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Books – Vanishing from Library Shelves

July 15, 2012

"home english teacher"

Many and varied are the GCSE English texts that our private English tutoring puts us in contact with, but Prof. Serendip’s  look at the astonishing variety of texts being culled and skipped from our libraries is beyond belief. Will we just be left with romances and Harry potter on library shelves in fifty years time?

Our ‘Thoughts From The Corner’ for this post let loose our guest blogger, Professor Serendip. Having dealt with subjects as wide-ranging as dirty carrots, godwottery and wakudeki in previous posts, he now takes us from the secretive world of the British intelligence service to the ‘sometimes-secretive’ world of cookery recipes.

"gcse english"


Excerpts from

Books that have been unnecessarily culled by libraries

Books that have been serendipitously encountered

Books that need to be saved for browsers


Christopher Andrew, The Defence of the Realm / The Authorized History of MI5

(Allen Lane and Penguin Books 2009)

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this important work is that it could be purchased for a third of its original price at a high street shop selling remaindered books. We have 1032 well-documented pages with intriguing illustrations. The volume offers a chunk of history that would make a good set book for a budding modern historian. There is much for the psychologist who will find fine examples of wrongheadedness.

No sooner than when the above paragraph was written it was pointed out that in 2011 had appeared a revised paperback version of a history of the other intelligence service. This was Keith Jeffery’s MI6 / The History of the Secret Intelligence Service 1909 – 1949. The volume of 840 pages was issued by Bloomsbury. It is a detailed chronicle about the placing of agents as well as departmental rivalries. It compliments Andrew’s work. . .

Cover of "The Defence of the Realm: The A...

Cover via Amazon


Thomas Austin (ed.) Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books.

Harleian Ms. (ab, 1430). . . (Early English text Soc. Original Series No. 91, 1888 (reprint 1964) p.8

And put it in-to a fayre potte, an sette it on be fyre, an stere euermore

"home english lessons"

As a private English teacher, food references are never far away in the GCSE texts we study. I doubt though, if any of our texts recommend stirring the ingredients for evermore. . .

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