News & Reviews
"This book surprised me. I read the first paragraph and was drawn in, not so much by the subject matter as by the author's cozy, quiet style, evocative for me of the work of Dava Sobel and Janet Malcolm. I found the narrative compelling, and I loved the inside stories about old books."
"The Man Who Loved Books Too Much is the enthralling account of a gently mad con artist and his fraudulent credit-card scams, but it's also a meditation on the urge to collect and a terrific introduction to the close-knit, swashbuckling world of antiquarian book dealers."
"With a keen eye for detail and a measured sense of pacing, Bartlett offers an insightful look at the psychology of the most eccentric of criminals in this swift, entertaining volume about what happens when a love of books takes a sinister turn. "
"It's much to Bartlett's credit that she's taken what could have been a book for a highly specific audience and created a compelling read for anybody who loves a good story."
"Meticulous and fascinating...A fine read."
"A fascinating journey into a strange, obsessive world where a love for books can sometimes become a fatal attraction."
"[Bartlett is] deft in using a tale of crime as a portal into a curious subculture."
"Bartlett is a meticulous, thorough reporter, nearly obsessed herself...Her moral dilemma gives this true-crime book a sharp edge."
"A strange true-crime tale."
"The ways of criminals are mean and manifold, yet few acts of thievery are more confounding than book theft. If you know how to steal with impunity, why waste that precious expertise on a book when you can filch a purse or a bike or a laptop? The Man Who Loved Books Too Much...explores the riddle with charm and smarts."
"Her book delves into a world in which books are objects of meditation and desire, touchstones of memory, and talismans with almost magical powers."
"This excellent tale of people's intimate, complex, and sometimes dangerous relationships to books will be relished by readers, writers, and collectors who are passionate about books as well as fans of true crime stories."
"An intriguing psychological study of the relationship between the author and her subject."
"Fascinating...Unsettling...[Bartlett] unravels tales of private obsession and touches deeper issues and themes that inform our understandings about people who collect--not merely gather or assemble, but consciously and systematically collect--rare books."
"With its brilliantly observed details, wry humor, and thrilling plot twists, Bartlett 's narrative drew me deep into the obsessive world of a book thief and the dealer determined to stop him. It's a captivating cat-and-mouse game and a fascinating exploration of why people are so passionate about books. If you liked The Orchid Thief, you're going to love The Man Who Loved Books Too Much."
"Bartlett 's tale of literary intrigue makes you fall in love with books all over again. From her fascinating descriptions of prized manuscripts to her profile of a man who took an obsession too far, her story will leave you hankering to read more. "
"In this great read about the collector's obsession gone wrong, Ms. Bartlett gives us fascinating glimpses of the rare book world, the criminal mind and the limits of journalistic involvement. Anyone who has trouble passing a used bookstore without going in will love this book."
"Hats off to Allison Bartlett for a splendid contribution to the literature of bibliophilia/bibliomania, the John Gilkey—Ken "bibliodick" Sanders story is one that cried out to be told, and she has accomplished it with style and substance. Very nicely done."
"[An] absorbing journalistic profile of the world of rare books and the people who sell, collect, and steal them. Bartlett has the raw material of a strong story, and her research is impeccable. The crudity of Gilkey's cons--semi-elaborate forms of credit-card fraud--is riveting: the trivia about the atmosphere, mentality, and history of book collectors is absorbing."
"[Bartlett] does not just tell the story...she enters into it, interviewing Gilkey during and after and again about his crime spree. The story is enthralling, tracking the thief through bookstores and book fairs, from one end of the country to the other. You might even forget this is a story of true crime and think you are reading a novel. It is encouraging to find a veteran journalist who can switch to long form and create such a lyrical as well as erudite narration. That the story is about books is a bonus for those of use who love books. By the end, the author discovered a single trait shared by the thief, those he stole from, and book collectors who would never dream of stealing them: obsession."
"To utilize a popular cliche, the truth is often stranger than fiction, and The Man Who Loved Books Too Much is proof that the everyday can be just as exciting as popular fiction...a real-life game of cat-and-mouse that rivals anything you might find in a Patterson novel. In addition to offering insights into these two adversaries, The Man Who Loved Books Too Much provides an intriguing look into the world of book collecting...a must-read for bibliophiles, and it affirms the reverence with which books are still held in society. Of course, there's a fine line between reverence and obsession, and you might just find yourself having to reevaluate how close you are to crossing over."