Header overlay

Popular categories

Explore our library

Jeremy’s Progress

My grandparents’ books were ranged in a deep alcove by the fireplace, a shadowy and mysterious recess that invited exploration. During visits in school holidays, I read my way through those faded hardbacks and ever afterwards associated their authors with the thrill of exploring that dark corner. The pleasurably fusty smell of the pages seemed to me the smell of an epoch, of the generation of my grandparents, born in the 1890s. Over the years I made the acquaintance of the writers they had grown up with – Galsworthy, Arnold Bennett, Hugh Walpole.
SF magazine subscribers only
Prophesying War

Prophesying War

I enjoy reading thrillers. I might like to claim that literary fiction is my constant companion, but for most of the time it isn’t – the novels that Graham Greene described as his ‘entertainments’ give me far greater pleasure than his more serious books. Similarly, when my work as a historian took me to the period between the First and Second World Wars I found that Eric Ambler’s thrillers, written at the time, effectively captured the contemporary atmosphere, just as do Alan Furst’s more recent books. Both explore the impact of the interwar struggle between fascism, communism and democracy on innocent individuals, men who find their lives tossed about on the great waves of history. But always men. What about the women?
SF magazine subscribers only
Walden-by-the-Sea

Walden-by-the-Sea

It is a typical winter night on California’s central coast: the rain has been drumming on the roof, the dogs, happy and dry, are curled up in their beds, and my wife and I are in our bed, propped up on a pile of pillows, books in hand. I’m attempting with mixed success not to shake the bed with repressed laughter brought on by P. G. Wodehouse. My wife, having put aside the ever-present New Yorker magazine, is giving her undivided attention to The Outermost House by Henry Beston.
SF magazine subscribers only

A Frank Look at History

I am a book annotator. Of course I never write in the margins of library books, and I wouldn’t dream of marking books lent by a well-meaning friend: I’m a book annotator, not a sociopath. But a pencilled note or punctuation mark in the margin of my own books is a form of ownership, a tiny graphite beacon for future browsing and (on occasion) an aid to concentration. Most of these notes are unobtrusive – a line here, an asterisk there – but there is one book that I own which is annotated to the point of deranged excess: the Penguin Classic by Gregory of Tours, entitled The History of the Franks and translated by Lewis Thorpe.
SF magazine subscribers only
‘It’s a joy, a delight, a quarterly treat . . .’ | New this Spring from Slightly Foxed

‘It’s a joy, a delight, a quarterly treat . . .’ | New this Spring from Slightly Foxed

We’re delighted to let you know that the Spring issue of Slightly Foxed (No. 65) left the printing press at Smith Settle yesterday and will start to arrive with readers in the UK from today and elsewhere over the next few weeks. It ranges far and wide in the usual eclectic manner. We hope it will provide plenty of recommendations for reading off the beaten track this spring. With it, as usual, you’ll find a copy of our latest Readers’ Catalogue, detailing new books, our backlist, books featured in the latest issue of the quarterly, recommended seasonal reading and other offers and bundles.
Dog’s-eye View

Dog’s-eye View

Inside of a Dog was in the New York Times bestseller list for over a year and completely passed me by because, like the baby books, you don’t need it until you’ve got your own. The author, Alexandra Horowitz, is uniquely qualified for the ambitious task of getting inside the bodies and minds of another species. Her CV includes a BA in philosophy and a PhD in cognitive science studying dogs, plus earlier stints as a lexicographer at Merriam-Webster and a fact-checker for the New Yorker. And, it perhaps goes without saying, she’s a dog person: in the Acknowledgements section at the end of the book, the dogs come first
SF magazine subscribers only

Choppy Waters

Dishonest or ‘crooked’ arguments are nothing new, but recently our fractious politics coupled with the invention of the Internet have lent them a fresh intensity, and a wider reach. Would that Straight and Crooked Thinking, written by Robert H. Thouless and first published in 1930, was now more widely read and taught in schools. This little book would not solve all our problems, of course, but it might help us see through partisan propaganda, take on unprincipled Internet warriors, persuade others honourably, defend our own beliefs effectively and (crucially) change our minds when necessary.
SF magazine subscribers only
A Hardy Perennial

