Welcome to the first issue of Slightly Foxed, the magazine for adventurous readers – people who want to explore beyond the familiar territory of the national review pages and magazines, and who are interested in books that last rather than those that are simply fashionable. We plan to bring you, each quarter, a selection of books that have passed the test of time, that have excited, fascinated or influenced our contributors, and to which they return for pleasure, comfort or escape; the kind of books that sell steadily and quietly to those who know about them, but are no longer to be found on the review pages or sometimes even on the bookshop shelves.
Concentration on a small number of high-profile books from large publishers tends to edge out other new books from the review pages. So we shall also be introducing you to interesting new books from small presses, and to good books from larger publishers that we feel haven’t received the attention they deserve. We aim, in other words, to strike a blow for lasting quality, for the small and individual against the corporate and mass-produced – and we are delighted that you have decided to join us.
But first our name, which has caused some people to smile knowingly and others to look, well, slightly foxed. For the latter, perhaps we should explain that, as well as describing the average person’s state of mind while scanning the shelves of the chain bookshops for something to read, it is also an antiquarian bookseller’s term for a volume whose pages time has discoloured with brown spots.
Though the years – and continual rereading – may indeed have left some of the well-loved copies of books featured here looking a little battered, we hope you will find the reviews themselves both fresh and entertaining. We have tried to ensure that all the books featured are available as we go to press, but alas, a few have gone out of print. We’d be happy to help readers track down copies of the latter.
Being a quarterly of individual enthusiasms rather than conventional reviews, Slightly Foxed is by nature serendipitous, and we have decided to reflect this in the way it is laid out – not by categories, but more as a kind of mystery tour during which you may chance upon something that catches your interest – possibly the kind of book you might not have previously considered reading.
We ourselves have been fascinated by the sheer range of books chosen by the contributors to this first issue, and more surprises are already in store for the second. We hope you will join in with your thoughts and suggestions via the letters page which we plan to introduce in future issues.
Meanwhile, thank you for coming on board – a leap of faith with a new venture such as this. We hope you will enjoy reading Slightly Foxed as much as we have enjoyed putting it together, and we look forward to hearing from you.