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.

Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer by C. S. Lewis

I worked for the Bodleian, in Reader Services, for seven or eight years (part-time), and one thing I noticed was that C. S. Lewis was very popular among visiting American … Continue reading

March 20, 2017 · 5 Comments

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass – by Frederick Douglass

He who proclaims it a religious duty to read the Bible denies me the right of learning to read the name of the God who made me. He who is … Continue reading

March 17, 2017 · 1 Comment

John Aubrey. My Own Life, by Ruth Scurr

It’s a strange thing, deferred gratification. Ruth Scurr’s ingenious reconstruction of John Aubrey’s life story has been sitting on my bedside table for most of the past year, until I … Continue reading

December 16, 2016 · Leave a comment

Stoker: The Life of Hilda Matheson, OBE

If you are keen on Bloomsbury and its ramifications, you may already know that Hilda Matheson (1888-1940) was Vita Sackville West’s lover between 1929 and 1931. She wrote to Vita … Continue reading

September 28, 2016 · 2 Comments

The Gilded Chalet by Padraig Rooney

Padraig Rooney’s chatty wander through Swiss history and geography in The Gilded Chalet runs through a lifetime of reading, raking together all the interesting facts he’s collected about Switzerland and literature, … Continue reading

April 25, 2016 · 1 Comment

George Orwell’s Letters, Essays, Journalism

  I told my English teacher brother-in-law that I’d bought the four-volume 1968 edition of George Orwell’s Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters, as edited by Sonia Orwell (volume 3 was … Continue reading

January 13, 2016 · 2 Comments

adventures around the globe: recent nonfiction

Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod This is the book that Eat, Pray, Love wanted to be, filled with adventure, romance and wisdom. The author scrimps and saves at her high … Continue reading

March 23, 2015 · Leave a comment

Newman on Kingsley on Newman: Apologia pro vita sua

First of all, an apology. Today’s post was supposed to be a review of Ian Ker’s Newman on Vatican II. Unfortunately, life intervened, so what I can offer today is much … Continue reading

November 13, 2014 · 2 Comments

Light reading in 100 AD

Guest poster Colin Fisher ponders reading choices and national identity in politically interesting times. Like many Scots I was reminded by the stramash over the referendum recently to consider whether … Continue reading

November 6, 2014 · 1 Comment

Letters of Note compiled by Shaun Usher

Not enough people write letters anymore. It’s quite tragic actually when you think about it. We all correspond far more often but our correspondences are now mostly hurried, disposable and … Continue reading

October 11, 2014 · 5 Comments

Winifred Holtby

This reprint of Winifred Holtby’s Letters to a Friend, her letters to Jean McWilliam from 1920 to 1935, is a joy and a delight to read. Even if one were … Continue reading

June 17, 2014 · 4 Comments

The 15th-century campaigning nun of Flanders

This biography is a most extraordinary story; I don’t think I’ve read about such a forward-thinking and radical woman of the Middle Ages before. The author, Ellen Watkins, a retired … Continue reading

April 1, 2014 · 4 Comments

Fred’s War

I spend a great deal of my working life reading stories and histories from the First World War. It’s hardly a holiday for me to read a novel about the … Continue reading

November 11, 2013 · 1 Comment

The Akeing Heart

This is Evelyn, writing in 1949 to her lover and life partner Elizabeth, on the occasion of Elizabeth’s journey to England from the USA, to visit Valentine, Elizabeth’s lover. Valentine … Continue reading

August 28, 2013 · 6 Comments

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Acknowledgment

  • (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.)