Ann Patchett has a traveling bookstore. She also has written some wonderful books (at the moment Bel Canto and State of Wonder are my personal favorites). She has a brick-and mortar bookstore as well but I must admit the traveling one is what really caught my attention. It is currently located in Nashville which is where the brick-and-mortar store is also located but I have no doubt that once they start driving Parnassus on Wheels around Nashville they will get the bug to take it farther afield. Soon they will be driving it to events in Chattanooga and then maybe Atlanta and before you know it, Parnassus on Wheels will be pulling up at the Miami Book Fair.
At least this is my experience. I can remember the first time driving St. Rita’s Amazing Traveling Bookstore to an event in the Yaak. It was a wonderful mixture of excitement and fear as I rounded curves going up the mountains. And it hit me then that, yes, this is what a traveling bookstore is really about. Its not only selling books out of a van but having those books experience dirt roads and interstates and a gas station in Seeley Lake. Its bringing those books through thunderstorms and under the magical night sky of the American west. It is having ranchers from Alberta step into the van and a biker from Kalispell and then there was Zoe celebrating her eighth birthday in the traveling bookstore.
Parnassus on Wheels is just starting off with its first season on the road. This summer celebrates the second season of St. Rita’s Amazing Traveling Bookstore. There are events on our calendar across Montana as well as in Portland, OR and Brooklyn, NY. There is talk of taking it to LA and already a date for next spring in North Carolina. Perhaps by next summer, the two traveling bookstores will meet up in some yet to be discovered place to swap tales and compare adventures.