Wednesday, September 2, 2009

ARC Arrival: The Man Who Loved Books Too Much

I've been receiving books to review for a couple of months now, but today's arrival is another first. This is the first advanced review copy of a book.

The book is The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett, and it's due out on September 17th, 2009.

The amazon.com description of the book is:
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.

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.
I've got to say it looks like an interesting book, and it's put me in a bit of a dilemma: what to read next? My choices are: Graceling by Kristen Cashore (a library book), Defenders of the Scroll (another book given to me for review), a book for one of the challenges I'm participating in, or one of the new history books I bought yesterday (Anthony Everitt's biography of Hadrian, or The Inheritance of Rome by Chris Wickham). All of the choices look really good.
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