About the book: “John Charles 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. Journalist Allison Hoover Bartlett befriended both eccentric characters and found herself caught in the middle of efforts to recover hidden treasure. With a mixture of suspense, insight, and humor, she not only reveals exactly how Gilkey pulled off his dirtiest crimes 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.”
This book is a true story of one man’s obsession to own rare books. Charles Gilkey felt he HAD to own these books and when he couldn’t afford them, he found imaginative ways to steal them. Ms. Bartlett does an excellent job of drawing the reader into the world of rare book buying and selling and showing how someone could become obsessed with owning them. I was amazed that there is so little that can be done to prevent book theft and the punishment when caught is so mild. Ken Sanders did what he could to alert other dealers but Mr. Gilkey outsmarted many of them. The end of the book gives the impression that Mr. Gilkey is still pursuing his passion.
Thank you to Lydia Hirt at Riverhead Books for sending me an ARC to read and review. The Man Who Loved Books Too Much goes on sale September 17.