Books for Independent Readers

Past Events


We’ve hosted some great authors and and been part of some great events since we opened our doors in 2011. Here’s a sampling.

We joined Friends of the Knox County Public Library on August 7 to host journalist and author Vince Vawter, who discussed his latest book, Copyboy. The event was held at the East Tennessee History Center.

On Sunday, July 8, Friends of the Knox County Public Library joined us to host an evening with renowned presidential historian and Tennessee native Jon Meacham at First Presbyterian Church in downtown Knoxville. Meacham discussed his new book, The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels.


View the Friends of the Knox County Public Library’s photo album here.

Scout Finch met Scout Finch when Mary Badham visited Union Ave Books.

To Kill a Mockingbird is bookstore dog Scout’s favorite book, so she was excited when Scout Finch (aka Mary Badham, who played the role of Scout in the Academy Award-winning film based on Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel) visited the store on May 1.

On March 8, we joined Friends of the Knox County Public Library, the Knox County Public Library, the East Tennessee Historical Society, and WUOT for an evening with Elaine Weiss, author of The Woman’s Hour: The Last Great Fight to Win the Vote, at the East Tennessee History Center.

Listen to Elaine Weiss On Tennessee’s Role In Women’s Suffrage on WUOT.

A podcast of the event is available here.

Random House representatives Toni Hetzel and Jess Pearson presented their recommendations for book groups at Reading Group Night on November 4.

On October 12, Wiley Cash talked about and signed copies of his latest book, The Last Ballad.

Read Ed Tarkington’s review of The Last Ballad in Chapter 16.

A. J. Asher visited Union Ave Books on October 7 to talk about and sign copies of My Friend the Sunsphere, a photo storybook about the 1982 World’s Fair’s iconic landmark.

On October 5, we joined Friends of the Knox County Public Library, the Knox County Public Library, and the East Tennessee Historical Society for an evening with Denise Kiernan at the East Tennessee History Center. Kiernan spoke about her latest book, The Last Castle: The Epic Story of Love, Loss, and American Royalty in the Nation’s Largest Home.

Read about The Last Castle and Biltmore in this New York Post article.

Listen to a podcast of the October 5 event here.

We joined Friends of the Knox County Public Library, the Knox County Public Library’s Teen Central, and the Center for Children’s & Young Adult Literature at the University of Tennessee on September 19 to celebrate the release of Hunting Prince Dracula by YA author Kerri Maniscalco.

We were the official bookstore of the Knox County Public Library’s Children’s Festival on May 20. Our on-site store featured books by the festival’s guest authors and illustrators.


Union Ave Books joined Friends of the Knox County Public Library, the Knox County Public Library, and the East Tennessee Historical Society to bring author Nathaniel Philbrick to Knoxville on May 16. Philbrick discussed his most recent book, Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution.

It was standing room only at Michael Knight’s reading and book signing for Eveningland March 7! 

Read Emily Choate’s review of Eveningland for Chapter 16 here.

Lydia Peelle, author of The Midnight Cool, and her husbandKetch Secor of The Old Crow Medicine Show put on a true revue for us on February 10. Fun fact: The cover of her novel includes an old photo of Knoxville!

Read Chapter 16’s review of The Midnight Cool here.

Debut novelist Hannah Rials visited us on December 10 to talk about and sign copies of Ascension, a young adult fantasy novel that tells the story of Cheyenne, a young woman who’s half human and half vampire.

Jefferson Basswithout-mercyWe had a great time on October 7 with Jon Jefferson and Dr. Bill Bass, the team behind the Body Farm mysteries. Rumor has it that their latest book, Without Mercy, will also be their last.

On Friday, September 30, we hosted a reception and book launch for Maria Cornelius, author of The Final Season: The Perseverance of Pat Summitt.

A big thank you to Joyce York for the photos!


On September 11, 2016, we partnered with Friends of the Knox County Public Library, the Library Society of UT, the East Tennessee Historical Society, and the Knox County Public Library to celebrate the publication of the late Wilma Dykeman’s memoir, Family of Earth: A Southern Mountain Childhood. Her sons, Jim and Dykeman Stokely, spoke about the book and the story behind it.


We partnered with Friends of the Knox County Public Library, the Knox County Public Library, and the East Tennessee Historical Society to bring Washington Post reporter and author Dan Zak to Knoxville on Thursday, August 4, 2016. Zak spoke about his new book, Almighty: Courage, Resistance, and Existential Peril in the Nuclear Age.


In July 2016, Union Ave Books was the host location for Downtown Knoxville‘s Find Waldo scavenger hunt. Waldo hid in over two dozen locations at participating locations all month. Participants visited each location to find him and get their passports stamped. There were prizes, treats, and fun along the way from July 1–30.


