Last week while on holiday I took a day out from my family to visit Bath and one of the best independent bookshops I've ever come across... I made a day of it and had a book spa in the morning, spent the day walking around Bath and went to an Author event in the evening at the same bookshop.
Let me just say that I am not affiliated with Mr B's in any professional capacity other than as a customer and a fan of their brilliant service!
A book spa basically involves having a chat with one of Mr B's booksellers about books you love. They love books too, so it's a great feeling to sit back and chat about what you like to read. I so want to do a spa in the winter when the fire is on! After about 20 minutes or so of talking about your likes and dislikes, preferences and reading goals the bookseller, in this instance Emma, will leave you in peace with a drink and a slice of cake. You can browse their eclectic shelves or pick up a book to read while they search out a huge pile of books that they think you'll like. They'll then sit with you and go through their suggestions explaining why they've selected each book and why you'll like it. You're then given time to choose whichever books you want, no pressure or obligation. The cost of your book spa does include a set amount to spend on books, so you know you can walk away with some.
The first time I went I wanted a general selection of fiction, but this time around I wanted to explore SF/Fantasy a little more, which is great because this is Emma's favoured genre and she was able to make some interesting suggestions.
I turned a few down that I already had in my TBR list, or had already read, but here's my fabulous haul:
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente - I finished this book yesterday, and it is sublime. I loved every word of it.
Quesadillas by Juan Pablo Villalobos
The City & The City by China Mieville
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
Heap House by Edward Carey
Dreams and Shadows by C. Robert Cargill
Dark Eden by Chris Beckett
The Explorer by James Smythe
The Panda Theory by Pascal Garnier
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
There were a few more books that I turned down, simply because my budget wouldn't allow it. It's my ambition to go there one day with no budget to stick to...
I'll discuss the Author Event (Juan Pablo Villalobos) in my reviews of Down The Rabbit Hole & Quesadillas.