Thursday, 31 May 2018

Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights - Sue Purkiss

Mr B’s, in case you haven’t heard of it, is a wonderful independent book shop in Bath. I’m about an hour away from Bath, and my nearest bookshop is a small Waterstones - so Mr B’s isn’t exactly my local.

But a couple of weeks ago, I spent a whole afternoon there. The reason? Last Christmas, one of my children gave me a truly magnificent present: it’s called a Reading Spa - in my view, just so much better than the other kind of spa!

What happens is this. You turn up at the shop - which is a characterful series of little rooms, linked by narrow staircases and with a surprise round every corner - and meet your designated ‘bibliophile’. You will already have given a few details about yourself and your reading habits over the phone when you made your appointment. You go upstairs, and sit in comfortable armchairs with tea or coffee and a delicious cake - and then you talk books, for an hour and a half! First you talk in more detail about the kind of thing you like, then your guide - for me, the delightful and very expert Amy - goes off to choose a selection of books for you to choose from - you have £55 to spend.

A corner of the children's department.
There’s so much that’s good about this. It’s a joy just to talk about books with someone else who loves books just as much as I do. And Amy produced a pile of books that I hadn’t come across. She introduced each one, explaining what it was about and why she thought I might like it - in some cases, she’d enlisted the help of colleagues. It was actually very difficult to choose. Eventually I ended up with a pile of ‘definites’ and another of ‘maybes’, and Amy promised to email me a list of the ‘maybes’. 

I left with my books, a bag, a mug, and a voucher towards my next purchase from Mr B’s. And I’ll certainly use it. I think the Reading Spa is an excellent idea, and Mr B truly is an Emporium of Reading Delights. 

And the books I chose? Here they are. 



With many thanks, to Richard (my son), and Amy, from Mr B’s.


9 comments:

Mystica said...

What a marvellous idea.

Sue Bursztynski said...

What an amazing gift! Lucky lady! I don’t suppose the Emporium could open a branch in Melbourne...?

Joan Lennon said...

That's a lovely gift - and Mr B's sounds delightful!

Lynne Benton said...

What a wonderful idea for a present for a bookworm! Well done Mr B's for hosting it, and to your children for discovering it and realising what a great present it would make for you!

Susan Price said...

Well, I'm staggered! What a truly thoughtful and wonderful gift from your children -- and what an incredibly good idea from the bookshop! One of those impressive but simple ideas that makes you think: Why has no one else thought of that? But no one else did.

I hope the idea spreads. Like you, Sue, I think a book-spa is far and away the best kind of spa.

Anne Booth said...

What a gorgeous present!

Penny Dolan said...

I've heard of the bookshop even here, so far away, and this sounds en extremely lovely and clever idea. And with cake too!

Dianne Hofmeyr said...

So brilliant... why don't others do it? And what fun to sit and talk books with a like-minded person you've never met and then be advised on some different titles... better than any therapy... better than any spa! Mr B we all need you!

Paeony Lewis said...

How interesting and innovative. I hope they are a huge success. By the way, I've just finished 'The Bear and the Nightingale' and I too think you'd really enjoy this Russian 'fairytale' as like 'When Marnie Was There' it strongly invokes a sense of place, and in addition seasons and a past way of life. Do look up images of old Russian stoves - they intrigued me and you'll know what I'm talking about when you read the story! Happy reading and thanks for sharing. Wonder what you'll think of the other books...