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The Best Birthday Present Ever….

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So I turned 40 and my lovely friends from my book club decided to buy me a voucher for a Reading Spa.

What’s a Reading Spa? Truly one of the best presents I have ever been given and if you have a bookworm in your family then rush out and buy a voucher for them immediately.

The Reading Spa idea is run by Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights (ie a bookshop) in John Street, Bath.

Bath has been well known as a spa city for centuries (http://www.thermaebathspa.com) but you can’t read books in a swimming pool…

On a snowy morning I ventured over to Bath on the train. It was cold and wet but the staff at Mr B’s were brilliant and gave me a really warm welcome.

The Reading Spa works like this:

  • You are shown to a comfy chair in front of a warming fire in the Bibliotherapy Room –  and given coffee and cake.
  • One of the staff (a bibliotherapist!) has a chat with you about books (your favourite authors, what sort of books you have read recently, your likes and dislikes etc)
  • Then they leave you to relax with your coffee and have a browse. They return with a huge stack of books and introduce you to them, one by one. Classics, new titles, books the staff have enjoyed, familiar authors and writers you’ve never heard of)
  • The next part is just the chance to have time – to browse through the books, to read bits of beginnings and chapters and to make a small pile of favourites.
  • Then  you get to go home with £40 of books, a mug and some proper hot chocolate to drink in it.

I LOVED having a Reading Spa. Not a Kindle in sight, just the chance to sit in a bookshop, drink coffee, talk about books, browse and take some home. To be able to do that for a couple of hours without rushing was such a treat. The staff at Mr B’s are friendly and knowledgeable and really help you relax and enjoy your time there.

This sounds like an advert but really, when do we ever have time to do things like this?

Treat someone you love right now or just treat yourself, it’s worth every penny.

The books I chose:

Patrick Gale: A Perfectly Good Man

Mary McCarthy: The Group

Amy Sackville: The Still Point

Jane Gardam: A Long Way from Verona

Robin Jenkins: The Pearl-fishers

Also couldn’t resist buying a couple of others  The Great Typo Hunt by Jeff Deck and Benjamin D Herson (two blokes set off around America correcting typos) and The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman, about a shabby newspaper in Rome

Will hopefully blog about some of these books when I’ve read them (just started Patrick Gale) but for now, here’s the link to Mr B’s website: http://www.mrbsemporium.com  Their featured book right now is my absolute favourite book from last year – The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. But that’s another blog post…


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