Many of you will already be very familiar with the Reader’s Quarterly from niche publisher Slightly Foxed, but for those who aren’t (yet) on their email list, I would like to point you in the direction of the January 2015 newsletter. For much more, please click over to this link: Light Reading
Here’s a teaser:
We don’t know about you but even we perennially cheerful SFers are in need of a little extra help in January, so this month’s newsletter bears one of our favourite spring artworks: the British illustrator Simon Dorrell’s ‘Foxgloves’ from Issue 14. The little fox peering out through the digitalis reminds us that spring will soon come again and with it the longer days and warmer nights, as well as the new spring issue of the quarterly and our first books of the year.
Meantime we thought we’d start the year with an article from our increasingly rich archive of back issues. In the following extract from SF 17, the novelist, essayist and historian Ronald Blythe who, like us, ‘delights in the physical nature of books, their paper, their odour . . . ’ describes the pleasure he gained from inheriting a friend’s library of pocket editions.When my old friend the artist John Nash died I inherited his books. I imagined him reading them by lamplight, just as I read when I was a boy, the twin wicks faintly waving inside the Swan glass chimney. There they all were, those handsome runs of pocket-size volumes which preceded the 1930s Penguins and the subsequent paperbacks. Some were small-pack books and had gone to the Western Front. Some were hiking books and had gone up mountains. Some were still a bit painty, having gone on landscape expeditions. All showed signs of having had a life far from that in the studio bookcase. All spoke of belonging to a man who, when young, had been a convert to the Open Road.The creed of the Open Road had been written by George Borrow:There’s night and day, brother, both sweet things; sun, moon, and stars, brother, all sweet things; there’s likewise a wind on the heath. Life is very sweet, brother; who would wish to die? (Lavengro, Chapter 25)As Passchendaele approached, John Nash returned his beloved Everyman edition of Borrow to his sweetheart, along with the letters she had sent him, believing that he would not see her or them again.
So here they were, the very same volumes he’d carried with him. I read in their curly endpapers the great promise which good books make. ‘Everyman, I will go with thee, and be thy guide, in thy most need to go by thy side…’