Guest Post #3 - Book Read 'Round the World: Carly from England shares her Book Hobo experience

Lost on Planet China = Purple Pin
Journeyed from Trowbridge, Wiltshire, England to Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Distance Traveled = 3471 mi / 5586 km
Total Distance Traveled to Date = 8297 mi / 13353 km

Guest Post #3
Carly from England

Carina at Reading Through Life has received her package from Carly so I can now post Carly's guest post! After you finish reading, make sure you check out Carly's awesome blog, Writing from the Tub (I just love her blog name) and Carina's blog, Reading Through Life

Carly is currently hosting a giveaway on her blog that closes September 1 at midnight, London time. Carina is currently doing a month long series of posts for Ramadan that have been really interesting reading. I'm loving them.

**Also, make sure that you sign up for the Book Read 'Round the World Giveaway. It is international and includes Lunatic Express by Carl Hoffman and two pairs of origami earrings made by my wonderful cousin. It is open until October 1.

Hi everybody! It's Carly here from Writing From the Tub. I received my Book Read 'Round the World package from Carin (in Texas) and my gifts were awesome!

I received:
-A signed copy of Varian Johnson's 'My Life as a Rhombus' - *bigsqueal*

- A gorgeous coaster of the cafe where Carin's book club meets - I thought this was a lovely gift. Not only is it handy to place my cold beverages upon, it's also really personal which is a really nice touch.

-A pod grocery bag -- which starts off teeny tiny and folds out into a shopping bag. SO useful, I've used this so many times already to cart books around the library etc. It was produced by a business local to Carin as well, yay.
- A copy of The Onion -- a famous satirical newspaper. I'd actually heard of The Onion before, which I thought was a bit exciting. It really is hilarious and I loved reading it. I know some people tried to start a similar magazine in Bath a year or so ago but it kind of flopped.

- I loved the giant postcards, Carin! I've never been to Texas, even though I'd love to visit one day so it was really nice to receive the package from somewhere I'm not too familiar with. And I must try out cowboy cookies soon!

My Shopping

So, even though I'm technically living in a hamlet called Staverton - I decided to use Bath as my town, as it's the closest town to us and, if I focused on Staverton, I would literally have nothing to say. Oh, and we have no shops, so shopping would be a little difficult.

Instead, I headed down the road to Bath, which will always be fond in my heart, as I lived there for three years while at university and will always, always live close by. It's such a wonderful city, famous the world over for its beautiful Georgian architecture. Sometimes I forget what a great place Bath is, as I've been there for so long I kind of take it for granted. 

All year round, but particularly in summer, Bath is a huge tourist city. Between the months of June and September it literally takes about half and hour to walk through the main streets. Millions of tourists flock to Bath every year and it seems like every single one of them wants to take a picture of EVERYTHING. I may moan about them, but I do love our tourists; they're so enthusiastic about the city it's hard not to like them.

Being such a magnet for tourists, Bath has a lot of gift shops so I found it relatively easy to pick up some presents for Carina--I just hope she likes them! I'm slightly nervous after Carin's awesome package that mine might be a bit lame in comparison.

Answers to Carin's Questions

1. What is the main industry in your city?
The main industries in Bath are publishing (yay) and tourism. We're home to the Future Publishing group, who are huge and have buildings all over the city. They're the sixth largest publishers in the UK and publish over 150 magazines--fun facts J.

As I said before, the other main industry is tourism. Bath receives nearly five million tourists a year and is consistently voted the most beautiful city in Britain, which it is, for sure.

2. Are there any strange facts people would be surprised to learn about Bath?
  • Did you know...Bath is the only town in the city where people can bathe in naturally heated spring waters (in the Thermae Bath Spa, if you're interested).
  • Bath is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Bath is often mentioned in literature and its recorded earliest mention was in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales
  • Any Buffy fans may be interested to learn that Anthony Head (who played Giles) lives in Bath and many people say you're not a true resident of the town until you've seen him. I've lost count of the numbers of times I've walked past him in the street or sat by him in a restaurant--the man is everywhere, seriously. Also, when I was in prep school my choir competed against his daughter's choir every year. I'm pretty sure her school always beat us.

3. What would you like people to know about the area you live that would make them want to plan a vacation to Bath?
Well, I think I've done quite a good job of plugging Bath but, if not, I have a few more things to mention! Firstly, Bath has an amazing selection of bookshops. We have a massive Oxfam bookshop which is great--a huge range of books sold at greatly reduced prices (most of them go for about £1) and all the profits go to charity, yay.

We've also got a two storey Waterstones that hosts a lot of author events. There's usually something going on there most nights so it's a great place for readers and writers to meet up. 

Last, but not least, we have two fantastic independent bookshops--Mr B's and Toppings. Both of these win frequent bookshop awards and a visit to Bath is not complete without visiting one (or both!).

Mr B's is tucked into a beautiful alley behind Milson Street, the main shopping street in Bath. The books are stacked on bookshelves so high I always, always need somebody to help me get my selections down. Mr B's is really more of a living room than a bookshop with antique chairs dotted around the place for you to relax with a favourite book and frequent offers of coffee or juice. It's great. Oh, also, there's a shop dog called Vlashka, awesome.

Then we have Toppings, which is definitely the place to go for author events in Bath. Upcoming guest speakers include Stephen Fry, Levi Roots, Michael Caine, Rose Tremaine, and Carol Anne Duffy--exciting. Probably more exciting if you're a Brit like me but STILL--exciting!

One sentence review
This was tough! I'm so used to rambling on and on in reviews that trying to get my point across in a single sentence proved rather challenging!

'A humorous, entertaining read about a Western man's search to find and experience the 'real' China.'

(Read Carly's full review of Lost on Planet China)

I just want to thank Carin for organizing such a great event. I really enjoyed my part in the Book Read 'Round the World and I can't wait to read everybody else's posts and reviews of their stops. My package is on the way to Carina now so I hope it reaches her safe and sound soon!

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