Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett

4 stars

Totally didn't know about the Utah connection when I started this, but the bookseller turned amateur detective is in Salt Lake.  Totally cool.

This story-- all about John Gilkey's book thefts and Ken Sanders' pursuit to put him in jail-- is fascinating.

I LOVE books, but the people described in this book, the COLLECTORS, wow.  They are something else entirely.

And Gilkey?  Well, he's one of a kind.  We hope, anyway.

The man's sense of right and wrong is so beyond skewed that it kind of amazed me that he managed to function in the world at all, let alone get away with the things he got away with!

Now, as much as the story was fascinating, the writing wasn't amazing.  It was okay, but rambly.  Sometimes it was organized and sometimes it wasn't-- like with the inclusion of dates.  Sometimes they were given and other times not.  And as the author herself got more caught up in the story, her own feelings, conflicts and ethical debates intrude more and more into the narrative.  It's completely understandable, but I found it distracting.

I would still recommend this to any and all book lovers.  The interesting story outweighs the average writing.

And all this talk of collecting has me curious-- what's the most-prized book in YOUR collection??

Honestly..... I'm not sure.  There's the Little Golden Book "Tell Me a Story" that I made my parents read to me over and over again as a child. (It's now in my children's bookcase, held together by a fair amount of tape.)  There are my signed books.  The old cloth-covered books that were my grandma's-- and the matching books I've since collected.  I don't know.

Counts for the Reader's Choice Challenge.


  1. Ah, Gilkey. He was so messed up.

    Not sure which book of mine would be a favorite...

  2. Was or is.... At the end of the book she says that right before it went to press he stole something else. Crazy.

    Glad I'm not the only one who can't pick a favorite.