Friday 5 December 2014

Indie Advent: Sarah Benwell on Mr B's Reading Emporium, Bath

I'm obviously really excited about ALL the fabulous posts for #IndieAdvent, but this is a particularly special one - it matches Sarah Benwell, author of The Last Leaves Falling, which is one of my most highly-anticipated books of next year, with Mr B's Reading Emporium in Bath, one of the shops I most want to visit. This great post - and all of the gorgeous pictures - has made me even keener to see it!

Where: Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights, 14-15 John Street, Bath.

Why: I have a totally unsecret love affair with Mr B’s. And there’s a lot to love. Mr B’s is beautiful, and gloriously bookish.

I can hear you thinking ‘Well, yeah. It’s a bookshop’. But Mr B’s is one huge celebration of the literary, full of tiny, thoughtful details for the bookish heart.

There’s the Reading Man…

The Tintin Staircase…

The bathtub display, nodding to both its location and indulgent reading time…

Comfy chairs (complete with fire and a supply of coffee) for you to lose yourself in…

A Chris Riddell toilet. (Yes. You heard me right.)

…And books, books, books.

Excellent books. I know that when I go to Mr B’s I’ll find half a dozen stories that I never knew I needed. Because yes, Mr B’s has all the big names, but the shelves are filled with varied, hand-picked titles, and there are always surprises. Mr B’s knows books, and they’re more than happy to recommend, to enthuse about the things they’re reading, or to meet the most obscure of ‘I want to read a book like this,’ challenges. (Seriously. ‘Hey, guys, I’m in the mood to book-travel to Borneo. But I want fiction. Written by a Bornean author. With a speculative element... and DINOSAURS? Know any titles?’)

And If you’re not lucky enough to be close enough to Mr B’s to hold them hostage with requests like that all the time (or if you just want to indulge) they offer reading spas and monthly hand-picked-for-you book mail: frankly the
best book-lover presents ever.

I haven’t raved yet about
The Bookshop Band, or how Mr B’s are branching out with Fox, Finch & Tepper. But none of this, in itself, is really why I love Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights as much as I do. Everything above is a symptom of the passion and knowledge and heartfelt welcome which the Mr B’s team brings to work. You walk into Mr B’s and you know that you’re among true, fine, book-loving folks. People, dear reader, just like us.

And it is wonderful.

What one book would you buy from there as a Christmas present, and who would you give it to?

This question should be hard. Everyone gets books (Um, duh.) and narrowing it down to one would be impossible. But since everyone else is already covered, and Mr B’s Emporium is my safe-and-happy place, I’d probably go in there for a present to myself, and I’d be all, ‘Hey guys, what you reading?’ and walk out with an unexpected new book-infatuation.

Bio: Sarah Benwell lives in the picturesque city of Bath. Which is nice, but she’d much rather be off exploring deserts and jungles elsewhere. Having seen a good chunk of the world, Sarah is a keen advocate for diversity in life and on bookshelves, and she loves nothing more than acquainting herself with both.

Her first book, THE LAST LEAVES FALLING, is out Jan 29th.

You can find her on Twitter.

Mr B's has a website and is also on Twitter.


  1. Great post, Sarah! Love Mr B's. How come Bath has *all* the bookshops, huh? #resentfulBristolian :)

  2. Mr B's is such an awesome book shop - it's always on my to visit list whenever I pay Bath a visit! Great post :)

    And Lu - we're not too far away - Bath is just 15 minutes or so away by train ;)