Books For the Taking


2022 will probably be the year when I change my domestic arrangements, selling my house in Hull, moving into a small flat there, and living most of the time in Sweden, away from what England has become. That is, as soon as Kajsa has fixed up a ‘Room of My Own’ in her house, as a study for me to work in and keep some of my books. Not all, because I have far too many of them, which I’m unlikely to need again, and which I’d therefore like to find a good home for.

Any ideas? A bulk exodus would be best. I’ll give my children and local friends first option. After that I’ll try Hull University Library, if they still have books as well as computer terminals. Otherwise it will be charity shops. The problem with them, however, is that mine are mostly History books, which aren’t usually the charity shops’ kinds of thing. And I can’t be bothered with E-bay, if it would require me to itemise the books.

I also have hundreds (literally) of CDs to get rid of; mostly classical, but also some jazz, plus Brenda Lee. And novels, poetry, some lovely art books, archaeology…

And tons of working notes from my old researches. I had hoped to go back to these, looking for loose ends – of which there are plenty – to turn into articles; but I feel I’ve run out of time and also enthusiasm for that now. Kajsa suggests establishing a ‘Porter Archive’ somewhere; but I can’t imagine anyone wanting that. In which case it will be an awful lot of hard work and brilliant ideas wasted; but – hey – I have got a dozen books out of it all. Those are what I’ll show to Peter at the Pearly Gates, to persuade him to let me through. (Not that I’m anticipating a visit soon.)

Any other ideas? Second-hand bookshops that collect books in bulk and then find good homes for them? I shan’t want any money for them, only for the recipient to take them away, and put them to good use. That’s after I’ve sorted out the few that I’ll want to keep. I’ll probably be back in Hull – putting the house on the market – in the spring. Visits to look through the books then will be welcome. (Obviously from UK-based people.)

There must be many other academic oldies in this situation. What are they doing?

About bernardporter2013

Retired academic, author, historian.
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7 Responses to Books For the Taking

  1. Michael Cazaly says:

    I would be more than happy to take a couple of crates of History books off your hands, when you re-arrange your living quarters. My wife possibly not so much, but I, and she, will cope.
    Surely the Porter Archive is a feasible idea? Academic research is always intellectually valuable.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. John Evans says:

    There must be an Oxfam/Books shop in Hull or York. Our local one in Chichester is always more than willing to take signficant loads….I have been thinning out shelves for about a year now, and they have never refused. They tell me they are one of the most lucrative branches of Oxfam’s various shop types….CD and Vinyls are more difficult; we are lucky to have a vinyl collector locally in Sussex who took about 100 LPs of ours last summer.
    I have not found university libraries very keen….even when the items have been especially “curious”…indeed, they have web catalogue terminals!
    Hang on to the cassette’s though, as they are just coming back into fashion!
    The challenge with books is that, like the pumps on the titanic, the spaces fill up with new ones….I have just finished Jonathon Sumption’s “100 years war” volume 4…one more to go, not yet published, so am reserving a space.
    Boxes of notes….yes, um….should one throw or preserve.
    “We read, so that we know we are not alone”……said CS Lewis…….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Phil says:

    This piece by Ian Patterson may ring some bells. No practical suggestions, I’m afraid, other than perhaps finding some way to target younger academics – although I’m not (quite) retired myself, I’m already starting to think more in terms of disposal than acquisition.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I will pay to ship at least some of your CDs of classical CDs left over after family and friends–and Better World Books, if they take CDs–for British composers (Vaughan Williams, Arnold, Parry, Dax, etc.). It would be an honor. As for History with a capital H books, I would love those, too, but my wife may scream at me (not for me). My advice with respect to books, though, is to at least try to sell those with author inscriptions that are First Editions. Just handing them over is giving middle men money when you can always use the money–and ensure first and foremost your family or friends get the first choice is you are not being mercenary. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. dave Tuck says:

    Hello Bernard, there is an Oxfam bookshop in Beverley near Saturday Market where I have dropped off lots of books including academic ones (from my time at Hull Uni and working for the OU). Also a company called World of Books take second hand books and I have a sneaking feeling they will pay at times. Regards

    Dave Tuck

    Get Outlook for Android ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

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