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Slightly Foxed, and British Writers You’ve Never Heard Of…

slightly foxed     Slightly Foxed advertises itself as “The Read Reader’s Quarterly.”  It is one of the periodical titles in the SLU Libraries collection, we only take the journal in hard copy, we have a complete subscription starting with the first issue in 2004.  Slightly Foxed is made up entirely, or almost entirely, of short essays about a particular book, or author, or illustrator, or reason for savoring a book.  This is not a journal of literary theory, it is a journal about the life-long relationships that people have with an author or specific title.  Many of the essays you’ll find in Slightly Foxed begin like this one, “Well Earthed” by Anthony Longden: “I rediscovered an old favourite the other day.  Peering up at the dusty gloom of my highest bookshelves, I caught sight of a name that first captivated me more than twenty years ago. ”  The essay is about S. L. Bensusan’s books Village Idylls and A Marshland Omnibus where Longden asserts, “he is little read today…a real pity, since his characters are so vividly drawn, his stories so beguiling.”  In fact, reading a particular issue of Slightly Foxed is very much like pulling an anticipated book from a book shelf, it is very much like scanning a range of dissimilar book spines and that small excitement of finding a book that warrants a read, or better yet, a rereading.

Many of the books described and championed are by writers like S. L. Bensusan, writers whom many of us in Northern New York at this moment of history are unfamiliar.  When they are not, such as “Through the Wardrobe” by Lomax Allwood in which he describes editions of C.S. Lewis and Tolkein, it is to turn our attention to those editions illustrated by Pauline Diana Baynes, “Her characterization of mood and personality throughout the books is superb.”  A wide range of titles and topics get attention here, in a manner that it is fair to think (if in need of another analogy) of Slightly Foxed is as a conversation with a very literate British friend who enjoys recommending books.  With that in mind, a sampling of the authors and titles featured in the Spring and Summer 2014 issues of Slightly Foxed  (asterisk for those titles in the SLU Libraries collection, and remember Interlibrary Loan for those that aren’t…):

  • Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher by Lewis Thomas *
  • The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington*
  • Captain of Foot by Ronald Welch
  • The Radetzky March by Joseph Roth*
  • Queen Mary by James Pope-Hennessy
  • A Paddling of Ducks by Dillon Ripley
  • All the Brave Promises by Mary Lee Settle
  • A Question of Loyalties by Allan Maisse
  • Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm*
  • Our Spoons Came from Woolworths by Barbara Comyns
  • A Way of Life: Kettle’s Yard by Jim Ede
  • The Golden Age by Kenneth Grahame
  • The Great American Bus Ride by Irma Kurtz
  • Portrait of Elmbury by John Moore
  • The Borrowers by Mary Norton (yes, the movie!)
  • The Child that Built Books by Francis Spufford
  • Biophilia by E.O. Wilson*

~ by pdoty on October 20, 2014.

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