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The Secret Orchard of Roger Ackerley | Diana Petre

The Secret Orchard of Roger Ackerley | Diana Petre

Diana and her twin sisters grew up in Barnes, South London, in the care of an elderly housekeeper, having been abandoned in 1912 by their mother, the enigmatic Mrs Muriel Perry, whose real name and true identity were a mystery. After an absence of ten years, Muriel reappeared and took charge of her children, with disastrous results. For the girls, one of the highlights of their isolated lives were visits from a kindly man they knew as ‘Uncle Bodger’. In fact, as Muriel finally revealed in characteristically brutal fashion, he was their father, Roger Ackerley. Unbeknownst to the girls, he lived down the road in Richmond with a retired actress and his three further children.
Confessions of a Common Reader | From the Slightly Foxed archives

Confessions of a Common Reader | From the Slightly Foxed archives

‘Anne Fadiman recalls that Charles Lamb “once told Coleridge that he was especially fond of books containing traces of buttered muffins”’ Here at Hoxton Square we feel we may be kindred spirits with Charles Lamb, especially as the season turns and there’s a chill in the air, calling for muffins and good books to bury one’s nose in. As we come to the end of another busy working week, we’d like to take you back to where our story began: the first article of the first issue of Slightly Foxed magazine. Appropriately enough, it’s about a lifelong obsession with books. And we do hope that you, dear readers, will find a kindred spirit in Anne Fadiman.
I Was a Stranger | A Story of Friendship

I Was a Stranger | A Story of Friendship

As commander of the 4th Parachute Brigade, John Hackett was in the vanguard of the attack on Arnhem on 17 September 1944. A week later, when his depleted and poorly supplied force was at its last gasp, he was badly wounded in the stomach and leg. It is this moment, with the battle almost spent and the narrator reduced to helpless dependence on others, which marks the starting point of the book – for I Was a Stranger is not so much a tale of derring-do (though its descriptions of the fighting are vivid) as a story of friendship. The heroism it celebrates is not that of soldiers, but of a household run by three women in a town under German occupation.
Nella Last’s War | From the Slightly Foxed bookshelves

Nella Last’s War | From the Slightly Foxed bookshelves

Introducing the latest addition to the Slightly Foxed Editions list, No. 60: Nella Last’s War: The Second World War Diaries of Housewife, 49 In 1937 the social research group Mass Observation launched a project to record the lives of ordinary people in Britain by recruiting 500 volunteer diarists. One of these was Nella Last, a housewife living in Barrow-in-Furness with a husband and two grown-up sons, one a trainee tax-inspector and one in the army. So far, so seemingly ordinary, but there was nothing ordinary about Nella. She left us an unrivalled account of life in wartime Britain that is not only a piece of social history but also the portrait of a woman you feel could have run the country, given half a chance.
‘Every offering is a true gem’ | New this Autumn from Slightly Foxed

‘Every offering is a true gem’ | New this Autumn from Slightly Foxed

Greetings, dear readers. We’re delighted to announce that the new Autumn issue of Slightly Foxed (No. 75) has now left the printing press at Smith Settle and will start to arrive with subscribers in the UK very soon and elsewhere over the next few weeks. It ranges far and wide in the usual eclectic manner: Galen O’Hanlon goes to the seaside with R. C. Sherriff • Ysenda Maxtone Graham enjoys a housewife’s wartime diaries • Christopher Rush meets Miss Jean Brodie in her prime • David Fleming goes monster hunting in Loch Ness • Sue Quinn celebrates Florence White’s English cooking • Adam Sisman faces a Martian invasion with H. G. Wells, and much more besides . . . With it, as usual, you’ll find a print copy of our latest Readers’ Catalogue, listing new books, our backlist, seasonal reading from other publishers’ bookshelves and a selection of offers and bundles. We hope it will provide plenty of recommendations for reading off the beaten track this autumn.
A Sort of Life | From the Slightly Foxed bookshelves

A Sort of Life | From the Slightly Foxed bookshelves

Graham Greene once said that writing A Sort of Life, this memoir of his early life, ‘was in the nature of a psychoanalysis. I made a long journey through time and I was one of my characters.’ Certainly the younger self that emerges is as complex and intriguing as any of those he created in his novels. There can be no more fascinating or illuminating account of what it takes to become a writer. We’re delighted to report that this classic memoir will be available to readers again. We first published it in our series of Slightly Foxed Editions more than a decade ago, and it proved so popular that it soon sold out. However, we are now reissuing it in a handsome hardback Plain Foxed Edition.
Comrade-in-Suds | From the Slightly Foxed archives

Comrade-in-Suds | From the Slightly Foxed archives

Warm wishes from SF HQ, where we’re clattering through the archive and plunging into the world of the plongeur with Christopher Robbins and George Orwell. Many of you may know the wonderful writing and colourful life of Christopher Robbins from his comic masterpiece, The Empress of Ireland (Slightly Foxed Edition No. 51). However, before he befriended the outrageous Irish film-maker Brian Desmond Hurst, as documented in that delicious memoir, he lived in Copenhagen, took a job as a scullion and found a copy of Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London. The book ‘seemed to be written by a soul mate, a letter from one unpublished writer and dishwasher to another.’ 
‘This book is for The House’ | Gavin Maxwell, The House of Elrig

