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.

The magnificence of Maurice Druon

We have a new BookFox, Colin Fisher, whose reviews have graced our pages for several years. In his first review as a full member of the Vulpes Libris den, he … Continue reading

November 14, 2016 · 2 Comments

Coming up on Vulpes Libris …

History is more comfortably viewed from a distance. Living through it as it’s actually happening is always disquieting and often alarming because no-one likes to see the familiar and safe being shifted out of … Continue reading

November 13, 2016 · 1 Comment

Strange Gardens / Effroyables Jardins by Michel Quint

I’ll be honest – when I was going through my tbr shelves to decide what I’d read for this theme week, it was entirely length that dictated my decision. Michel … Continue reading

July 15, 2016 · 3 Comments

La Machine Infernale (The Infernal Machine) by Jean Cocteau

‘Watch now, spectator. Before you is a fully wound machine. Slowly its spring will unwind the entire span of a human life. It is one of the most perfect machines … Continue reading

July 11, 2016 · Leave a comment

Vincent by Barbara Stok

As a long time Vincent van Gogh fan, imagine how thrilled I was to find this graphic novel about the last few years of his life, the most creative time … Continue reading

June 20, 2016 · Leave a comment

Picasso and the Chess Player by Larry Witham

My first impression of this book was of a rivalry between Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp, but that really wasn’t the case. Though they had met, their goals and philosophy … Continue reading

July 27, 2014 · 2 Comments

Snappy as she does it

One of the things I like most about Nancy Mitford’s writing is her cheerful willingness to set down in print her transitory moments of vitriol. Things that you or I … Continue reading

July 19, 2013 · 3 Comments

Paris and Provence

Recently, I read a couple of books that I thought might be fun to contrast. They both are memoirs and take place in France, though it could be anywhere. What … Continue reading

June 24, 2013 · 1 Comment

Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong, by Jean-Benoît Nadeau and Julie Barlow

I’ve recently joined the growing ranks of British addicts of European subtitled TV. I’m still in recovery after Spiral series 4 (the French Canal+ thriller Engrenages) on BBC4, the end … Continue reading

April 11, 2013 · 8 Comments

Me talk Pretty One day by David Sedaris

David Sedaris has had many jobs, but their primary reason seems to be to provide fodder for his ultimate job, that of raconteur. A few years ago, I recommended his … Continue reading

February 19, 2013 · 4 Comments

Walking through walls in Montmartre

Marcel Aymé’s calmly fantastical short stories reviewed, with an interview with the translator on the craft of translating. Classic French literature can be intimidating. I’ve enjoyed a bit of Zola, … Continue reading

September 6, 2012 · 7 Comments

Leaving Van Gogh by Carol Wallace

Having been obsessed with Vincent van Gogh since my early teens, I’ve read most of the books about him over the years. So I was pleased to see this new … Continue reading

October 17, 2011 · 6 Comments

The Tapestry of Love, by Rosy Thornton

Rosy Thornton’s new novel, The Tapestry of Love, starts with an arresting scene: its heroine, Catherine, is marooned in her car in the midst of a sea of sheep. They … Continue reading

July 28, 2010 · 9 Comments

Histoires inédites du Petit Nicolas, vol 1, by Goscinny and Sempé

Reviewer’s note: While translations of the other Nicolas books exist, I am unaware of any English translation for this collection.  All translations in this article are my own.  I would … Continue reading

May 15, 2009 · 7 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.)