WNBA Nashville Presents: A History of Parnassus Books

Karen Hayes and Ann Patchett in Parnassus Books

From dream to an indie powerhouse 

Join us on Thursday, December 3, 2020 as Ann Patchett and Karen Hayes share how they started and maintained a successful independent bookstore in Nashville, TN.

View the program live on Zoom, with log on at 5:45 pm and programming starting at 6:00 pm. Email wnbanashville@gmail.com for the Zoom link.

November meeting

Stephanie Storey, author of the novel, Raphael, Painter in Rome, discusses her historical thriller about the rivalry between Renaissance masters Raphael and Michelangelo at the  WNBA-Nashville November meeting.

The book is a sequel to her well-received debut, Oil and Marble: A Novel of Leonardo and Michelangelo, which The New York Times described as “tremendously entertaining.” Stephanie will share pictures from her travels as well as insights into her writing process. Join us on Zoom for a little socializing at 5:30 p.m. and for a live session with her at 6:00 p.m., November 5, 2020. Watch this space and our social media for links to the program.

April Program – New Location!!!!

What Would Mrs. Astor Do?  – Cecelia Tichi

6:00 – 7:00 p.m., at Dalt’s American Grill On White Bridge on March 4, 2019

Courtesy of Jamie Adams

Cecelia Tichi is the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English and Professor of American Studies at Vanderbilt University. She received her M.A. from Johns Hopkins University and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis in 1968. Before coming to Vanderbilt in 1987, she taught at Boston University. At Vanderbilt, she teaches classes in nineteenth and twentieth century American literature, focusing on aspects of culture from consumerism and social critique to country music. She has received fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Radcliffe Institute, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Kluge Center of the Library of Congress, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation under the auspices of the Henry E. Huntington Library. She is the 2009 recipient of the Jay B. Hubbell prize for distinguished work in American literary studies. awarded by the American Literature Division of the Modern Language Association.

Her latest book project, What Would Mrs. Astor Do? The Essential Guide to the Manners and Mores of the Gilded Age (New York University Press, 2018), discusses the many rules for making it to the top tier of high society during the late 19th century .

From New York University Press:

A richly illustrated romp with America’s Gilded Age leisure class—and those angling to join it  Mark Twain called it the Gilded Age. Between 1870 and 1900, the United States’ population doubled, accompanied by an unparalleled industrial expansion, and an explosion of wealth unlike any the world had ever seen. America was the foremost nation of the world, and New York City was its beating heart. There, the richest and most influential—Thomas Edison, J. P. Morgan, Edith Wharton, the Vanderbilts, Andrew Carnegie, and more—became icons, whose comings and goings were breathlessly reported in the papers of Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst. It was a time of abundance, but also bitter rivalries, in work and play. The Old Money titans found themselves besieged by a vanguard of New Money interlopers eager to gain entrée into their world of formal balls, debutante parties, opera boxes, sailing regattas, and summer gatherings at Newport. Into this morass of money and desire stepped Caroline Astor. 

 Mrs. Astor, an Old Money heiress of the first order, became convinced that she was uniquely qualified to uphold the manners and mores of Gilded Age America. Wherever she went, Mrs. Astor made her judgments, dictating proper behavior and demeanor, men’s and women’s codes of dress, acceptable patterns of speech and movements of the body, and what and when to eat and drink. The ladies and gentlemen of high society took note. “What would Mrs. Astor do?” became the question every social climber sought to answer. And an invitation to her annual ball was a golden ticket into the ranks of New York’s upper crust. This work serves as a guide to manners as well as an insight to Mrs. Astor’s personal diary and address book, showing everything from the perfect table setting to the array of outfits the elite wore at the time. Channeling the queen of the Gilded Age herself, Cecelia Tichi paints a portrait of New York’s social elite, from the schools to which they sent their children, to their lavish mansions and even their reactions to the political and personal scandals of the day.  

