After probably the strangest year that most of us have ever experienced, London is starting to feel more familiar. There are lighted office windows around Hoxton Square, and there’s traffic again in Old Street, now including shoals of bikes, some darting in and out of the cars and vans like minnows, some wobbling dangerously. There are a lot of new and inexperienced bike riders in London these days, and whether you’re walking or driving you have to look out. At Slightly Foxed the office is buzzing, and readers and contributors have been active too, putting pen to paper, or rather finger to key, to give the two of us plenty to read after lockdown. Sadly we had to cancel Readers’ Day this year, but we’ve booked the Art Workers’ Guild for 6 November 2021, and we look forward very much to seeing you there.
Despite everything and thanks to you, we’ve had a busy autumn. Roger Hudson’s An Englishman’s Commonplace Book has struck a note with many of you, perfect as a Christmas present or simply something to cheer yourselves up. A piquant mix of thoughts, contemporary accounts and observations from many different historical sources collected over forty years, it’s amusing, surprising and thought-provoking.
The latest Slightly Foxed Cubs, recently out, are Rosemary Sutcliff’s Frontier Wolf and The Lantern Bearers, the next two in her wonderful series of novels on the Roman occupation of Britain which carry on the story begun in Eagle of the Ninth and The Silver Branch, published last year. In 2021 we’ll be adding the last three books in the sequence: Dawn Wind in March and Sword Song and The Shield Ring in September. Together these novels weave together fact and fiction to take young (and older) readers on an unforgettable journey through the fascinating and mysterious world of Roman Britain and what came after. There is nothing quite like them and they are flying off the shelves. All the titles can be ordered or pre-ordered now, so if you
are keen to collect the whole series, do seize the moment while stocks last.
Our winter Slightly Foxed Edition is a book by another writer with an extraordinary ability to evoke the past, though in this case he’s writing about his own childhood, Laurie Lee’s Cider with Rosie (see p. 15). Lee grew up in the remote Cotswold village of Slad in the years during and after the First World War, in a large, warm, huggermugger family of seven with a mother who was an ever-optimistic dreamer of dreams who ‘couldn’t keep a neat house for her life’. Their father had abandoned them and times were hard, but despite the poverty and the undeniable harshness of rural life, for Laurie the valley was full of a wonder that suffuses this magical book. Definitely one for curling up with when it’s cold outside – literally and metaphorically.
And finally to keep the grey matter active do have a go at our annual literary Christmas crossword, which you’ll find at the end of the catalogue. Entries should be with us by 15 January 2021 and the first correct one drawn out of a hat will receive a free subscription. Meanwhile, a very special thank you for all your support. We both wish you the happiest possible Christmas and an optimistic New Year.