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.

“Daffodils” by William Wordsworth

One of the reasons I like this poem, which you can read here , is because it’s lighthearted. So much poetry is dark and deep, so it’s a lovely surprise … Continue reading

April 3, 2017 · 2 Comments

Beyond the German Garden

At last the world has a decent scholarly study of (some of) the novels of Elizabeth von Arnim. She has legions of fans, but no biography remains in print, and … Continue reading

July 10, 2013 · 7 Comments

How could I have ignored this Charlotte Bronte novel for so long?

For years, I’ve vaguely been aware that Charlotte Bronte’s Shirley (1849) is the one novel of hers that I never read properly. Jane Eyre and Villette jostle for the position … Continue reading

July 2, 2012 · 15 Comments

The Man Who Made Lists by Joshua Kendall

We’ve all got one, sitting on our desks or on a shelf. Mine is a battered paperback, with a lurid red cover, propped next to cans of guinea pig treats … Continue reading

March 7, 2011 · 4 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

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

Part of LGBT Week on VL I’d heard of this modern classic from various sources and even knew of the mini-series which aired in the U.K., but had never read … Continue reading

May 17, 2010 · 8 Comments

The Wit in the Dungeon by Anthony Holden

Leigh Hunt is almost forgotten now, even among readers, but in his heyday he was part of a circle that included the literary and artistic giants of the time. He … Continue reading

February 1, 2010 · 3 Comments

The Firemaster’s Mistress by Christie Dickason

Celebrating Guy Fawkes Night In America, Nov. 5th is just another day. That’s why I was partway through this book before realizing it was about the events leading up to … Continue reading

November 5, 2009 · 7 Comments

Bears of England by Mick Jackson

Review by Sam Ruddock. “In the days before electric light and oil lamps the night imposed its own abysmal tyranny, and daylight’s surrender was measured out in strict division. Sunset … Continue reading

October 7, 2009 · 5 Comments

Maps for Lost Lovers by Nadeem Aslam

Reading this book is like reading poetry. It is written in prose, yes, but prose worthy of Nabokov. There is a mystery at the center of the story, but this … Continue reading

September 14, 2009 · 5 Comments

Strawberry Fields by Marina Lewycka

Despite the bucolic title, this is a novel about a parallel universe. But not in the sci fi sense, rather one that exists in our modern society that most of … Continue reading

May 4, 2009 · 7 Comments

The Wind Off the Sea by Charlotte Bingham

It’s 1947 and though the war is over, the UK is still dealing with a lot of wartime issues, rationing and shortages, returning servicemen, women forced to return to being … Continue reading

April 13, 2009 · 2 Comments

No blacks, some dogs, lots of Irish: Paddy on the railroad

Review of An Irish Navvy, Donall MacAhmlaigh, translated by Valentin Iremonger In the preface to The Making of the English Working Class, E. P. Thompson apologizes to the Scots and … Continue reading

March 5, 2009 · 6 Comments

Architect and Engineer: A Study in Sibling Rivalry, by Andrew Saint

Article by Michael Carley Without engineers nothing would stand up; without architects, we would not want it to. The world we live in is the world engineers have made;  the … Continue reading

January 8, 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.)