The Man Who Loved Books Too Much – By Allison Hoover Bartlett

ManWhoLovesBooks_JKTF.inddIf you are one of those individuals who has developed a love affair with books then Allison Bartlett’s recent work, “The Man Who Loved Books Too Much” is for you. Bartlett takes you on a journey through the true story and antics of John Gilkey, thief of  books and obsessed neurotic. Bartlett’s trip into the world of collectible and rare books and the people who inhabit it is worth the journey.

More than the detective story built around the schemes and very successful attempts by Gilkey to steal these treasures, is Bartlett’s insight into the passion that books have inspired over the centuries. When we begin to understand that books are the propellant fuel behind the progress of mankind and our evolution of knowledge, we also begin to appreciate fully the past attempts of book burners, hoarders and even religious institutions to stifle and limit access to the books. For in our past the books were everything.

As detached, neurotic and eccentric as we may find Gilkey, we learn he is not the first to be obsessed by books. Seeing the books as a symbol of wealth and success may be the sanest part of Gilkey’s perceptions since we do indeed find the books and the bookcases as a backdrop in every movie, scene and story about what makes life good.

I think Bartlett is correct. There is something mesmerizing about holding a good book in your hands. Whether it pulls you back into your childhood, forward into your fantasies, there is probably a bit of Gilkey in all of us. We just have a clearer sense of right and wrong. You will enjoy this book as an adventure, as a piece of history and as in insight into the beauty of a good book.

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