I can never resist the temptation of visiting Topping & Company whenever I'm in Bath (and I live nearby so it's a bit of a problem for my bank balance!). With its floor to ceiling high bookshelves, book ladders for you to scramble to the highest points and amazing range of fiction and non-fiction, it's a must for any book lover.
In my opinion Topping & Company are particular experts in crafting their tables of books - the range is always excellent and interesting with a good mix of well-known alongside the lesser known. On a recent visit (where I intended only to take photos) I was excited to see a table full of Sarah Moss' novels and, having just read and loved Ghost Wall, I decided to pick up Bodies of Light. Another table convinced me to also purchase Miriam Toews' Women Talking and Rachel Kushner's The Mars Room (see I told you it was dangerous). As well as fiction, Topping & Company's non-fiction selection of coffee table, travel and interior inspiration books will have you sat there for hours so its just as well that the helpful and friendly staff are only too happy to provide tea and coffee for you while you browse.
Topping & Company are also renowned for their events and reading groups. Upcoming events in Bath include talks with Meera Sodha (author of the Guardian's ‘New Vegan’ column), Louise Doughty and Sarah Perry.
If you buy one book:
Its a pretty difficult to just come away with one book but if you do it has to be one of their signed first editions. They have a great selection from Jeanette Winterson's Frankissstein to Jessie Burton's The Confession, but for us it has to be Valeria Luiselli's wonderful novel Lost Children Archive (which we were thrilled to see on the Booker Longlist). Luiselli’s first novel in English fashions the American road story into something genuinely novel: a blistering catalogue of migration and exile. A family in New York packs the car and sets out on a road trip. A mother, a father, a boy and a girl, they head south west, to the Apacheria, the regions of the US which used to be Mexico. Meanwhile, thousands of children are journeying north, travelling to the US border from Central America and Mexico. In a breath-taking feat of literary virtuosity, Lost Children Archive intertwines these two journeys to create a masterful novel full of echoes and reflections - a moving, powerful, urgent story about what it is to be human in an inhuman world.
The Paragon, Bath, BA1 5LS
All week: 8.30am - 7.30pm