More than just a Pile of Dirty Old Books

Peter B. GiblettStarred Page By Peter B. Giblett, 31st Jul 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2-zb80aq/
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Bereavement

BOOKS, BOOKS, BOOKS! If you want a book on any topic (especially unusual ones) then chances are that I have seen them in the last couple of days, I have sorted a large number of books now and wish to stop for a coffee, but there are more books to sort. All that knowledge!

Here in Leicester (UK)

Here I am in Leicester clearing out my mothers old house and in truth I cannot imagine how much stiff was left to clear out (and I do promise not to mention the stink of clearing out the fridge and freezer that have been switched off for more than a year) but the beauty of this process is that I am now managing to sort through the books that my mother has, which is in and of itself a very interesting task, because with every new box there is a new surprise to see. I never knew she had so many, what I expected to find was her collection and my grandfather's collection but in addition I discovered that she had been a bookseller, she has a collection of books required for university courses in engineering, sociology, psychology, economics, politics, and philosophy and to my knowledge she never had a degree in any of those subjects, except that which she earned from the university of life (of which she claimed to be a studious student).

I don't know where she sold the books, but I surmise that it must have been in close proximity to a university or where students came together at certain times as many of these must have been required texts for courses at some point in their existence.

Books on Every Subject

As I have been sorting through things I have of course been clearing away much unwanted material, and it was during a trip to the city dump that I encountered a couple asking the worker where they should throw books out.

Sacrilege! I thought, not that I was about to take the books off their hands, My thoughts were about infamous book burning events in history and how people like Adolph Hitler declared certain books illegal and encouraged their burning in town squares across NAZI Germany - I may disagree with the views of the authors in many of the books that she owned, but I consider that I have a duty to find a home for them as best I can, which is one of the reasons why I am spending the time cataloguing the things in the collection but even writers like Stalin and Mao will have a welcome home somewhere in someone's collection.

The sad fact is that if I took every book with me and read them cover to cover there is more than I could read in the remainder of my lifetime, but of course there are many subjects I am not in the least bit interested in, so I doubt I would open the cover of even one book about it, that said there are other subjects that I find very interesting and I do plan to read a few of those books in time. Is there anything valuable - I found a set of six books, dating from the 1890s and looked them up on-line to find each book worth between $7 and $14, not very encouraging in terms of defining a value.

Sell or Donate?

I have probably sorted through more than 2 and a half thousand books in the last week and there are probable at least a thousand more to sort through as well as countless magazines and newspapers, which are mostly worthless. I am planning on selling many of the books - the problem being that I do not live locally and it would cost a lot of money to transport them to my home, so finding a UK based buyer seems to be the best option, especially if they are able to pick up.

If necessary I will donate them to an organisation that can make good use of them especially if they promise not to destroy them in favour of e-books.

I am a lover of books and have a collection of more than 2,000 of my own books so appreciate the power of the book (although since my eye injury I have to also say that I appreciate the power of audio and "e" books as well because pages are hard to read)

Sitting on the Boxes

At a certain point this afternoon I took a good stretch and a large gulp of water and seeing nowhere else to sit, carefully closed the box lid and sat on that box, looking around it was clear the mountain that I had been climbing was getting larger and larger in front of my eyes. There is one thing that is gratifying and that is that the number of unsorted books is now decreasing and they should all be sorted in the next couple of days.

Sitting on the completed pile brings with it certain sense of satisfaction, but the challenge ahead is one of sorting out one more room in order to access the remaining books, all now solidly out of reach behind some other pieces of furniture and other clutter that needs removing, that is tomorrow's job.

The Thinker's Library

I have come across a collection of books that belonged to my grandfather called the Thinker's Library and what is interesting about these is that they are all small books (much smaller than the average paperback) and about 100 to 150 pages in length - I believe they came from my grandfather's collection, indeed I can imagine him in the 1930s sitting down for a coffee in a cafe reading such volumes in his spare time (not that there was much room for him to add his associated press clippings - which was his habit).

I would like to see such volumes today, coffee house books that the readers of real books can use while they are enjoying a morning drink, wouldn't that be better than seeing everyone hidden behind their laptop (or even mac-book) screens. I guess though the world has irrevocably changed, arguably for the worse, as we lose ourselves in this electronic world, a world which part of me is at least grateful for, because without it we would not have such electronic publications as Wikinut, yet of course there are times we must take our head away from the computer screen and do real things.

Images and Pictures

All the pictures and images used here are by Peter B. Giblett

  • Thinker's Library book
  • Some titles on the shelf
  • One book
  • The boxes - a place to sit.
  • More books

Other titles by Peter B. Giblett

Peter Giblett regularly publishes here on Wikinut and contributes a semi-regular column on 2 Drops of Ink, a site dedicated to the improvement of writing, grammar, and prose and his own blog called GobbledeGoox. Recent works on Wikinut include:

Wikinut is great a place to share some of your own personal wisdom by adding a comment or becoming a writer, join Wikinut and write.

