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.

What Are The Sicilian Vespers? A Vulpes Libris Random

Or do I mean What Is The Sicilian Vespers? If not, I might mean What Were The Sicilian Vespers, or What Was Etc. Etc. For the purposes of this piece, … Continue reading

October 27, 2017 · Leave a comment

American music writing

Guest reviewer Brad Bigelow from The Neglected Books Page gives us a joyous blast of musical literary Americana. When Kate asked me to step in and provide a piece this week, … Continue reading

July 8, 2016 · 1 Comment

Vulpes Revisited: A Rebel Among Outlaws – Kris Kristofferson

June 13, 2016 · 3 Comments

Ida Cook’s Safe Passage

Before I can tell you how excellent Ida Cook’s memoir Safe Passage is, I have to rage at its publicity. It’s been trumpeted as ‘the incredible true story of two … Continue reading

March 14, 2016 · 5 Comments

Clothes Clothes Clothes Music Music Music Boys Boys Boys, by Viv Albertine

Punk rock passed me by. I was young and stupid and snooty, and I thought it was poor stuff, produced by nasty boys. I had much better things to listen … Continue reading

January 21, 2016 · 2 Comments

Books We Found Under the Tree

In any situation, where presents are given or received, the Book Foxes usually see it as an opportunity to involve books and this past holiday season was no exception. The … Continue reading

January 4, 2016 · 2 Comments

The History Chicks podcasts and website

Sometime last year I was browsing a list of historical websites when one called “The History Chicks” leapt out. Appreciating its 1960s name, I clicked on the link, and wasn’t … Continue reading

September 7, 2015 · 1 Comment

Schubert’s Winter Journey. Anatomy of an Obsession, by Ian Bostridge

Ian Bostridge has sung Schubert’s monumental song-cycle Winterreise in public performance at least 100 times in the past 30 years. This exquisite book is the result of all his study … Continue reading

March 13, 2015 · 2 Comments

Mason Currey: Daily Rituals: How Artists Work

My copy of this book happens to be the American edition, but the UK edition actually has the more accurate title: Daily Rituals. How Great Minds Make Time, Find Inspiration, … Continue reading

January 22, 2015 · 3 Comments

The Polar North

This book about living with the Greenland Inuit mixes travel with linguistics and anthropology, but is mostly about how people live in the frozen north. Much like Laurens Van Der … Continue reading

December 17, 2014 · 2 Comments

A Soprano on Her Head by Eloise Ristad

Revisiting a VL Classic Right-side-up reflections on life and other performances Seems a bit silly to review a book about musicians’ mental blocks and performance anxiety on a book blog; … Continue reading

July 18, 2014 · 1 Comment


Simon Winder’s massive tome Germania is a travel book, a history book, a collection of anecdotes that bludgeon the reader into helpless laughter, and an inspiration for ambitious plans to read more German … Continue reading

May 2, 2014 · 4 Comments

Turn Around Bright Eyes by Rob Sheffield

When I took out this book from the library, I assumed it would be light and funny, probably because the blurb indicated it was about the author’s experiences with karaoke, … Continue reading

February 24, 2014 · Leave a comment

Stradivarius: Five Violins, One Cello and a Genius, by Toby Faber

Three reasons why I went in search of this book: first, I have always been fascinated by the great Cremonese stringed instruments, their rarity, qualities and the unique relationship that … Continue reading

February 12, 2014 · 2 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.)