A bookporn entry in commemoration of my return to England — I present a bookshop in Cambridge that should have ascended its luscious throne a long time ago: Heffers. Heffers began as a family business, and continues to lay claim to over a hundred continuous years of Cambridge bookselling, since 1876
even though it was bought over by Oxford’s Blackwell’s in 1999. (growl)
What I love about Heffers is the impossible cunning of its architecture. It takes its two floors of allocated building space and somehow, by some astonishing & satanic feat of interior design, engineering and L-dimensional skulduggery, somehow pulls four floors out of the rabbit’s hat. In all the following photos you will be able to discern, among those stern concrete pillars, four levels of gorgeous bookery. (Click through to Flickr for exposition).
The skulduggery continues. We have here a space deceptively masquerading as a cafe from the top of the stairs, until you move closer, and lo! a hitherto hidden Book Cranny balloons into sight.
Heffers also has nested nooks — crannies within crannies;
its History section curls away into two cosy corners in the basement, segueing into Classics and Philosophy at its fringes;
and, right at the back — no doubt situated according to some greater, inscrutable design between Politics and Medicine — a resident skeleton.
Love Heffers! it’s one of a kind. If you can stagger past the Cambridge kitsch out front, creep past the alleged bestsellers and resist the stationery sirens, the lower mezzanine floor now features a brand new secondhand books section. And from past experience, a secondhand bookstore in a town stuffed with owlish academics is Not To Be Sniffed At.