Posts Tagged ‘Bath’

Mr Bs Frontage

Bath’s Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights – this week’s jackpot – sets The Bind’s detector beeping not only on account of its fantastic moniker; its 2008 Independent Bookshop of the Year accolade; its ‘bibliotherapy’ room, replete with battered, comfy armchairs and help-yourself coffee; the Tintin cartoon strip wallpaper sidling up to the staircase… 

Mr Bs Chairs

Mr Bs Bibliotherapy

Mr Bs Bath

Mr Bs Stairs

Mr Bs Window Display

… and its loyalty cards; the brilliant author events and book groups; the chatty Mr B’s folks, who’ll order any book you like to land on Mr B’s doormat in just a couple of days; their lists (and I do love a good list)…

Mr Bs Lists

Mr Bs Mugs

… and their sock monkeys…

Mr Bs Monkey

… oh no. The true feather in Mr B’s cap is Vlashka, who, when not providing her unique brand of tail-waggingly attentive customer service in the shop (as, unfortunately, she wasn’t on the day of The Bind’s visit) is updating her Vanity Page or trying to fit in meet-and-greets with her celebrity fans between dog biscuits. Watch this space for future Vlashka book signing announcements.

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Conservative types may claim that nothing particularly noteworthy has sprung up in Bath in the past 50 years. I beg to differ (see exhibit 1, above.)


Topping & Company is the best thing to happen to the old roman city since hot water. The first time I set foot on one of its creaking floorboards and was hit by the avalanche of coffee wafts, Yann Tiersen tunes and row after row after row of cellophane-wrapped signed first editions, I could barely contain myself.

I still can’t stay in there for more than 20 minutes without breaking into a sweat.


So, I certainly don’t need any coffee when I’m in there, but the lovely Topping & Co folks offer great pots of the stuff – in polka-dot cups cups, no less – as well as reading groups (fuelled by a healthy amount of red wine), author talks and good chat, as provided by Saber and Mark who very kindly let me get under their feet to take some photos. For not a second longer than 20 minutes, mind.

Saber, Mark and a pot of Topping's finest

Saber, Mark and a pot of Topping's finest


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WalcotMart books and shakers

WalcotMart shop

WalcotMart - book about nothing


Pavement arrow

Ladybird Books shelf

Modern Toss


The first ever ‘Discovery of the Week’ crown is donned by Bath’s WalcotMart and its Artists’ Book Fair, timed to coincide with the closing weekend of the Bath Literature Festival.


The shop is stunning (keep your ears to the cobbles – otherwise known as WalcotMart’s Facebook group – for news of music, film and Subutteo football soirees) and the team who run it are fab (although my being distracted by a teapot necklace meant that I forgot to ask their names. Everything stops for tea…)

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