I’d like to recommend a fantastic literary quarterly to you. It’s called Slightly Foxed.
I found it by way of Quarterly.co – I subscribed to Gretchen Rubin as soon as I saw that she was a curator. (Last year I read and loved Gretchen’s book on positive psychology and the importance of the things you do daily, The Happiness Project.) With Quarterly, you pick out a curator and subscribe to receive one curated package from them every quarter. It’s kind of like getting a surprise present in the mail 4 times a year.
The first Quarterly shipment I got from Gretchen Rubin was all about books. (It’s unfortunate that I don’t like books.) Opening the issue (#37) of Slightly Foxed that came in the Quarterly box and browsing through it triggered one of those moments when you have to ask yourself, “How it is possible that I did not know this existed until now?”
Slightly Foxed features short pieces by authors and contributors who each write about a book or author they enjoy. It’s kind of like Nick Hornby’s column in the Believer – it will likely give you a lot of ideas of things you’d like to read someday, but it’s also enjoyable to just read someone’s description and stories about a book they love. As they say on their site, it’s more like an amusing friend than a literary quarterly. It’s definitely companionable.
I think you’ll enjoy Slightly Foxed if you like one or all of the following:
1. Nick Hornby’s “Stuff I’ve Been Reading” column.
One great part of discovering Slightly Foxed Quarterly was learning that they have a bookshop in London that I could visit on my trip. On Wednesday of my week in London I took the Piccadilly line to Gloucester Road and visited the shop. It was lovely. I browsed for a while, bought a few books and paper goods, and looked at their shelf of back issues. It was tempting to buy all the back issues, but in the interest of suitcase space and having a collection to work towards building (vs filling in one swoop) I just selected one back issue – number 10. I read issue 10 over the next few days, and that sent me on a quest for the volumes of W. Somerset Maugham’s short stories that one of the contributors convinced me I needed to read immediately. Later in the trip I found a vintage boxed set of the Penguin editions at a secondhand bookshop in Bath.
Discovering Slightly Foxed has already sent me on many serendipitous adventures, and added many books to my piles of things to read. I hope you’ll love it too.