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Episode 34: Sybille Bedford’s Appetite for Life

Episode 34: Sybille Bedford’s Appetite for Life

‘I wondered for a time who this brilliant “Mrs Bedford” could be,’ wrote Evelyn Waugh to Nancy Mitford on reading Sybille Bedford’s first novel, A Legacy. The twentieth-century European writer Sybille Bedford could be many things: traveller, gourmand, oenophile, court reporter, Booker Prize-shortlisted novelist. In this month’s literary podcast the Slightly Foxed team discover the pleasures and landscapes of Bedford’s life, loves and writing with her biographer, Selina Hastings. The daughter of a German Baron, from childhood Bedford travelled endlessly, living in Germany, Italy, France, Portugal and Britain. Claiming to suffer from sloth and love of life, she deified her friend Aldous Huxley, had assets frozen by the Nazi regime, was funded by Martha Gellhorn and was known for her many lovers, all while experiencing the ‘tearing, crushing, defeating agony’ of writing. From a delicious account of a visit to Don Otavio in Mexico and vivid reportage of the Lady Chatterley’s Lover obscenity trial to the autobiographical novel Jigsaw, we see the world through Bedford’s observant eye and voracious appetite.
44 minutes
‘Ring of Bright Water caught me off guard’ | Jim Crumley on Gavin Maxwell

‘Ring of Bright Water caught me off guard’ | Jim Crumley on Gavin Maxwell

Greetings from Hoxton Square where, this summer, we’re travelling to far-flung destinations through the pages of Slightly Foxed. The latest issue of the magazine takes us far and wide, from language-hunting in the Karakorum and climbing Mount Kenya to Anthony Burgess’s Malaya and Robert Graves’s Ancient Rome . . . However, today we’re heading to the West Highlands of Scotland with Gavin Maxwell’s Ring of Bright Water, with the Scottish nature writer Jim Crumley as our guide.
Hand-grenade Practice in Peking | Model Revolutionary Life

Hand-grenade Practice in Peking | Model Revolutionary Life

Like pain, the memory of the boredom of much of my visit in 1971, and of those interminable meetings with revolutionary committees, had faded with time and in 1975 I had applied to join the third group of British exchange students to go and study for a year in Peking. Though I could read Chinese and had a good job in a university library, working with Chinese books, I wanted to speak the language better. So now I was, once again, on my way to Peking. What follows is an account, based on letters home, of my year in China.
S is for Sagan, Françoise | From the Slightly Foxed archives

S is for Sagan, Françoise | From the Slightly Foxed archives

‘My love of pleasure seems to be the only consistent side of my character. Is it because I have not read enough?’ Françoise Sagan, Bonjour Tristesse Greetings from Hoxton Square, where we’re once again travelling through the magazine’s archives to provide some welcome weekend reading. Charlie Lee-Potter’s piece on Françoise Sagan’s Bonjour Tristesse appeared in Slightly Foxed Issue 14 and transports us to a summer spent on the French Riviera.
Escape from France | From the Slightly Foxed bookshelves

Escape from France | From the Slightly Foxed bookshelves

‘Revisiting the Carey novels today, I am struck by how fresh and magnetizing they have remained, and by how much there is in these books – as there is in all good children’s literature – that can be enjoyed by adults. It is common for readers of Welch to credit him with sparking a love of history . . .’ We thought it timely to travel back to June 1791 through the pages of Escape from France, a Carey adventure set in the midst of the French Revolution.
Escape from France | The news from Paris was brief and startling . . .

Escape from France | The news from Paris was brief and startling . . .

The news from Paris was brief and startling. King Louis, the Queen and all the Royal family had escaped from Paris and were believed to be making for the German frontier. Already a petition had been submitted to the Assembly for the proclamation of a Republic. Richard whistled softly. He might sleep through lectures on the constitution of Athens, though he had read far more widely on that subject than many of his friends suspected, but he followed the politics of Europe with an intelligent and well-informed interest. Well, this would put the cat among the pigeons, he thought.

