Saturday 8th October is 2016’s Bookshop Day in the British Isles. I plan on visiting my local Waterstones and hope to pick up the specially designed Books Are My Bag Winnie-the-Pooh tote, and to fill it with some new books of course.
In previous years I have travelled to Bath, the closest city to where I live. I wrote this piece for the blog on their official online tourist information site, Visit Bath back in 2015.
Bath is for Bibliophiles!
Book lovers love Bath, and with good reason. Want to buy books? Find them in the impressive range of bookshops. Want to meet the authors? Order a ticket for one of the many events which happen throughout the year.
The Bath Literature Festival runs for ten days in early spring and offers audiences a chance to listen to and interact with many of the big names in books, as well as lesser known and local talent.
These annual extravaganzas generate a buzz which is fun to be a part of, but literary events are happening in Bath all year round. Thanks to the efforts of two of the city’s fabulous independent bookshops there are a variety of both small gatherings and larger fixtures to appeal to all interests.
Topping and Company Booksellers (pictured above) offer the quintessential bookshop experience, with shelves and tables overflowing with tempting choices, and friendly, knowledgeable staff always available to help guide customers to their next great read.
Regular events offer access to a range of authors, with the cost of tickets refundable against the cost of the book being discussed. Some of these are intimate affairs are held within the shop, while others are staged in larger venues nearby.
Mr Bs Emporium of Reading Delights (pictured below) offers not just a range of carefully chosen books in their three floored warren of a shop, but also the option to buy someone you love the gift of a Reading Spa or a Year of Books. These include a consultation with a bibliotherapist to ensure that each recommendation will delight the recipient.
Where better to find a bath full of books than in a Bath bookshop? Meander through their various rooms and look out for the quirky displays: a customer toilet that has been decorated by the Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell; a stairway papered with Tintin comics; a ceiling decorated with book themed tote bags. The shop is a relaxing haven for booklovers. Take a comfy chair by the fire, pour yourself a complimentary cup of coffee, and check out that book you know you want to buy.
Mr B’s events are often intimate gatherings, enabling the audience to enter into discussions and interact with the author; some of them are even free to attend. They are held in various locations, including the shop’s own bibliotherapy room, with larger gatherings scheduled at alternative venues.
All of these events may be booked online. If you are planning a trip to the city then check out what is going on while you are here. You may just be tempted to make this the primary reason for your visit.
Jackie Law is a wife, mother, hen keeper and writer who lives in a small village east of Bath. She is an avid reader and publishes book reviews and other related posts on her blog. She is easily distracted, especially by Twitter, where you can follow her: @followthehens.
When I wrote this piece I had yet to discover the delights of Waterstones which I now know is another beautifully laid out bookshop that hosts excellent author events. It has friendly, welcoming staff and a coffee shop with free wifi.
The central shopping area in Bath is compact for a city, giving visitors the chance to easily explore all three of these booklover’s oases.
Which bookshops will you be visiting this weekend?