The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett
The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession

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Synopsis

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.

John 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.
 

About Allison Hoover Bartlett

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ALLISON HOOVER BARTLETT's writing has appeared in The New York Times; The Washington Post, on Salon.com, in the San Francisco Chronicle Magazine, among other publications. Her original article on John Gilkey was included in the Best American Crime Reporting 2007. She lives in San Francisco.
 
Published August 29, 2009 by Riverhead Books. 300 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Crafts, Hobbies & Home, Crime. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Man Who Loved Books Too Much

The New York Times

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A story of fraud provides an opportunity to recall instances of book-driven madness through the ages.

Oct 04 2009 | Read Full Review of The Man Who Loved Books Too M...

The Guardian

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That man is John Gilkey, a serial stealer of books who, in one six-month period alone, purloined $100,000 worth of rare titles, normally by paying with dud cheques or using credit card numbers from receipts he acquired while working at Saks in San Francisco;

Dec 03 2010 | Read Full Review of The Man Who Loved Books Too M...

BC Books

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To catch a book thief, it takes a book dick!

Sep 14 2009 | Read Full Review of The Man Who Loved Books Too M...

BC Books

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In The Man Who Loved Books Too Much, the main thread is Bartlett's own investigation into Gilkey's story, book theft and the world of book collectors and sellers.

Oct 04 2009 | Read Full Review of The Man Who Loved Books Too M...

Examiner

The book is as much a story about literary obsession as it is a portrait of Gilkey and Sanders, and Gilkey is the embodiment of book lust—a man who would go to prison for the love of a good book.

Oct 08 2009 | Read Full Review of The Man Who Loved Books Too M...

Examiner

Written by a relative newcomer to the old white man's world of book collecting and dealing, Bartlett admits her ignorance from the get go, and then proceeds to try and understand the psychological workings of a bibliomaniac by immersing herself in the subculture of rare books.

Oct 07 2009 | Read Full Review of The Man Who Loved Books Too M...

Examiner

Rare book collectors collect books for different reasons, but each collector is proud of his or her collection.

Nov 01 2012 | Read Full Review of The Man Who Loved Books Too M...

AV Club

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The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story Of A Thief, A Detective, And A World Of Literary Obsession is a story about stories, which is to say, it’s the kind of non-fiction book where a perfectly absorbing narrative is interrupted for stock authorial observations about becoming “a collecto...

Sep 24 2009 | Read Full Review of The Man Who Loved Books Too M...

Deseret News

Over a period of about 10 years, beginning in the late 1990s, book collector John Gilkey of Modesto, Calif., acquired an impressive array of rare first editions by authors including Mark Twain, Beatrix Potter and Vladimir Nabokov.

Oct 18 2009 | Read Full Review of The Man Who Loved Books Too M...

Lit Reactor

A New York Times article writes, “Mr. De Caro and his associates were eventually found out by a brother-and-sister team of whistle-blower librarians at the Girolamini who gave prosecutors video surveillance footage showing Mr. De Caro and his associates removing boxes of books from the library be...

Oct 13 2014 | Read Full Review of The Man Who Loved Books Too M...

Bibliophile By the Sea

... Of the (15) books I did read, (7) were review books. ... The Man Who Loved Books Too Much; Allison Hoover Bartlett - recommended; Her Fearful Symmetry; A. Niffenegger - recommended; The ...... Monday, November 9, 2009 ...

Nov 30 2009 | Read Full Review of The Man Who Loved Books Too M...

Reader Rating for The Man Who Loved Books Too Much
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