 Ceceilia Tichi invites us on a beautifully illustrated tour of the Gilded Age, transporting readers to New York at its most fashionable. A colorful tapestry of fun facts and true tales, What Would Mrs. Astor Do? presents a vivid portrait of this remarkable time of social metamorphosis, starring Caroline Astor, the ultimate gatekeeper.

Tichi is the author of nine scholarly books, most recently What Would Mrs. Astor Do: A Complete Guide to the Manner and Mores of the Gilded Age and Jack London: A Writer’s Fight for a Better America, as well as the editor of several others, including Reading Country Music: Steel Guitars, Opry Stars, and Honky-Tonk Bars (1998). Her books include Shifting Gears: Technology, Literature, Culture in Modernist America (1987) and Electronic Hearth: Creating an American Television Culture (1991),Exposes and Excess Muckraking in America 1900/2000. Her most recent book, Civic Passions: 7 Who Launched Progressive America (And What They Teach Us), was published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2009. Her articles on a variety of topics and authors have appeared in journals such as American Literature, American Literary History, and The Boston Review. She is also the author of five novels: Jealous Heart (1997), Cryin’ Time (1998), Fall to Pieces (2000), Now You See Her (2005), and All in One Piece (2006).

Jonathan’s has closed so this month we’ll meet at Dalt’s American Grill on White Bridge Road at 5:30 for socializing and dinner, and the program will start at 6:00 on Thursday, April 4th.

March Program

History Through Poetry  – Ciona Rouse

6:00 – 7:00 p.m., at Jonathan’s Grille in Green Hills on March 7, 2019

Ciona Rouse is a poet and author of Vantablack ( Third Man Books, 2017). Rouse is poetry editor of the online literary journal Wordpeace and cohost of the upcoming Re/Verb podcast from Third Man Books. Her work can be found in Native Magazine, Gabby Journal,Matter: a journal of political poetry and commentary and Talking River. In addition to curating many poetry experiences and workshops in Nashville, she also collaborates with various artists to create multi-disciplinary performances, including the show The Longest Night with saxophonist Jeff Coffin and composer Jason Shelton at Oz Arts, A Delta Blue Christmas with blues musician and poet Adia Victoria and poet Caroline Randall Williams and Nick Cave: Feat, a performance at the Schermmerhorn in 2018 with the visual artist Nick Cave for the Frist Art Museum, which was recognized as the year’s best poetry performance in the Nashville Scene.

Just as a reminder, we’ll meet at Jonathan’s in Green Hills at 5:30 for socializing and dinner, and the program will start at 6:00 on Thursday, March 7th.

Annual Garden Party in May

Our annual Garden Party/Meeting is Thursday, May 3, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. This is a time for members and their guests to connect with one another and celebrate another great year with WNBA. The party is hosted by Barbie Chadwick and the rest of the Nashville board, who provide drinks and appetizers. Watch for an email with more details coming soon.

Author Bren McClain at April 5 Meeting

On April 5, author and WNBA Nashville member Bren McClain will talk about her book, One Good Mama Bone, a WNBA Great Group Reads pick for National Reading Group Month 2017. You can hear all about it at our next meeting, Thursday, April 5, 6 p.m. (5 for greeting and eating) at Jonathan’s Grille in Green Hills. Meetings are free and open to the public. 

In the meantime, here’s a little bite to whet your appetite!  Set in the early 1950s in rural South Carolina, One Good Mama Bone is the story of an unlikely friendship between two mothers, a human named Sarah Creamer and a bovine named Mama Red, who teaches Sarah what it means to be a mother. All of this is set against the backdrop of the 4-H tradition of feeding out a steer for the Grand Champion title.  


Susannah Felts at March 1 Meeting

Join us Thursday, March 1, as we welcome Susannah Felts, Co-founder of The Porch Writers’ Collective, as our guest speaker. Susannah is a fiction writer, freelance writer, teacher, editor, and native Nashvillian. We meet at Jonathan’s in Green Hills, with our program, which is free and open to the public, beginning at 6 p.m. Arrive early to mingle with attendees, starting at 5:00, maybe order a bite to eat. Bring a friend!