‘This book is for The House’ | Gavin Maxwell, The House of Elrig

The writer and naturalist Gavin Maxwell is best known for Ring of Bright Water, his moving account of raising otters on the remote west coast of Scotland. In his childhood memoir The House of Elrig he describes, with the same lyrical power that made that earlier book a classic, how it all began. In loving detail he evokes the wild moors around his Scottish home and the creatures that inhabited them. As was then the custom, he was ripped away from this paradise to go to a series of brutalizing schools. But always in his imagination he was at Elrig. It was his refuge and his escape, and the power of his longing and the ecstasy of each return fuel this haunting book.
A Romantic Escape | Summer Reading from Slightly Foxed

A Romantic Escape | Summer Reading from Slightly Foxed

Greetings from Hoxton Square, where you find us scaling the shelves (via library steps) to bring you books of romantic escape this summer. Eric Newby’s spine-tingling story set in Italy’s Apennines is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to our compulsively readable series of classic memoirs. Please read on for a selection of Slightly Foxed Editions, Plain Foxed Editions and pocket paperbacks, all beautifully produced and just the right size to hold in the hand. More important still, they’re wonderful reads – hitherto forgotten memoirs that bring alive a particular moment, that allow you into someone else’s world and make you feel you have actually known the writer. You’ll also find links to tempting bundles and offers to ensure your reading pile is at its peak.
Written on the Hoof | Hermione Ranfurly, To War with Whitaker

Written on the Hoof | Hermione Ranfurly, To War with Whitaker

Greetings from Slightly Foxed, where we’ve been browsing our bookshelves and roaming far and wide – from London to Cairo, Jerusalem, Baghdad and many more places besides – through the pages of To War with Whitaker, the remarkable wartime diaries of Hermione, Countess of Ranfurly. We’re down to our final binders’ parcels of this popular Slightly Foxed Edition, so if you’re tempted to add this book to your collection, now’s the moment.
Not So Bad, Really | From the Slightly Foxed archives

Not So Bad, Really | From the Slightly Foxed archives

‘Barbara Pym’s novels are easily dismissed as interesting but marginal. But, as I came to realize, they are full of wit, balance, sly observation and a cheering sense of the ridiculous.’ Frances Donnelly, Slightly Foxed Issue 11 Greetings from Hoxton Square, where doses of wit and cheer are always welcome, especially when prescribed through the pages of good books. Many of you may have already listened to the latest episode of the Slightly Foxed podcast, all about Barbara Pym and other excellent women writers under or above the radar. If you have yet to tune in, we recommend carving out an hour for some lively bookish conversation and suggestions for your reading list. For another perspective on Pym, we’re sharing Frances Donnelly’s piece from SF Issue 11, in which a reluctant reader discovers social commentary, a keen eye for the ridiculous and enjoyable bad behaviour at the church jumble sale on revisiting Excellent Women. We do hope you’ll enjoy  it.
As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning | Laurie Lee

As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning | Laurie Lee

When Laurie Lee set out on foot from his home in the Gloucestershire village of Slad one midsummer morning in 1935 he was 19 and off to see the world with only his violin for company. So began a year of wandering that eventually took him from the north to the south of Spain, a country in which life had barely changed since the Middle Ages but which was now on the brink of a bitter civil war. The adventure that began as a romantic dream ended somewhat ignominiously, but it inspired Lee to produce this brilliant and darkly haunting account of a vanished Spain.
Celebrating Dervla Murphy | From the Slightly Foxed archives

Celebrating Dervla Murphy | From the Slightly Foxed archives

Greetings from a red-hot Hoxton Square, where we’ve been celebrating and remembering the adventurous spirit and prolific travel writing of Dervla Murphy, the author and explorer who famously journeyed alone from her native Ireland to India on a bicycle, armed with little more than a pistol, a notebook and a compass. Dervla died peacefully, aged 90, at her home in Lismore on 22 May 2022. Her good friend Hilary Bradt, of Bradt Travel Guides, said: ‘Dervla was a traveller who wrote, rather than a writer who travelled.’ Yet what a writer Dervla was. Her first book, Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle, was published in 1965, and more than twenty other titles have followed. Not to mention several articles for Slightly Foxed. It was a pleasure to work with her, and a greater pleasure still to have been informed and entertained by her insights on people and places, bicycling and beer.
Over to Candleford & Candleford Green | From the Slightly Foxed bookshelves

Over to Candleford & Candleford Green | From the Slightly Foxed bookshelves

In Over to Candleford, the sequel to Lark Rise (SFE No. 58), life begins to open out for Flora – or Laura as she calls her lightly fictionalized childhood self – when she goes to visit her father’s relations in the local market town. She makes particular friends with her uncle Tom, a liberal thinker and respected craftsman, who shares with her his love of books and his talent for attracting interesting and often eccentric people. Back at home and now in her teens, Laura is restless and undecided about her future, until news comes of a vacancy for an assistant at the Post Office in a nearby village. Candleford Green is an enchanting picture of Laura’s new life in this colourful community and of Dorcas Lane, her redoubtable – and unforgettable – employer. Over to Candleford and Candleford Green are published together as a single Slightly Foxed Edition and we do hope you enjoy reading them.
‘Each page is an utter delight’ | From the Slightly Foxed bookshelves

‘Each page is an utter delight’ | From the Slightly Foxed bookshelves

Greetings from Slightly Foxed. With Father’s Day on the horizon we thought some of you may appreciate a few gift ideas for the father figures in your lives. All items can be sent off to the recipient, or to you to hand over in person, in good time for Sunday 19 June. And if you’re worried about delivery times, you can also choose to have an instant gift card sent to you to print out at home or sent straight to the recipient by email. We’re offering free gift wrap for all orders of £10 or more when you quote the promotional code GIFTWRAP at the checkout or over the phone. SF HQ is, as ever, well-stocked with handsome gift cards, reams of brown paper and our understated cream ribbon in anticipation.

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