Not too long now until the Bath Literature Festival starts on February 26th, and as we’ve been spending time having a look at the literary highlights that are coming up we’ve started to remember just how much we love relaxing with a good book. It’s not just the book itself that we enjoy. It’s the whole experience of escapism that goes with it; from choosing it, to holding it, to curling up with it.
Now while the big Bath bookshops like Waterstones are good, there’s something we love about going into the bookshop less-mainstream and losing ourselves for an hour or two. On that note we hoped that you might feel the same way as we do, and as such here are a couple of the lesser known bookshop gems that any book-lover coming to Bath should pay a visit to.
First off there’s Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights. Situated on John Street, a small side street near the bottom of Queen’s Square and only a minute from the main shopping street of Milsom Street, Mr B’s is a bookworm’s haven. Imagine a cross between a quaint cosy library and an elegant Regency sitting room and you won’t be too far off.
Mr B’s isn’t just loved by the locals who know about it because of its atmosphere and personal touches though, but also because it’s the only bookshop we know of that offers a “Reading Spa”. When you buy a Reading Spa voucher the team at Mr B’s give you a one-on-one book chat in their Bibliotherapy Room, along with tea, coffee and cake, and dedicate themselves to helping you to find new reads that you’ll love based on what you tell them you’ve enjoyed before. After your chat you have plenty of time to relax, read through and choose which titles to take away with you from the ones you’ve picked out.
Another great independent bookshop in Bath is Topping and Company Booksellers. They may have only three branches (to be found spread far apart across the country in Bath, Ely and St. Andrews), but they regularly hold events from the some of the very best names in the literary world. On Monday January 25th for example they’re hosting a talk from top-selling author Matt Haig about his most recent book Reasons to Stay Alive. Then on Wednesday 17th February they’ll be welcoming Booker Prize winner Julian Barnes to Bath for an evening of literary delights and discussion.
But even if you’re not able to go to one of their events then the Topping’s shop itself on The Paragon close to the top of Milsom Street is well worth a browse. For fans of collectable books they also sell first editions, first printings, and author-signed copies of books; which we quite like because at Dukes Hotel we’re all about luxury and beautiful antiques.
So from all of us at Dukes Hotel; we hope we can see you for some literary indulgence soon!