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.

Faith in the Public Square, by Rowan Williams

Review by Kirsty Jane McCluskey and Michael Carley Religion as understood by those who find it unacceptable… is something seen essentially in terms of an appeal to the will: decide … Continue reading

April 12, 2013 · 7 Comments

From the Archives: Reverse of Disassembly

After the success of last week’s Sons of Thunder review, here’s another Michael Carley classic: his review of the Haynes CB400/4 Owner’s Workshop Manual, which frankly marked a bit of … Continue reading

November 28, 2012 · 4 Comments

… the jolliest things on wheels

On Radio 4 recently, I heard talk of an ancient monastic practice, whereby Irish monks would set themselves adrift in a boat with no sail or rudder, that God might … Continue reading

November 20, 2012 · 11 Comments

Vodka in the jar

Michael Collins, the “outstanding organiser who brought Lenin himself to Ireland to see how the National Loan worked.” Vladimir Lenin, the Russian revolutionary, spoke with a Dublin accent. Do you … Continue reading

October 12, 2012 · 4 Comments

Eppur si scrive

Censorship of science, like most censorship, is concerned with sex, war, and keeping people in their place. Unfortunately for the censor, we can test claims about reality, so you can’t … Continue reading

October 6, 2012 · 2 Comments

Broadsides on both sides

If you only read one book this year, Robert Hughes is probably not for you. Hughes, who died recently is best known for his work as an art critic, but … Continue reading

August 22, 2012 · 6 Comments

Funky cold Messina …

Among the many translations of Much Ado About Nothing, that into Italian seems the most appropriate. In Italy, love, intrigue and treachery seem fit matters for comedy: Silvio Berlusconi is … Continue reading

November 15, 2011 · 5 Comments

Thinking with the blood transfusion: Hitch-22 by Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens has, at various times, laid into `Mother Teresa'(making him “the only living person to have represented the Devil pro bono”); Henry Kissinger (whose possible prosecution for his complicity … Continue reading

July 31, 2010 · 4 Comments

The Lost Revolution by Brian Hanley and Scott Millar

Let’s Stick Together. Talking recently to an employee of the Irish Labour Party, I was informed that the Stickies who had entered the party during the reverse takeover by Democratic … Continue reading

June 22, 2010 · 4 Comments

I am living as I please … Shop Class as Soulcraft by Matthew Crawford

Matthew Crawford, a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia, owns and operates Shockoe Moto, a motorcycle repair shop in Richmond, Virginia. Stand … Continue reading

June 7, 2010 · 14 Comments

Flash, aaaaaaah, …

Imagine, if you will, a muscular, multilingual Lesley Phillips, routing fuzzy wuzzy, Hun and Russian for Queen and Empire, a broad-shouldered chap with a full-sized chest to carry the honours … Continue reading

July 28, 2009 · 4 Comments

Poetry Week: Nothing to gain but my chains …

Austin Clarke, with Louis MacNeice, was one of the two great figures of twentieth century Irish poetry immediately after Yeats. His life touched, tangentially at times, the development of Ireland … Continue reading

May 22, 2009 · 4 Comments

Gut him in the friendly in a fortnight

Bill Doonan from Cavan was a radio operator in the Irish Army who found the Emergency a bit dull so he deserted and joined the British one. One Sunday afternoon … Continue reading

April 3, 2009 · 6 Comments

Reverse of disassembly

Haynes CB400/4 Owners’ Workshop Manual The art of motorcycle maintenance is inevitably connected with Zen in the mind of the unregenerate but only those who have meditated on a stuck … Continue reading

March 26, 2009 · 6 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.)