Thursday, October 15, 2009
114. The Man Who Loved Books Too Much
Rated 5 Stars
Before I read this book I thought that I was a book collector. Now I know better. My little piddling number of books that are cluttering up 4 large bookcases and the stacks of books on various surfaces of my house are NOTHING when it comes to being a real Bibliomaniac. I am very, very small potatoes.
This is a very interesting book and it certainly increased my knowledge of antique and rare books and the lengths that thieves will go to acquire them. Not just for money but for the joy or perhaps the obsession just to collect them. I had no idea of the threat to rare book dealers was as bad as was shown in this book. I know that rare books are sometimes worth a fortune, and that some other rare documents have quite a lot of value; the theft of such items doesn't surprise me. But what does surprise me is the lengths to which people will go to collect even less-valuable items.
The Man Who Loved Books Too Much is about such a person--John Charles Gilkey. The author takes the reader on a journey through collectors' and book lovers' obsessions and follows the trail of Gilkey, a notorious book thief, across the country to the various individuals once targeted by the book obsessed man. One central figure is Ken Sanders, who takes on the role of book detective to hunt down Gilkey (previously unknown), and to retrieve the stolen items to return them to their rightful owners. Bartlett follows the trail, putting together the pieces, digging into the mind of the book obsessed and, ultimately, the mind of Gilkey, to put together a book as addictive as its key characters.