[Saturday Reads] Slightly Foxed

"Good-humoured, unpretentious and a bit eccentric, it’s more like a well-read friend than a literary review."

Kenneth here.

Every Saturday we hope to share with you our thoughts on reading and books. We thought that it would be good practice to reflect on our reading lives and our thoughts about reading in general. While on occasion, we would feature a few books in keeping with this, there would be a few posts where we will just write about our thoughts on read-alouds, libraries, reading journals, upcoming literary conferences, books that we are excited about, and just book love miscellany in general.

Every so often, I start reading a book review online, click on a link here, follow another link there, and the next thing I know, three hours have passed, and I emerge from the rabbit-hole, blinking away the glare of the computer screen.

It was on one such occasion that I discovered the quarterly print magazine Slightly Foxed, through their website. This magazine contains “96 pages of lively personal recommendations for books of lasting interest”. I think their own description says it all.

“The independent-minded literary magazine that combines good looks, good writing and a personal approach. Slightly Foxed introduces its readers to books that are no longer new and fashionable but have lasting appeal. Good-humoured, unpretentious and a bit eccentric, it’s more like a well-read friend than a literary review.”

I wasn’t able to find a copy in Singapore, but managed to track some down during a visit to the Edinburgh Fringe and the Edinburgh International Book Festival. These were back issues still kept in stock by a bookshop in the basement of a church just off Princes Street, although the bookseller regretfully told me that there were no current copies, as they were no longer an official stockist.

Here’s a sample article from the current Winter 2019 issue, A Master of Invention written by Henry Jeffreys, about Roald Dahl’s Going Solo.

Slightly Foxed is also a publisher that specialises in reviving some of the out-of-print titles and memoirs that are featured in the magazine.

Truly though, the real gem of my rabbit-hole discovery was the Slightly Foxed podcast, which they literally record around the kitchen table in the publishing house office, with the publishing staff carrying on around them with their work of producing the magazine, or answering the door, or even “with luck, putting the kettle on”.

I cannot tell you the joy it gives me to listen to these voices discussing obscure books, and interviewing people involved in different aspects of the book trade. The recent Episode 12 featured a discussion about antiquarian bookselling, and a reading of an essay about a bookseller from the Cotswolds.

The podcast host’s hushed tones of excitement bring to mind the Saturday Night Live comedy sketch Delicious Dish, a parody of National Public Radio (NPR) presenters.

Slightly Foxed was recently listed as a Sunday Times Top 100 Podcast. What book podcasts do you listen to?

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