I mentioned the other day that I'd been past the premises of Topping & Co. in St Andrews before the shop opened, well on Friday I was back in the town again and had time for a quick look in, and what a lovely place it is! First of all I was impressed by the fitting, very smart floor to ceiling shelving with library ladders, cosy alcoves, and a wood-burning stove to take the chill off a cold day, though the welcome itself was warm enough to induce a glow, and tea and coffee are offered to all customers. As to the stock, from what I saw it was a very good mix of what you'd expect to find alongside less predictable and well-chosen titles befitting a shop of that calibre. It was exciting to be there, and that's not something you can say about every bookshop.
I didn't take pictures but you'll get a fair idea of the look of the place from these shots of the Ely and Bath branches. As it was, I had a brief chat with the very pleasant Louise Topping, and spotted a book which I didn't have time to buy but have since sent in my St. Andrews correspondent (i.e. daughter Harriet) to get for me: "it's a book lover's paradise" was her verdict after she visited, and she's right. Do go if you can - on the 10th. Dec you could meet Alexander McCall Smith.*
*Speaking of authors, if you're a fan of Kate Atkinson's and would like to see her garden, follow the link here.