Bookshop of the Quarter: Summer 2021

As many of our readers will know, Little Toller Books is an independent press that revives classic books about nature and rural life, and has published a whole host of Slightly Foxed favourites over the years: Gavin Maxwell, Edward Thomas, Adrian Bell and Clare Leighton to name just a few. Therefore, we’re thrilled that our friends at Little Toller have now opened a bookshop in Beaminster, West Dorset. Alongside their own titles, they stock a wide range of books that celebrate the very best writing about the natural world, as well as specially selected fiction, non-fiction and children’s books. The booksellers are staunch supporters of independent publishers, and many Slightly Foxed titles can be spotted in their beautiful displays.
Stockists
Episode 33: The Golden Age of Crime Writing

Episode 33: The Golden Age of Crime Writing

Diamond Dagger award-winning crime novelist and president of the Detection Club Martin Edwards and Richard Reynolds, crime buyer for Heffers Bookshop and member of the Crime Writers’ Association, lead our investigation in this month’s literary podcast. Together with the Slightly Foxed team, they take a magnifying glass to the Golden Age of crime fiction, tracing its origins to the interwar years when the Detection Club was founded and discussing why the genre continues to thrill. From relishing The Poisoned Chocolates Case and resurrecting Death of a Bookseller to the mystery of E. C. R. Lorac’s missing manuscript and meeting Baroness Orczy’s Teahouse Detective, the plot twists and turns as we collect British Library Crime Classics and celebrate Crime Queens Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Margery Allingham, Josephine Tey and others along the way. Whether enjoyed as well-crafted puzzles, social documents or guilty pleasures, detective fiction is laced with nostalgia as well as cyanide. To tie up loose ends, we finish with a visit to Agatha Christie’s holiday home, Greenway, a house fit for Hercule Poirot, and the setting of a Devonshire murder hunt in Dead Man’s Folly.
45 minutes
Look Back With Love | From The Slightly Foxed bookshelves

Look Back With Love | From The Slightly Foxed bookshelves

‘I think I’m an oddity really, but I do my very, very best to write well’ We’re very pleased to announce that Look Back with Love by Dodie Smith is now available in a cloth-bound hardback Plain Foxed Edition. These sturdy little books, bound in duck-egg blue cloth, come in the same neat pocket format as the original SF Editions. In her preface to this edition, Dodie Smith’s biographer Valerie Grove describes Look Back with Love as ‘one of the happiest and funniest accounts of an Edwardian upbringing’. And indeed it is.
Slightly Foxed for Father’s Day

Slightly Foxed for Father’s Day

‘Variety, the unexpected, a bit of vulgarity and the ridiculous mixed in with the elevated . . .’ This has been Roger Hudson’s recipe in compiling a commonplace book from material he’s gathered over the past 40 years. Surprise, recognition, amusement, An Englishman’s Commonplace Book calls forth a variety of reactions. Ranging over the centuries, it contains a rich mix of often arresting facts, vivid descriptions, absurd observations and wise words, all organized under subject headings to help find that appropriate quote. Altogether a book for the times and a perfect present. With Father’s Day approaching we thought some of you may appreciate a few gift ideas for the father figures in your lives. All items can be wrapped in handsome brown paper, tied up with our smart and understated cream ribbon and sent off to the recipient, or to you to hand over in person, in good time for Sunday 20 June.
‘The thrill of a new issue has not dimmed’ | New this Summer from Slightly Foxed

‘The thrill of a new issue has not dimmed’ | New this Summer from Slightly Foxed

We’re delighted to report that the new Summer issue of Slightly Foxed (No. 70) has now left the printing press at Smith Settle and will start to arrive with readers in the UK very soon and elsewhere over the next few weeks. With it, as usual, you’ll find a copy of our latest Readers’ Catalogue, detailing new books, our backlist, selected seasonal reading and other offers and bundles. We hope it will provide plenty of recommendations for reading off the beaten track this summer. As ever, we look forward to the flurry of emails, letters, postcards and telephone calls that the turn of the new quarter brings – it’s a joy to correspond with our readers. We do hope you’ll enjoy the new issue of the magazine, wherever in the world you are.

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