperature and the traffic, Nashville has great appeal: delicious restaurants, an outstanding music scene, beautiful surrounding scenery . . . and one delightful bookstore!   If you visit Parnassus and Ann Patchett is there — please have her personally sign a book for me . . . Christmas is right around the corner!

A place isn’t a place until it has a bookstore.  ~ Gabrielle Zevin via Goodreads


 When not traveling or reading, Pennington blogs at journalofacountrypriest.com


Are you someone who likes to pop into bookstores during your travels?  Have you got an especially sacred independent bookstore tucked away in your hometown?  Two or Three Little Birds welcomes readers to submit their reviews via the contact form available on this website.  Happy reading!

For a full list of all the stores reviewed on this blog, visit our page Support Independent Booksellers

If you liked this post, you might enjoy guest blogger on NYC bookstores or 3 best gifts for readers: part II


[dot_recommends]    Email This Post

all the birds sing back



Feeling under the weather this week, well, more like under a truck, so I thought I would invite littlest love to be my guest blogger.  These pieces come from a portfolio she put together for her fourth grade teacher and shared this past weekend at Open House.  I must say in re-reading them now they have become this mother’s song for the week — light and love and hope that fill me with gratitude.  Those donuts?  Working.


from “I Believe” by littlest love, age 9

I believe the happiest day of your life is when you do something incredible for someone and you feel REAL joy.

The wisest people in the world are those that feel real joy every day and know the true meaning of life.

The biggest mistake is being greedy and wasting your life and the abilities you posess (sic).

Real love is sacrifice and a loving melting feeling in your heart.

Life’s greatest gift is knowledge, joy, faith, and of course LOVE.

Religion means how a person can adapt to the love of God and love back with all their heart.


photo 3-1


from “Disciple of Christ”

Have you ever seen the light of the cross in someone?  A person I would consider my disciple of Christ is my Nana.  She is petite, plump, has rosy cheeks and short gray hair.

There are many reasons why I consider Nana my disciple of Christ.  She’s generous and kind because she always brings us a gift every time she comes to visit.  She brightens my heart with her positive, silly, and forgiving attitude.  She never fails to make me smile with her funny, loving, and patient ways.

A special time I remember spending with my Nana was when she took me and my sister to see the Christmas lights in Los Gatos.  It was so fun!  There were volcano lights that spewed lava and arches of lights that shone and looked like a thousand fireworks.  We drank hot chocolate and had a great time.  One special quality I hope to make part of myself is to be as caring as my Nana is.


from “Seasons”

Autumn is a world of colorful changing leaves and trees preparing for the barren winter.  Squirrels scamper across the ground, searching for acorns.  The air smells of wet leaves and fallen pinecones.

Winter reminds me of a lonely snow covered forest dotted here and there with snow-less green patches that are conifers that have shaken the snow off of their elegant green boughs.  A glitter of beauty on the branches of trees are icicles that glitter and sparkle like diamonds when the bright winter sun catches them.

Spring makes me think of life.  Buds appear on trees and burst into bloom.  A quiet drizzling rain soaks the ground and trees.  The robin sings of new life and prosperity and all the birds sing back, making a beautiful choir.


[dot_recommends]    Email This Post

guest blogger: the reading bug

ReadingBug1  ReadingBug2  ReadingBug3


independent bookstore review from guest blogger Lisa Janny

Located in the center of quaint downtown San Carlos, The Reading Bug is heaven for kids and parents alike.  The owner, a parent herself to two young girls, packs the magical space with books and MORE!  What I appreciate about The Reading Bug is that it’s an all age bookstore offering not just children’s books but all the latest bestsellers on your reading list.  You can find adorable illustrated picture books and the latest Stink or Captain Underpants alongside beautifully shelved classics like The Trumpet of the Swan or James Fennimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans and then pop over to the adult shelves for Wolf Hall.


With plenty of art and craft kits, toys, puzzles and games, beautiful journals and letterpress cards, this is our family go to store for all gift giving, especially birthday gifts.  It’s a wonderful place to spend time with your kids or to get a little “happy” time of your own. The owner knows what the community wants and really goes above and beyond making this not only an independent bookstore but a place you want to frequent and support.  In addition to retail they offer workshops/classes/summer camps for kids, book clubs, story time, birthday parties . . . and for adults: fitness classes, art classes, salsa lessons (with babysitting!!)  Check the website for hours, upcoming events and special author appearances for both kids and adults.


The Reading Bug is located on Laurel Street which is jam packed with boutiques, wine bars and restaurants galore.  If you happen to make it on a Thursday night during the summer months Laurel Street also has an amazing farmers market that also features live music.

ReadingBugsLisa Janny is a Queen Mom, peacemaker & mentor to two boys (8 & 5). She enjoys yoga, salsa dancing, eating vegan and the outdoors.  To learn more about how you, too, can experience “More Peace, Ease and Happiness as a Mom,” visit http://queen-mom.com/




Are you someone who likes to pop into bookstores during your travels?  Have you got an especially sacred independent bookstore tucked away in your hometown?  Two or Three Little Birds welcomes readers to submit their reviews via the contact form available on this website.  Happy reading!

[dot_recommends]    Email This Post