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I went to university in Norwich and the JR & RK Ellis Bookshop was one of the beloved highlights of the city throughout my time there. Walking into the city centre from the West, Ellis would be almost the first thing one would encounter. I always recall its elegant windows with well-priced copies of old Penguin paperback fiction (Forster, Austen, Conrad), and its numerous specialized sections within. Deep inside the shop, Radio 4 would play soothingly in the background. Often the kindly owner would quietly give me a discount on whatever I chose to buy. The shop was a wonderful place of gentle calm and civilization. I left university 20 years ago and have never forgotten Ellis's bookshop.

I visited Norwich recently and learned that Ellis is still going strong. In these hard times for second-hand (or any) booksellers, I am delighted at this. Norwich would truly not be the same without it.   08-09-15


Undercover Books seems to have moved steadily upwards in the few years it has been going. I visited recently for the first time in over a year, and the place has excellent stock - classic fiction, modernism, Kafka, etc. I was impressed by the holdings in crime fiction and a focus on 1960s rebellious writing, plus theatre (Bertolt Brecht et al) and cultural theory (Raymond Williams). There are also vintage pamphlets, posters, comics, visual materials ... I could have browsed for an hour or two!

Apart from Ellis Books I am not currently aware of a better selection of such material in the Norwich area, following the closure of other good second-hand outlets in recent years. So I hope that Undercover Books continues to thrive and grow, as it seems to be filling a particular niche very well.   08-09-15
Tags: Books