Friday, September 25, 2009

Review: The Man Who Loved Books Too Much

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much
By: Allison Hoover Bartlett

288 pages
Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover (September 17, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1594488916
ISBN-13: 978-1594488917

Courtesy of Amazon:

In the tradition of The Orchid Thief, a compelling narrative set within the strange and genteel world of rare-book collecting: the true story of an infamous book thief, his victims, and the man determined to catch him.

Rare-book theft is even more widespread than fine-art theft. Most thieves, of course, steal for profit. John Charles Gilkey steals purely for the love of books. In an attempt to understand him better, journalist Allison Hoover Bartlett plunged herself into the world of book lust and discovered just how dangerous it can be.

Gilkey is an obsessed, unrepentant book thief who has stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of rare books from book fairs, stores, and libraries around the country. Ken Sanders is the self-appointed "bibliodick" (book dealer with a penchant for detective work) driven to catch him. Bartlett befriended both outlandish characters and found herself caught in the middle of efforts to recover hidden treasure. With a mixture of suspense, insight, and humor, she has woven this entertaining cat-and-mouse chase into a narrative that not only reveals exactly how Gilkey pulled off his dirtiest crimes, where he stashed the loot, and how Sanders ultimately caught him but also explores the romance of books, the lure to collect them, and the temptation to steal them. Immersing the reader in a rich, wide world of literary obsession, Bartlett looks at the history of book passion, collection, and theft through the ages, to examine the craving that makes some people willing to stop at nothing to possess the books they love.

My review of the book:
Welcome to the world of rare book collection, thief and trying to catch the stealer. This book was a struggle for me to read. Why you might ask, because I found myself trying to rationalize what Mr. Gilkey was doing... but I could not. Stealing is stealing. And his reasoning to steal was beyond me reasoning with him. Ms. Allison tried to uncover his thinking and for that I give her props for going to the length she did. The book does intrigue me by the rare book collections. I never knew there was market out there for such a thing. It makes me look at books in a whole new light now.
I do have to say that this book is my first true story (non-romance) book I have read in quiet a while. And I feel a little off.
If you love true stories, thievery, and a disillusion world of one man ~ this book is for you.

If you would like to go to Ms. Allison Hoover Bartlett's web site, please go --->>> here.
If you would like to purchase this book, you can go to either: Penguin --->>> here
Or you can go to Amazon --->>> here

These are a few reviews from
"In this great read about the collector's obsession gone wrong, Ms. Bartlett gives us fascinating glimpses of the rare book world, the criminal mind and the limits of journalistic involvement. Anyone who has trouble passing a used bookstore without going in will love this book."
-Lynn H. Nicholas, author of The Rape of Europa

"Hats off to Allison Bartlett for a splendid contribution to the literature of bibliophilia/bibliomania, the John Gilkey-Ken 'bibliodick' Sanders story is one that cried out to be told, and she has accomplished it with style and substance. Very nicely done."
-Nicholas A. Basbanes, author of A Gentle Madness

"A fascinating journey into a strange, obsessive world where a love for books can sometimes become a fatal attraction."
-Simon Worrall, author of The Poet and the Murderer


  1. Hi Cecile!

    Good honest review of a book outside of your comfort zone. It does appear to be an interesting read though, trying to figure out drove him to take all those books.

    Dottie :)

  2. True Stories hhmmmm, they are not my forté, I read them in my early twenties but then they lost reading time with me :S

    I do like what you are reading now :) That is right up my alley girl *wink*

  3. ~Dottie!
    Hey honey!
    Thank you, this is was a rough one for me, because it did take me out of my comfort zone completely. The reason he stole... I won't give the book away, but let's just say that I wanted to slap the crap out of this man and tell him to get a grip on life. I love books (hell, anything for that matter), but I won't steal the stuff. But it was interesting to learn of the world of rare book collection. It makes going to the used book store a whole lot different now!
    Thanks for coming over today!
    I hope you have a great day and a wonderful weekend Dottie!!

    Hey honey! That is one hell'va party you had your place the other day... Those beefcakes of your... **whew... Sam... Raphael...**
    This was an interesting book. And for someone who loves true stories, this is definitely for them! Just not me =(

    Girl, I am knee deep in reading this subject!! LOL!!!
    I hope you are having a wonderful evening!!! And have a great weekend!

  4. Good review! I really like when people are honest about their opinion about the book. Thanks.
    Have a great evening

  5. Hmm. Maybe you would enjoy the books by Lawrence Goldstone more? I can't remember any titles beyond Used and Rare: Travels in the Book World, which I enjoyed (and own).

  6. Hmm....don't think this is for me. Nice review!

  7. Hello everyone....great post as usual Cecile, but this book is not exactly my cuppa tea...however I'm really interested in "what you're reading now", but for the life of me, I can't quite make out that title...could you possible, maybe lower the bottom of that photo just a smidge...come on you naughty know you want to!

  8. Hi Cecile:

    As Dottie said great honest review. It's hard to step outside of the genre you are accustomed to reading, sometimes it is a great experience and other times not so much...

    Looks like it was the later rather than the former this time around Cecile!

    Enjoyed your review, thanks for sharing. :)


  9. Hey Host!
    Thank you. You know me, I am all about the honesty of the book when I review it. And this was no different. It was a step (huge) out of my comfort zone, but I was a big girl and did it! Don't think I am going to go off the beaten path for a while though.
    I hope you have a great weekend!!! =)

    Hey Honey! Nice to have you back home! I will go look into Lawrence Goldstone's books. The concept of the rare books intrigued me, but Gilkey's reasoning got on my nerves. And I can only take so much. It just want not for me.

    Hey honey! No, I know this book is not for you... Ms Smexy, lol! There is no romance or love in this book. I knew that going in the book, but still my heart craved that there would be at least a little... nope.

    Hey there honey! Thank you. You are something else girl... ""however I'm really interested in "what you're reading now", but for the life of me, I can't quite make out that title"" He does not have a title... cuz he is mine, lol!!!

    Thanks for stopping by hon! Thank you. It was really hard to step out of that zone. I really did not think it would be that hard, but it was. But I pushed through it and finished it. I hope you have a great weekend honey!

  10. Hi Cecile,
    True story you say, hm.
    Anyway good review, seems interesting, for me, well that is the question

  11. Thanks for the summary Cecile - I have been eyeing this on your side bar for a while now...

    True stories do tend to take a while to get back into when you have been reading loads of fiction..


  12. Blodeuedd! Hey honey! Thanks for coming! Yep, true story. Is it a book for you? You are right, that is the questions. I know it may appeal to some people. I was wishing I was one of those people. But I found it rather difficult to get into it. I hope you have a great weekend!

    Erotic Horizon! Hey honey! Missed you! Hope all is well on your end of the world! You are more than welcome for the summary. I know my review shows what is on my sleeve, and this one was difficult for me. But I managed and I am hoping that this book does find a home in many book lovers hands! Thanks for stopping by! I hope you have a great weekend!

  13. Hi Cecile,

    Good review! I'm reading the book now - it's interesting to read your take on it.

    Thanks so much for posting details of contests on Starting Fresh!



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With hugs, love and smiles... Cecile

My Fictional Smutty Boyfriend.... =)