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The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective,… (2009)

by Allison Hoover Bartlett

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,4151735,024 (3.43)1 / 172
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.… (more)
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English (169)  Dutch (3)  German (1)  All languages (173)
Showing 1-5 of 169 (next | show all)
Interesting book for book lovers, but no suspense, as Gilkey is arrested early on. Peak into the rare book world and what makes collectors obsessive or just lovers of books. Gilkey believed that he was entitled to rare books even though he couldn't pay for them, and once people saw his collection, they would appreciate the gentleman who had built it.
  MartyB2000 | Mar 21, 2022 |
I wasn't sure whether to give this 3 or 4 stars. It was an enjoyable book, but it didn't quite hold my attention as much as other books in the genre. The book thief is known from the beginning, so there is not as much suspense, as you find in, say, The Island of Lost Maps. As I read toward the conclusion, I was expecting some exciting last arrest, and the end entirely petered out.
  jlbhorejsi | Jan 5, 2022 |
Didn't finish. We love books differently. He loves the physical, first edition copies and I, well, admire them but, with maybe 3 exceptions, wouldn't want to own them. To much work and stress. Perhaps that will change at some point. In any case, I was not quite the target audience.
  OutOfTheBestBooks | Sep 24, 2021 |
A journalist's piece about the obsession of books. Its well written and a rare look into the underbelly of the first edition book trade. ( )
  illmunkeys | Apr 22, 2021 |
This is for the "Book of True Crime" challenge in the Book Riot Read Harder challenge. I didn't want to read anything about murder or kidnapping or, really, bad things happening to people, and this came up in the Get Booked podcast a few weeks ago.

I ended up really disliking the narrator, and I'm not sure why. It came to feel like she was fighting not to be taken in by Gilkey, when his faults were so obvious it would seem impossible to fall under his spell. ( )
  ssperson | Apr 3, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 169 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
For him that stealeth, or borroweth and returneth not, this book from its owner ... let him be struck with palsy, & all his members blasted ... Let bookworms gnaw his entrails in token of the Worm that dieth not, & when at last he goeth to his final punishment, let the flames of Hell consume him forever.
—Anathama in a medieval manuscripts from the Monastery of San Pedro in Barcelona
I have known men to hazard their fortunes, go long journeys half-way around the world, forget friendships, even lie, cheat, and steal, all for the gain of a book.
—A. S. W. Rosenbach, twentieth century book dealer
Dedication
For John, Julian, and Sonja
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Prologue
At one end of my desk sits a nearly four-hundred-year-old book cloaked in a tan linen sack and a good deal of mystery.
Chapter 1
April 28, 2005, was bright and mild, the kind of spring day in New York City that seems full of promise, and on the corner of Park Avenue and East Sixty-sixth Street a queue of optimistic people was growing.
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Wikipedia in English (3)

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.

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Book description
Unrepentant book thief Gilkey has stolen a fortune in rare books from around the country. Yet unlike most thieves, who steal for profit, Gilkey steals for love--the love of 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.

In following both of these eccentric characters, journalist Allison Hoover Barlett plnged deep into a world of fanatical book lust, and ultimately found herself caught between the many people interested in finding Gilkey's stolen treasure, and the man who wanted to keep it hidden: the thief himself.

With a mixture of suspense, insight, and humor, Bartlett has woven this cat-and-mouse chase into a narrative that not only reveals exactly how Gilkey pulled off his crimes and how Sanders eventually caught him, but also explores the romance of books, the lure to collect them, and the temptation to steal them. All collectors have stories of what first made them fall in love, and Gilkey and Sanders are no different. Bartlett puts their stories into the larger context of book passion, collection, and theft through the ages. [from book jacket]
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Allison Hoover Bartlett's book The Man Who Loved Books Too Much was available from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

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Allison Hoover Bartlett chatted with LibraryThing members from Oct 22, 2009 to Oct 30, 2009. Read the chat.

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Average: (3.43)
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Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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