A Hardy Perennial

The summer of 2018 was a glory – as long as you weren’t a gardener. For those of us who fret about plants, it was a season as much to be endured as enjoyed. After a cold, late spring, the weather had pulled a U-turn, swerving into an intense dry heat that lasted from June to the end of August. With 7 per cent less rain than even the summer of ’76 – still, after a whole series of climatic upheavals, the touchstone for freak British weather – it wasn’t so surprising that anything newly planted shrivelled in the furnace.
SF magazine subscribers only

Betrayals

I have a Russian wife. We work together – articles, talks, translations, books, to keep the wolf from the door. Sometimes, when a bigger than usual energy bill slides through the letterbox, or the car breaks down or the tax-man cometh, one of us will look at the other with a rueful grin and say: ‘The solution as I see it, Comrade, is to work harder.’ It’s a direct quotation from Animal Farm (1945) and the character we are quoting is the big carthorse Boxer, eighteen hands high, and the stalwart representative of the proletariat in George Orwell’s book.
SF magazine subscribers only
Gone Fishing

Gone Fishing

A few months before his death I gave my father a copy of the Collected Poems of Robert Service, a British-Canadian poet whose long ballads he had discovered in his younger, single days while working on building sites in Alaska and Canada. He spoke often of his favourite, ‘The Cremation of Sam McGee’, about a gold miner in the Yukon who honours his dying fellow prospector’s request for cremation rather than interment in a frozen grave. Hauling Sam McGee’s body for days on a dog sled, the narrator eventually finds a wrecked boat along a lake shore and uses it as a makeshift crematorium.
SF magazine subscribers only

Portrait of the Artist in Middle Age

As The Ordeal opens, Gilbert Pinfold is a successful novelist in his late forties, but looking and feeling much older. He lives comfortably in the country with his wife and children. He does not consider himself rich but he can afford servants and good wine. Even so things are not going well. ‘He had become lazy . . . he spent most of the day in an armchair. He ate less, drank more and grew corpulent . . .’ Not surprisingly, indolence and indulgence mean that his health is not good and the lack of daily activity causes him to suffer from chronic insomnia.
SF magazine subscribers only
Fabulous Beasts

Fabulous Beasts

Christopher de Hamel’s Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts (2016) is a joy. The binding, the layout and the lavish illustration make it a pleasure to handle before you even turn to the content, which perfectly fulfils its promise. De Hamel’s writing is not academic but vivid and entertaining, while the coloured reproductions are almost as dazzling as the fabulous beasts which so often clamber around their margins. As he says in his introduction, ‘the chapters are not unlike a series of celebrity interviews’.
SF magazine subscribers only
How to Cook a Fox

How to Cook a Fox

During a time when I was unable to work I read a lot, and randomly, picking up whatever took my fancy in the local bookshop. I had recently moved to an old farmstead on Orkney with enough space to grow some vegetables and berry fruit – not exactly living off the land, but an exciting departure for someone who had always lived in a town. One day I chanced upon Patience Gray’s Honey from a Weed, took it home and soon found myself fantasizing about planting olive trees – although to tell the truth I always knew that olives would never thrive in a latitude so high that it is impossible to grow wheat here.
SF magazine subscribers only

Sign up to our e-newsletter

Sign up for dispatches about new issues, books and podcast episodes, highlights from the archive, events, special offers and giveaways.

By signing up for our free email newsletter or our free printed catalogues, you will not automatically be subscribed to the quarterly magazine. To become a subscriber to Slightly Foxed: The Real Reader’s Quarterly Magazine, please visit our subscriptions page.

Slightly Foxed undertakes to keep your personal information confidential. You can read more about this in our Privacy Policy. You can unsubscribe from our list at any point by changing your preferences, or contacting us directly. Alternatively, if you have an account you can manage your preferences in your account settings.

What excellent company you are!

I have been devoted to your podcast for over a year; it could be improved only by being more frequent. Every book I have ordered from you has been a delight; nothing disappoints. I receive your emails with pleasure, and that’s saying a lot. Slightly Foxed is a source of content . . . ’
K. Nichols, Washington, USA

Sign up to our e-newsletter

Sign up for dispatches about new issues, books and podcast episodes, highlights from the archive, events, special offers and giveaways.