Over the last month I’ve been looking out for books which would make good Christmas gifts for readers. I’m covering one more item today and also listing the other four below this article. Today’s choice is a subscription to Slightly Foxed, a quarterly journal which calls itself “The Read Reader’s Quarterly”.
I have periods of subscribing to Slightly Foxed and at other times I catch up with back-numbers on ebay. Either way its a journal which reminds me what reading is all about. It’s not about the rush to read the latest new release or to spot something you must have in a in book-shop, so much as a slow meander through shelves old and new, remembering gems from the past and passing on your enthusiasm to others.
Each edition contains a number of articles by book enthusiasts in which they write about a book or an author who has inspired them. The articles are illustrated with drawings and wood-cuts and are printed on a beautiful creamy paper. The journal is meant to be kept – this is not a magazine which you will want to pass on to someone else because with the addition of the annual index it builds up into a wonderful resource on writers old and new.
The range of books covered is as wide as the avid reader would want. One article could cover Terry Pratchett or Lee Child, the next could go back to the delights of Laurence Sterne or John Cowper Powys. Whatever period the books come from, you can guarantee that the writer of the article will make you want to dip into the chosen volume and my experience is that of finding many beautiful books which I would otherwise never have encountered.
Of course, this would be no use if the books mentioned in Slightly Foxed were unavailable, and indeed, many of them will be out of print – but I usually find that they can be found so easily and often cheaply online on ebay or abebooks etc. I now have quite a few books on my shelves which I discovered by reading about them in Slightly Foxed and I am grateful to the publishers that my reading has been enriched in this way. One article by Jonny le Falbe on Gregor Rezzori led me to aquire all this mid-20th century writer’s books and I have written a set of articles about his work on A Common Reader. Another unlikely find was Elizabeth Von Armin, a Countess and also a friend of H G Wells who I have yet to write about but will do so next year – most of whose books can be downloaded for free in ebook format on Project Gutenburg.
The other items on my Christmas recommendations list can be seen below: Continue reading