Vulpes Libris

A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.

Getting to know my father

While visiting my mother during the summer, I picked up a book that had belonged to my father, Poems of Our Time. An Everyman edition published in 1945, it was … Continue reading

November 2, 2017 · 4 Comments

What can exams tell us that is more than a pass or a fail?

The Scottish National Library has begun the process of scanning Scottish exams papers from the 1880s and are now in the first years of the 1960s. This period covers the … Continue reading

October 19, 2017 · 1 Comment

Learning to read

There is not a time when I remember being unable to read. Nor do I remember learning to read. My only childhood memory of this process is watching my father … Continue reading

October 1, 2017 · 5 Comments

Coming up this week

Is there, we ask, just the first hints of autumn appearing here in Spain? There is a freshness in the air that seems to suggest that we can finally say … Continue reading

September 30, 2017 · 1 Comment

Sword of Bone by Anthony Rhodes Bretherton Khaki or Field Grey? by W.F. Morris

I was going to write two reviews for these books and then decided to write one instead. Both books, I felt, shared a common theme which, despite their settings – … Continue reading

September 19, 2017 · 2 Comments

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

Somewhere in the East Coast of America, in a small town familiar to non-Americans from films such as Hitchcock’s The Trouble with Harry, the survivors of a highly dysfunctional family … Continue reading

August 21, 2017 · Leave a comment

Reading a country

When I moved to Spain in 2003 I already knew that this was where I wanted to live. I did not want to stay for a couple of years and … Continue reading

July 6, 2017 · 11 Comments

The Aspirin Age, edited by Isabel Leighton

The Aspirin Age was published in the U.S.A. in 1949, four years after the Second World War ended. In twenty-two specially commissioned essays it looked backwards over the decades that … Continue reading

July 2, 2017 · Leave a comment

Coming up on Vulpes Libris:

Temperatures in Spain are climbing again from the unseasonably fresh weather of the last week. Today the mercury will brush thirty degrees centigrade, up from the welcome twenty-three of the … Continue reading

July 2, 2017 · Leave a comment

The Family from One End Street by Eve Garnett

The Family from One End Street was published in 1937. A quick look at some of the key events of that year reminds us that this lonely and unloved decade … Continue reading

June 6, 2017 · 8 Comments

Persian Poems selected and edited by Peter Washington

There is no other way of putting it. I was expecting mysticism and intricate illusions to hidden truths in the Everyman anthology of Persian Poems. Instead I found myself in … Continue reading

May 16, 2017 · 2 Comments

Voices of Scottish Librarians by Ian MacDougall

From 1883 to 1907, the industrialist and philanthropist  Andrew Carnegie provided funds to build public libraries in fifty seven Scottish local authorities. Donating sums that ranged from £50,000 to £1,000 … Continue reading

April 23, 2017 · 1 Comment

The Weatherhouse by Nan Shepherd and The Hills is Lonely by Lillian Beckwith

I picked up Nan Shepherd’s The Weatherhouse as I walked through Waterstones in Glasgow, attracted by its striking cover and intrigued by the opening sentence of its blurb – “The … Continue reading

February 12, 2017 · 4 Comments

Arnold Bennett’s A Man from the North

Arnold Bennett wrote A Man from the North, his first novel, in 1896, finishing it shortly before his 29th birthday. Bennett, like its central character Richard Larch, had travelled south … Continue reading

January 8, 2017 · 3 Comments



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  • (The header image is from Aesop's Fables, illustrated by Francis Barlow (1666), and appears courtesy of the Digital and Multimedia Center at the Michigan State University Libraries.)