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The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession 

By Allison Hoover Bartlett (Tantor)


Bibliokleptomania. This was John Gilkey’s weakness. A lust for books so intense it was criminal. Indeed, John Gilkey was willing to go to jail for the love of books; and did. Seamlessly blending investigative journalism and personal memoir, Allison Hoover Bartlett introduces the reader to the world of rare books and the individuals who inhabit it. Central to this peculiar true-crime drama is the bibliokleptomaniac, John Gilkey, and the man intent on catching him, the bibliodick, Ken Sanders. Equipped with pilfered credit card numbers, and belief that “the ownership of a vast rare book collection would be the ultimate expression of his identity,” Gilkey manages to steal over $100,000 worth of rare books between 1999 and 2003. Enlightening and informative, Bartlett’s documentation of Gilkey’s path to prison, and Sanders efforts to put him there, reveals a typically unseen view of people’s “intimate and complex and sometimes dangerous relationship to books.”

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