Saturday, 13 December 2014

The man who loved books too much by Allison Hoover Bartlett

The full title of this book is long:The man who loved books too much:The true story of a thief , a detective, and a world of literary obsessions.The man is John Gilkey , who steals rare books worth thousand of dollars because he loves to collect the rare books.The detective is  Ken Sanders, who is actually a seller of rare books but devotes a lot of his time to catch a thief like Gilkey successfully.Bartlett takes us to the worlds of literary obsessions of book thief , book seller  and the writer herself.It is a story of real crime.When in the process of  writing about  real crime  you possess information and confession  about a real crime and plans about a future crime , what is your ethical conduct?Is it to inform the police , or is it to  protect the source?
                                Since the book takes you into the world of books all the time , while reading it , you tend to fall in love with books all over again.At least , I did.I am talking about the printed books, not the on line editions.Every printed book has a life of its own , a biography .Who gave you the book,or when and where you bought it,when you read it , when you read it a second time ,did you read it fast or in slow instalments , where have you stored it after reading, how do you catalogue your books, and so on.Do your possessions represent who you are?What emotional needs are your collections fulfilling?Are our collections more for ourselves , or are they more to impress others?Are you passionate and possessive about your books?What is your relationship to your books?Is it same for every books , or do you have different relationship with each book?Where does the love and reverence  for books convert into  obsession   like bibliophilia or bibliomania?Where do I stand  and how close I am, as a book lover , to the thin boundary line that separates reverence from obsession .
                  I end this with a quote from the book(Page 254):"As I thought about Gilkey's and Sanders's stories, and those of other collectors and thieves I encountered, they merged in my mind into a collection of their own, the larger story of which is a testament to the passion for books--their content and histories, their leathery , papery,smooth , musty,warped,foxed , torn , engraved and inscribed bodies.This passion I share with them all."

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