The Man Who Loved Books Too Much

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much

The True Story of A Thief, A Detective, and A World of Literary Obsession

Book - 2009
Average Rating:
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Unrepentant book thief John Charles Gilkey has stolen a fortune in rare books from around the county. Yet unlike most thieves, who steal for profit, Gilkey steals for the love of the books. Perhaps equally obsessive, though, is Ken Sanders, the self-appointed "bibliodick" driven to catch him. Sanders, a lifelong rare book collector and dealer turned amateur detective, will stop at nothing to catch the thief plaguing his trade.
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 2009
ISBN: 9781594484810
1594484813
9781594488917
1594488916
Branch Call Number: 002.075 BARTLETT
Characteristics: 274 p. ; 22 cm

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DBRL_KrisA Dec 11, 2016

My sister recommended this book to me; she hadn't read it, but thought that the title described my book addiction perfectly.
Actually, this book is only tangentially about people like me, seeming hoarders of any book they can get their hands on. Specifically, this book is about John Gilkey, a rare-book thief who stole books from dealers, not in some scheme to re-sell them and make big bucks, but because of a belief that having a large personal library would make him a well-respected member of high society. Bartlett, through interviews with Gilkey, book seller and amateur detective Ken Sanders, and other members of the rare-book world, explores what makes a book "rare", and what causes the obsession some of us have with collecting books. However, this work is mostly about Gilkey, his history of book-stealing, and how he justified his thefts to himself and to others.

n
ninigirl
Sep 03, 2016

A great read. This book was very educational regarding rare books. It also described in great detail the book dealers and their eccentric ways. Most of the book takes place in the bay area so it is really fun to read about places I know and have been to. Loved the detective chasing the thief aspect of the book.

b
blossom21
Jun 09, 2012

An interesting true crime story about stealing rare books. It is not brutal, no violemce. Gives insight into the obsession of collecting, in this case rare books.

r
rotating_dog
Mar 05, 2012

An intriguing story, which the author deftly turns into a post-modern exercise in naval gazing. Although no report of events can be completely objective, Brackley is excessive in explaining to the reader her own perspectives and reactions to the unfolding narrative. This book would be much better (and much shorter) if the author had narrowed her focus to the subject at hand, and given us less insight into her own motivations.

r
rmsanford
Apr 05, 2011

This book, although non-fiction, reads as fiction. Bartlett did an amazing job in telling the story, and had me scouring my bookshelves to find out if I had any first editions that may be worth something one day.

n
nhoj
Jan 10, 2011

A ne'er well man is obsessed with rare and antique books. So much that he has to steal them to acquire them.
It is the world of those who deal with and in rare books

Harriet_the_Spy Sep 08, 2010

If you've ever wanted to read a charming, well-researched story about a sociopathic book thief, this is the book for you. Bartlett gained access to a man who has stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of books, as well as a hippie-turned-rare-book-dealer who set out to stop the thefts. Where John Gilkey, the thief, is bizarre and unsettling in his amoral selfishness, the rare book dealer, Ken Sanders, is endearing though undeniably wacky. The two fascinating characters give Bartlett great material, and she handles it well.

d
dominomcd241
Jan 01, 2010

Why do people steal books? To enhance self esteem? Turn a profit? Make themselves feel that they are one of the wealthy? When it comes to books, rare and otherwise, it doesn't really feel like theft?
An investigative journalist interviews a convicted book thief at length, keeping in mind what a book seller told her. "Book thieves are all liars."
And what is being done to prevent book theft? All who love books for one reason or another will love this book.

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