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.