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Slightly Foxed Issue 13: From the Editors

Emerging from the miasma of winter colds and flu that hung over the office – even Pugwash was under the weather – we were immensely cheered by the splendid selection of Christmas cards you sent us, many of them fox-related. We enjoy all your letters and postcards too. Thank you so much. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: our contact with you, our subscribers, is one of the great pleasures of life at Slightly Foxed.

Now at last the days are getting longer, energy is returning, and we’re in spring-cleaning mode, tidying up the database and weeding out the files. So if any mistakes have crept into the addresses we have for you, do please drop us a line and let us know. We do like to get these things right.

This is the thirteenth issue of Slightly Foxed (or perhaps, not to tempt fate, we should call it Issue 12a), and we hope you’ll find it a good one. As you’ll see, it comes with a small gift: an index of the authors, contributors and general subject categories featured in our first twelve issues. For those of you who don’t have a complete set of back issues, we still have a limited number available – just in case you chance upon something of vital interest in the index that you happen to have missed.

This year, as in previous years, we plan to celebrate each issue with a visit by the SF team to an independent bookshop in an area of the country we haven’t visited before. These events have proved immensely enjoyable, giving us a chance to meet subscribers, get their views and answer some questions, and also draw in support for the bookshop itself. (Husbands often come along too: on one notable occasion in North Yorkshire, as night was falling, we discovered we’d mislaid one of them – but that’s another story.) So if you have a bookshop in your area you feel might make a good venue, do please let us know.

And speaking of bookshops, among the Christmas communications we received was an ‘Integration Update’ from the Managing Director of Waterstone’s on its takeover of Ottakar’s. After listing the various changes made as a result of integration, the letter promised to ‘focus on using the combined scale and reach of the business to support your books and deliver a great shopping experience for our customers’.

Deliver a great shopping experience’? What’s happened to the English language? What’s happened to bookselling? The last assistant we spoke to at Waterstone’s hadn’t heard of Louisa May Alcott. If you have a good local bookshop, do try and support it – please.

Finally, it’s time to announce the winner of our Christmas competition. Congratulations to the Reverend Ian Sheppard, who was the first person correctly to identify Mark Handley’s cartoon of John Betjeman (‘Come friendly bombs, and fall on Slough’). We hope he’ll enjoy his year’s free subscription to Slightly Foxed.

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