By in Books

Review: _Slightly Foxed -- but still desirable:_ A collection of terms and drawings of the arcane world of book collectors.

Every few months, a very heavy box arrives at my doorstep by way of the Royal Mail, and much to the despair of my partner, J, I dive into another shipment from the Folio Society. The Folio Society publishes high end quality, and sometimes very rare books, that are noted for their beauty and craftsmanship. For some years now I have been collecting them, and every time I get a new catalog from them, lust overtakes my common sense and I get one or two.

Included in this box was a republished edition of Ronald Searle's _Slightly Foxed -- But still desirable._ Mr. Searle was one of my favourite cartoonists, having a special way of framing the human condition, often with plenty of smirks and laughter along the way, so I knew that I was going to enjoy this one before I opened it up. And the topic was a subject near and dear to my heart -- book collecting. It's a thin edition, mostly of colour cartoons and a brief title for each one on the opposite page.

But oh, the drawings, and the slightly risque, and at times comic, contents. For anyone who has gone through the catalogs put out by antiquarian booksellers, this book is a delight, and helps to unravel the obstuse, rather obscure, terms that they use to describe the various used tomes that they offer. Terms are used to describe bindings, the condition of the books, what problems that book my contain and so on. Such as the term 'foxed,' which doesn't mean drunken, or alluring, but those rust coloured spots that sometimes appear throughout a used book.

By the third or fourth drawing, I was giggling helplessly, and enjoying myself wonderfully. Searle's drawings have a bite to them, with plenty of sly wit attached, and it's quite evident as well. If your taste runs to the sardonic there is a good chance that you will like this book. I had a lovely time with it, and it is one that I urge onto anyone who has a deep and abiding love of books.

Oh, yes, and a glossary is included, so that all of the various expressions are given in their glory. Reader, absorb this one, and with luck you too won't be captured by those alluring come-ons that the booksellers use to snatch the money out of our accounts.

Five stars, and very much recommended.

Slightly Foxed -- But still desirable
Ronald Searle
1989, 2015; The Folio Society

Rebecca Huston asserts her rights as the sole owner of this review.

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msiduri wrote on November 26, 2015, 7:16 PM

Telynor , This sounds like a lot of fun. Hope turkey day was a good one for you!

cmoneyspinner wrote on November 27, 2015, 8:58 PM

Excellent review. I'm very curious about the drawings now.