Wendell Potter

Wendell Potter, who co-authored Nation on the Take: How Big Money Corrupts Our Democracy with Nick Penniman, spoke to a packed bookstore on Friday, June 10, 2016.



Bookstore Day logoWe had a great time on April 30, 2016, during the second annual Independent Bookstore Day. Food! Prizes! Oh, and a lot of books, too!



Readying-books-768x576It was fun to partner with Friends of the Knox County Public Library, the East Tennessee Historical Society, the Knox County Public Library, and Keurig Green Mountain to bring best-selling author Erik Larson to Knoxville on March 22, 2016.


We enjoyed being part of the holiday markets at First Tennessee Plaza on Gay Street and Braden’s Lifestyles in Turkey Creek.


TaylorFlossieTaylor Kitchings joined us on October 8 to read from Yard War, his new book for young readers.

Yard War is set in 1964 in Jackson, Mississippi, deep in the Civil Rights movement. The one black person 12-year-old Trip Westbrook knows well is Willie Jane, the family maid, who has been a second mother to him. When Trip invites her son, Dee, to play football in the yard, Trip discovers the ugly side of his smiling neighbors. Even his loving grandparents don’t approve. But getting to know Dee and playing football, being part of a team, changes Trip. He begins to see all the unspoken rules he lives by but doesn’t agree with, such as “respect your elders.” This novel is full of memorable characters and brings the Civil Rights era in the South alive for young readers.

September 27–October 3 was Banned Books Week. We celebrated the freedom to read by sharing some of our favorite banned books. Flossie chose F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Bunnie‘s selection was The Giver by Lois Lowry. Richard stood his ground for James Baldwin’s Go Tell It on the Mountain. Chelsea‘s recommendation was The Witches by Roald Dahl. Charlie chose Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. And Shiela‘s pick was The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger.






WildAtUABCheryl Strayed, shown at right with Bunnie, visited us and signed copies of her best-selling memoir Wild while she was in Knoxville to speak at the 2015 Legacy Luncheon for the Parks during Wild Week, a
celebration held September 7–11 to benefit the Legacy Parks Foundation. Union Ave Books was proud to be one of the sponsors of Wild Week.



NardellaJena Lee Nardella visited on August 26, 2015, to read from and sign copies of One Thousand Wells: How an Audacious Goal Taught Me to Love the World Instead of Save It.

Ten years ago, Jena Lee Nardella was a fresh-out-of-college, twenty-something with the lofty goal of truly changing the world. Armed with a diploma, a thousand dollars, and a dream to build one thousand wells in Africa, she joined forces with Grammy Award–winning band Jars of Clay to found Blood:Water and begin her mission.

Jena’s dream for her nonprofit turned that initial $1 into $20, and then $100, and today into more than $25 million. Working throughout eleven countries in Africa, Blood:Water has provided healthcare for over 62,000 people in HIV-affected areas and has partnered with communities to provide clean water for more than one million people in Africa. But along the way she faced many harsh realities that have tested her faith, encountered corruption and brokenness that nearly destroyed everything she’d fought for, and taught her that wishful thinking will not get you very far. Jena discovered that true change comes only when you stop trying to save the world and allow yourself to love it, even when it breaks your heart.

[From left: Dan Haseltine, Co-Founder and Artist Relations, Blood:Water; Jeannette Brown; Jena Lee Nardella, author and Co-Founder, Blood:Water; Flossie McNabb]

On July 14, 2015, we gathered to toast Harper Lee in honor of the release of Go Set a Watchman. Mary Pom Claiborne, marketing and public relations director of the Knox County Public Library, read a chapter from the book and led the toast as we raised our glasses of champagne and sweet tea.



[Event photos by Alan Sims of; Harper of Alabama, shown at right, by local artist Bran Rogers]

EttaMaeAnnBRossAnn B. Ross, author of the best-selling Miss Julia series, is a Union Ave Books favorite. She visited us most recently on July 8, 2015 to celebrate the release of her latest book, Etta Mae’s Worst Bad-Luck Day, in paperback.



Rick Yancey (shown here with Flossie and Chelsea), New York Times bestselling author of The 5th Wave series and the Monstrumologist series for young adults, visited with us on June 15, 2015, to read from and sign copies of The Fifth Wave and The Infinite Sea.


JeffersonBassFlossieThe New York Times bestselling author team of Jon Jefferson and Dr. Bill Bass (aka Jefferson Bass, shown at left with Flossie) joined us on June 11, 2015, to discuss and sign their newest Body Farm novel, The Breaking Point.



The inaugural Independent Bookstore Day on May 2, 2015, was a great success! We’re already looking forward to next year’s Independent Bookstore Day on April 30, 2016!

























Union Ave Books

Union Ave Books
The Daylight Building
517 Union Ave, Knoxville, TN 37902
(865) 951-2180 | mail [at]

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