In 2009, after many years away from her hometown, she returned to put down roots with her family in East Nashville. Previously, Susannah taught creative writing at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Watkins College of Art, Design & Film, and in several other youth and community settings. Her first novel, This Will Go Down on Your Permanent Record, was published in 2008 by Featherproof Books. Susannah was the recipient of the Tennessee Arts Commission’s Individual Artist Fellowship in Fiction for 2013. She has been awarded the Tennessee Williams Scholarship to the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, as well as residencies at the Ragdale Foundation, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences. Her work has appeared in such publications as The Oxford American, Literary Hub, Longreads, StorySouth, The Sun, Quarterly West, Hobart, Five ChaptersWigleaf, and Quick Fiction, among others. She earned her bachelor of arts degree with highest honors in creative writing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and holds a master in fine arts in writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Susannah is also a contributing writer for Chapter 16, Humanities Tennessee’s site devoted to literary culture. Check out The Porch here: http://www.porchtn.org.

February Meeting – Jolina Petersheim

Please join us on Thursday, February 1, when Jolina Petersheim will share her story with us. We meet at Jonathan’s in Green Hills, with our program, which is free and open to the public, beginning at 6 p.m. Arrive early to mingle with attendees, starting at 5:00, maybe order a bite to eat. Bring a friend!

Jolina Petersheim’s most recent book is The Divide. She is the critically acclaimed author of The AllianceThe Midwife, and The Outcast, which Library Journal called “outstanding . . . fresh and inspirational” in a starred review and named one of the best books of 2013. That book also became an Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, Christian Booksellers Association, and Amazon bestseller and was featured in Huffington Post’s Fall Picks, USA TodayPublishers Weekly, and the Tennessean. CBA Retailers + Resources called her second book, The Midwife, “an excellent read [that] will be hard to put down,” and Booklist selected The Alliance as one of its Top 10 Inspirational Fiction Titles for 2016. Jolina’s nonfiction writing has been featured in Reader’s DigestWriter’s Digest, and Today’s Christian Woman.

She and her husband share the same unique Amish and Mennonite heritage that originated in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, but they now live in the mountains of Tennessee with their three young daughters.

WNBA-Nashville Board Member Amy Lyles Wilson first met Jolina while she was working on her first novel. Even then, Amy Lyles knew Jolina would “make it” as a writer. Her dedication to the craft is inspiring. Plus, she’s a delightful human being! Please join us as we hear Jolina’s story.

No January Meeting

There will be no monthly meeting in January. The first meeting in 2018 will be on Thursday, February 1 at 6 pm at Jonathan’s Grille in Green Hills. We hope to see you there!

(Note: Please be advised that WNBA programs adhere to the inclement weather policy of the Davidson County Public School System)

November 2 Meeting – Dr. Susan Ford Wiltshire

Please join us on Thursday, November 2, when Dr. Susan Ford Wiltshire, Vanderbilt Professor of Classical Studies Emerita, will present “Stories, Stages, Situations.” In forty years as a Classics professor, Wiltshire published books on Vergil’s Aeneid, the Bill of Rights, an AIDS memoir, a study of mentoring, short stories, and a collection of poetry. This apparent diversity coheres because Susan sees all writing as storytelling. The stories come from what we have read, seen, and lived in various stages and situations.

We meet at Jonathan’s in Green Hills, with our program, which is free and open to the public, beginning at 6 p.m. Arrive early to mingle with attendees, starting at 5:00, maybe order a bite to eat. Bring a friend!

“Guiding spirits slip in and out of Susan Ford Wiltshire’s luminous world. Because Wiltshire has a gentle, reverent heart, she finds them in likely and unlikely places—texts ancient and contemporary, art in every form or guise, new friends and old. Because she has a tough, resilient mind, she invites them to lead her into new and richer modes of being.” –Celia Morris, author of Fanny Wright: Rebel in America.