As bookshop chains go, Foyles retains the respect of booklovers by being a darn good bookshop. The Foyles in Bristol’s Quakers Friars was the first in the chain outside of London but I’m sure it won’t be the last.
I first came across Foyles when I was a magazine intern in London and I discovered this incredible series of talks run by Foyles. They have an author event almost every night. The only other bookshop I’ve known to equal it is Topping & Co in Bath.
The new Bristol Foyles store feels spacious and yet full of books. There is a fair selection of related paraphernalia – notebooks, diaries, games, postcards – but these are so well chosen, not to mention well designed, that I’ll forgive them using up floorspace that could have gone to books.
This is not the place to go to get the latest celebrity autobiography or 3 for 2 chicklit. The “top ten” and “staff picks” bookcases showcase mostly literary fiction, including a few titles I’d never heard of. There is a surprisingly large cookery section, including a display of the new Penguin Great Food series. In fact, there was a certain emphasis on this current trend for beautiful books, which I am all in favour of. I picked up a few pretty tidbits for forthcoming birthdays in addition to some books for me.
I’d still like to see more independent bookshops out there but I do think Foyles is a welcome addition to Bristol.
Foyles, 6 Quakers Friars, Cabot Circus, Bristol, BS1 3BU