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.

A hundred years on: Trotsky on 1917

One hundred years ago today, by the old Gregorian calendar that was then still in force, the October Revolution took place. The event is simply too big and complex to … Continue reading

October 25, 2017 · 1 Comment

Don’t Panic, I’m Islamic. Words and Pictures on How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Alien Next Door

I’d heard good things about this anthology before Vulpes Libris was offered a copy, so I grabbed it. It’s a miscellany from Saqi Books, consisting of dialogues, short stories, art … Continue reading

September 27, 2017 · 2 Comments

Two Journeys, Memoirs by Gabourey Sidibe and Rosamund Burton

Recently I read two books that were quite different; one was a memoir, the other a travel book and I was struck at how they each were accounts of a … Continue reading

August 23, 2017 · Leave a comment

Books, Baguettes & Bedbugs. The Left Bank World of Shakespeare & Co., by Jeremy Mercer

For any visitor to Paris of a bookish inclination, a visit to Shakespeare And Company to purchase at least one book is an absolute must. My proud possession is my … Continue reading

May 26, 2017 · 3 Comments

Guilty Pleasures

Like many people, I often go through my public library’s catalog and place books on hold. Naturally, they all become available at once and then it’s a challenge to read … Continue reading

January 16, 2017 · 2 Comments

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

You Gotta Get Bigger Dreams – Alan Cumming

Last year I listened to the unabridged audio version of Alan Cumming’s memoir Not My Father’s Son. It was an incredibly moving book about the abuse he suffered at the hands … Continue reading

November 23, 2016 · 2 Comments

Frank Fraser Darling’s Island Years, Island Farm

I bought this book at The Ceilidh Place bookshop in Ullapool last week. I’d just taken a blowy boat trip to the Summer Isles, and wanted to read Frank Fraser … Continue reading

September 6, 2016 · Leave a comment

John Barleycorn by Jack London

Guest reviewer: Diana Birchall. I’ve been trying to write a memoir about my father, but have come to realize how little I know about alcoholism in the early 20th century. … Continue reading

July 27, 2016 · 5 Comments

Hope Jahren’s Lab Girl

Hope Jahren is a scientist, now based in Hawai’i, but she’s worked in and built laboratories all over the USA. She’s a plant scientist, a palaeobotanist and geobiologist, searching for … Continue reading

July 6, 2016 · 1 Comment

The Origins of the Universe and What it All Means by Carole Firstman

We humans are good at figuring things out. We’ve figured out why apples fall down instead of up. We’ve figured out that objects are made up of tiny particles, bound … Continue reading

June 17, 2016 · 4 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

Enemies of Promise, by Cyril Connolly

I’m treating the 1938 Club week as a Shelf of Shame opportunity to read a book that has long intrigued me: Cyril Connolly’s Enemies of Promise. I wanted to find out … Continue reading

April 15, 2016 · 4 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

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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.)