Tags

Books, Coffee House Book, Knowledge, Leicester, Power, Thinkers Library

Meet the author

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
Author of "Is your Business Ready? For the Social Media Revolution"

Social media consultant, with C-Level background.

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Comments

author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
5th Aug 2015 (#)

Peter, thank you for sharing such a great article. Books rank very high on my list of favorite things. I have book shelves in the living room filled with books and then there's the book shelves in the dining room not to even mention the books in cabinets and closets. For some reason I just can't part with them. I have a Nook that's filled with books too. What can I say? I'm a book lover. Since I was a little girl going to the library was very special to me. I used to think working in a book store would be the best job ever because I would be surrounded by books. I think the world is divided into book lovers and those who aren't book lovers. I'm in the first group.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
6th Aug 2015 (#)

I wish I could take them all back to Canada with me, but that is impossible.

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author avatar Retired
5th Aug 2015 (#)

I am currently sitting in my "office" barely able to move for the boxes of books that have still to be unpacked after our move back to our extended house after six months in rented accommodation.

There are still hundreds more to be moved!

We are thinking about how we can store some in the loft and places where more bookcases can be placed - and I'm also giving serious consideration to downsizing the collection.

Peter - how did you get on with finding places in Leicester that will take books off your hands? There is a second-hand bookshop on Silver Street that is worth a try (and which I forgot about when we met a few weeks ago) - Maynard & Bradley on the corner of Royal Arcade that leads through from High Street.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
6th Aug 2015 (#)

I have spoken to Maynard & Bradley and they are looking for some idea of the categories I have, which I am almost ready to give them.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
6th Aug 2015 (#)

p.s. John, did you see the article I penned on 2dropsofink.blogspot.com about our meeting?

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author avatar spirited
6th Aug 2015 (#)

It's very sad when someone dies with a book collection like this. My own Dad recently died too.

Unfortunately, he used to underline and write in all of his books, and so they are worthless to anyone else.

They do provide us some insight into his thoughts though.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
6th Aug 2015 (#)

Spirited, my grandfather had a habit of taking news clippings of the subject and add these to his books, so when sorting through his collection I had to remove some of those.

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author avatar snerfu
6th Aug 2015 (#)

Yes, books are very precious to me too. Though we do not have much space in our house for arranging them. My Dad too used to underline the books he read. Peculiar, but it helped me understand a lot of things better.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
6th Aug 2015 (#)

I do not agree that underlined books are of no use to others, it can help you understand their thinking and how it may differ from yours.

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author avatar spirited
6th Aug 2015 (#)

Underlined books can be useful to others in the way you state.

I was thinking more of re-sale value. Also though I do not feel that comfortable reading my father's private thoughts, but that's just me. I feel like I am invading his privacy, even though he is dead!

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author avatar Retired
6th Aug 2015 (#)

If we did not seek to get inside the minds of dead people, philosophy, theology, and many other spheres of human endeavour would have died out centuries ago!

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
7th Aug 2015 (#)

Agreed!

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
7th Aug 2015 (#)

I cannot part with books either. I was in Indonesia as an expatriate and when others left I used to ask them for their collection than discarding them. When it was my time to leave came, I was saddled with a truckload to transport by plane along with other items within the combined baggage allowance of 40kgs with my wife! Reluctantly, I had to leave the collection behind unread. When I had the chance to visit again they were dumped as a waste by the new tenant, sort of "casting pearls before swine"! So I had to beat a hasty retreat from them sadly!

Thanks Peter - a tough decision to marry practicality with emotions - siva

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
7th Aug 2015 (#)

Siva, that must have been tough. I have put aside 6 boxes that I hope I can take with me to Canada. but it is tough even finding buyers.

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author avatar usha kiran
15th Aug 2015 (#)

I too love books and have many old volumes - one of my favorite is a 100 year old dictionary that my grand father got from a British officer in the 30;s .. I hate to give away old books , even magazines but it is practically impossible to collect all the books and store them..

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
15th Aug 2015 (#)

With all of this I am sadly taking one box home with me.

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author avatar Ptrikha
26th Aug 2015 (#)

A huge collection indeed!
So, have you got in touch with any interested parties in UK for these books? And what is the current status?

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author avatar peachpurple
26th Aug 2015 (#)

you can build a library in a small shop and rent out the books

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
26th Aug 2015 (#)

That is an interesting concept - a private library.

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author avatar Retired
26th Aug 2015 (#)

Peach, I think the days of the small private commercial library are in the past!

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
26th Aug 2015 (#)

Agreed! We have a local second-hand book seller who puts a buy-back price on the books they sell.

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author avatar D in The Darling
26th Aug 2015 (#)

This shows how much I've missed. What a collection! Thanks for sharing Peter!

It's been a long time. So how are you doing?

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
26th Aug 2015 (#)

Welcome back I have spotted a few recent contributions from yourself.

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