Monthly Archives: June 2012

Book shopping in Bath

Since I’ve moved home I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Bath- it’s the perfect literary haunt. In the nineteenth century Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and Mary Shelley visited. Today book shops in Bath continue to sell their novels, alongside the work of hundreds of other authors. Here’s some of my favourite places to buy a book in the city. 

Bath Old Books, 9C Margaret’s Buildings.

This shop is run by five different book dealers who each take turns to run the shop. Each dealer has a different section in the shop, so if you’re looking for a specific book make sure you check all the sections for it. There are two levels with plenty of stock in the basement, mostly hardbacks. I’ve picked up some old Victorian copies of my favourite books for as cheap as £6.00. The shop is just round the corner from The Circus, it’s a lovely location and a brilliant place to browse.

George Bayntun, Manvers Street.

George Bayntun is an up-market shop located in a listed building. They bind books for sale to collectors in-store and sell rare books to prestigious customers. If this sounds a little imposing, don’t be put off. They have a good selection of books at a lower price range in the basement. The shop, which opened in 1873, has stayed with the same family since then and has a fascinating history.

Topping & Company Booksellers of Bath, The Paragon. 

This is probably one of the best places to buy new books in Bath. It’s the only place I’ve seen where the hardback copies are laminated, which makes them look extra smart. Topping & Company also holds regular author events so some of the books are signed as well. Everything is well arranged and advertised with handwritten signs. The shop’s next guest is Chris Cleave, the author of Gold, and after that it’s Levi Roots.

Oxfam Bookshop, 4-5 Lower Borough Walls.

Oxfam Bookshops are the bread and butter of the reading world, selling second-hand copies for charity. When I was an English student they were a goldmine, I could pick up cheap copies of the books on my syllabus instead of getting them on Amazon. Bath’s Oxfam Bookshop has a good selection- it’s often surprising what you can find there.

Where’s your favourite place to shop for books? Let me know by commenting on this post. If you’ve enjoyed reading it I’d love to hear from you.


Back to the books

Hello, it’s been too long since I posted anything. I’m looking forward to getting this blog up and running again. Now I’ve finished my exams I’ll have time to read and write again. Yesterday I went to Bath and sat in Henrietta Park with a new book. I’ve got a couple of new books and I thought I’d share them with you.

Foreign Bodies, Cynthia Ozick.

Foreign Bodies tells the story of Bea, a lonely teacher who is still haunted by the memory of her ex-husband Leo. Although Leo has moved on, Bea is still stuck in the same job and the same flat. Her brother Marvin, a successful businessman despises her for this. But when his eldest son leaves America for Paris he is determined to bring him back. He enlists Bea’s help and hopes to send her as an intermediary. The story, which is a twist on The Ambassadors by Henry James, is told from the viewpoint of different family members. Although crucially we never hear from Julian, the missing son.

The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje.

My dad gave me this to read, there are always plenty of books floating round the house. It’s set in Italy just after the end of the Second World War. It starts with Hana, a young nurse, who has stayed behind to look after her remaining patient. He claims to be English and is badly burned after a plane crash in the desert. As he recovers Hana discovers his story. It’s been made into a film as well, which I might have a search for if I like the book.

The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern.

This is Morgenstern’s debut novel and it’s a bit mysterious. The circus, which arrives without warning, is the plaything of two magicians named Prospero and Alexander. They have both picked a protégé, Celia and Marco, and they use their performances in the circus to compete with one another. The book is aimed at adults, although some critics complain it slips into teenage fantasy at times. I’ll have a read and decide for myself. Morgenstern also has her own blog, which is worth a read.

 White Teeth, Zadie Smith. 

Zadie Smith is one of my favourite authors but it’s been a while since I’ve read anything of hers. So I’ve decided to read White Teeth again. It’s the story of two friends, Samad Iqbal and Archie Jones, whose stories intertwine throughout the book. It’s an exploration of race, identity and multiculturalism. I’d also recommend On Beauty and The Autograph Man.