Source: Won from Goodreads FirstReads and Riverhead
Edition: ARC, 274 pages
Genre: Nonfiction, True Crime
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository *
*I receive a small monetary kickback from Amazon purchases
Unrepentant book thief John Charles 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 is Ken Sanders, the self-appointed “bibliodick” who’s driven to catch him. Following this eccentric cat-and-mouse chase with a mixture of suspense, insight and humor, Allison Hoover Bartlett plunges the reader deep into a rich world of fanatical book lust and considers what it is that makes some people stop at nothing to posses the titles they love
I’m so happy I won this book on Goodreads. The title alone was enough to hook me, I mean how can you love books too much?! Well apparently you can and John Gilkey was tremendously good at it. I’ve always wanted to collect books thanks to Beauty and the Beast, and this was right up my alley.
For someone who has no idea how or where to start with book collecting I would say that this was the perfect introduction to the world of rare books. There are definitions of the lingo and great explanations as to why the books are rare and desirable, also great insight on how a book collector works and lives. I’ll be the first to admit that I thought that this was going to be a dry read since I don’t normally read non-fiction and I’ve never really read anything about book collecting. I would say that Barlett does a lot to bring this story to life and to make the reader comfortable with all the information. Her writing style is very easy going and beautiful, and it flows wonderfully so that it makes it very hard to put down once you get into it.
John Gilkey is a great focal point of a book and Barlett does a great job telling his story. He’s got a very interesting personality and he’s clearly not simply just a thief but a highly intelligent one.
It was truly a pleasure to read this and I would say that I want to collect books even more now. I recommend this book not only for reading but also to place on your shelf. It’s definitely for someone who truly loves books and can read non-fiction.