Last week Megan and I spent a couple of days in Ely. It was wet. Very wet. But that just gave us more time to explore Ely Cathedral. And having heard many good things about Topping's bookshop over the years, I was eager to pay it a visit.
I came away a very impressed customer.
|* please note that this photo is of Topping's in Bath rather than Ely|
More pleasingly still, arbitrary distinctions between classics and fiction were ignored in favour of one long inclusive section. Perfect. And while browsing the shelves I had the feeling that there were real bibliophiles working there, and that they were serious about their jobs. There was a wonderful pin board with articles and reviews of recent books, a prominent table stacked with enticing new hardbacks including all of the Booker Prize longlist, and recommendations spread all around the shop. I wanted to stop and sit for hours reading books. And I felt that I could have done so without anyone seeking to move me on. The atmosphere was literary but not too academic or elitist; passionate and engaged but accessible at the same time.
I find it hard not to have a good time in a bookshop, but my half an hour in Toppings was well above average. It's a quality bookstore that I'd recommend everyone to visit if they are ever in Ely.