Focus on the indies – Slightly Foxed


I like it when publishers have a recognizable style, when you know that if you’ve tried and liked some of their books, you will probably like most of them. Slightly Foxed is one of those publishers. They publish carefully selected memoirs in beautiful editions and, out of the four I have read so far, three have been great. They also have a good literary magazine which I subscribe to.

One of their books, 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff is a classic for those of us who love reading books about books. It contains the unexpectedly funny and moving correspondence between an American writer and an antiquarian book seller in London between 1949 and 1969. Also included in this edition is “The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street” which acts like a sequel. It has been printed multiple times so it should be possible to find cheaper copies but I like my bright read edition.

I was a stranger by John Hackett is probably the quietest WW2 book I’ve read. It starts reasonably dramatically with Hackett getting seriously wounded at Arnhem in 1944, but from thereon most of the book describes his quiet time in hiding, waiting to recover sufficiently to attempt a return to Allied-controlled areas. What really struck me in this memoir was his admiration and gratitude for the civilians who risked their lives hiding him. It is a great portrait of civilian life in the occupied Netherlands, of the Dutch resistance, and of quiet civilian courage during occupation.

Country boy by Richard Hillyer is another great read. It is a description of a rural English village before the first world war, a memoir of the author’s childhood in a poor farm labourer’s family and a moving portrayal of his thirst for reading and learning.

So far the only Slightly Foxed edition I have been disappointed in was The Real Mrs Miniver by Ysenda Maxtone Graham which I found a bit boring. It was well-written but as I had no relation to the fictional Mrs Miniver I could not muster enough interest in the true person behind.

Based on the four books I have read from them so far I would say that that Slightly Foxed is a reliable quality publisher. All the memoirs have been very well-written and they are beautifully produced. The texts themselves feel more conservative than daring but are generally interesting. They also feel very British.

About this series: One of the things I really appreciated when I started reading book blogs was the introduction to interesting small publishers I never would have discovered otherwise. I find it only fair that I should return the favour and present some of my own favourites. I plan to post these post ones in awhile whenever I have a publisher I want to recommend. These are not sponsored posts and include no affiliate links. Previously featured: Peirene Press.


10 thoughts on “Focus on the indies – Slightly Foxed

  1. I love Slightly Foxed too and am just about to read 84 Charing Cross Road! One I have really enjoyed is ‘Corduroy’ by Adrian Bell, about farming in the 1920’s. It’s the first part of a trilogy, luckily I have the next 2 parts waiting!! A good idea to publicise small publishers too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did! I found the sequel less interesting, but worth it for the closure, but the first book with the letter collection is great.

      I’ll keep Adrian Bell in mind for a future order.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t think book bloggers discuss publishers as often as they should. There are so many small-press publishers out there worth exploring. In a world where literature is so accessible, we should make an effort to find and support small presses whenever possible.

    The only book I’ve heard of from this list is 84 Charing Cross Road. Many of my blogger friends have raved about how wonderful it is! I must pick it up someday.

    Do you recall how you hear about Slightly Foxed?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I believe it was in a discussion on LibraryThing but it could have been someone’s blog post too. I know I was looking for interesting small presses, especially ones who cared about quality. I’m not much bothered by quality when I buy used or new books cheaply, but when I buy a full-price hardcover I want them to last. So SF’s combination of quality texts in quality editions was a perfect match for me.

      84 Charing Cross Road is very much like overhearing intelligent and witty conversations about books, what’s not to like? I believe it has been published in multiple editions so you should stumble on a copy eventually if you keep your eyes open.


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