21. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Biographies, Janet, NonFiction

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett, 274 pages, read by Janet, on 08/19/2013

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession     This is “The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession”.  It was well told and one feels you really get to know John Charles Gilkey, who deeply loves books.  (He just doesn’t think he should pay for them.)  The author often discussed his activities with Ken Sanders, who also loved and collected books (legally) and worked as an amateur detective to catch Gilkey.  Although he was put in jail several times for thievery, it didn’t dampen his love of books and need to collect.  He agrees with the saying, “Physical artifacts carry memory and meaning, and this is as true of important historical texts as it is of cherished childhood books.”  He likes them all.  He considered himself to be an existentialist because “they can’t differentiate between right and wrong”.  He read many of the books he took and didn’t think it was wrong to have a book he enjoyed.  He did have a job occasionally (usually working in a bookstore), but made a good bit of his spending money selling stolen books.

Gilkey knew the author was writing a book about him and was both careful about how much he shared, and delighted to be considered an important subject.  At the end of the story he was known to have just stolen a book from a Canadian dealer.  He was not arrested.  “The story never ends.”

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