Torc Books, Snettisham, Norfolk
An ordinary terraced house in a small North Norfolk village. A beautiful if sun-bleached window display of Beatrix Potter and Flower Fairies reveals a visit into a front room piled high, wall to wall , floor to ceiling with books, and a glimpse of a further room beyond.
We are greeted by the 86-year old proprietor, Mrs Shepperd who comes foward to greet us with a cheerful ‘Good afternoon’ as it has just gone noon, and gives us an introduction to the the shop, and where to find things: ‘There is no charge for just looking.’ I warm to Mrs Shepperd.
In the front room it is mostly antiquarian and secondhand, although there a smattering of new books arranged around a central table. In the back room, above – what you might call a front desk, somewhere under more piles of books – a sign declares:
Too many books?
I think what you mean is not enough bookshelves
The books continue around into the hall all the way to the ‘front door’, and all the way up the stairs. Books on the landing are best viewed from the stairs. All the rooms are perfectly categorised . Theatre, plays, sheet music; another for science and engineering; periodicals in another. Some higher shelves are even labeled ‘Not for sale’.
I ask about Edward Ardizzone, and she knows where she typically has them, then picks one straight out ht window display (I don’t know how I could have missed this one!). Browsing another shelf I pluck a Robert Louis Stephenson from the shelf and realise from the unmistakable cover that another Ardizzone has fallen into my hands.
When it comes to paying it’s cash or cheques, although Mrs Shepperd does mention the cash machine at the Coop down the road. At 86 she can’t be into involved in card payments or computerising the stock. It’s all just in her head, and although she might say some of it is forgotten she hasn’t.
Torc Books is a proper bookshop, just like they should be.
9 Hall Road
Open: Fridays and Saturday, 10am-4pm