Review: The Man Who Loved Books too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett

The Man Who Loved BooksLast week my Teaser Tuesday was from Allison Hoover Bartlett’s new book The Man Who Loved Books Too Much and I got some comments asking how this could be true. How could someone love books too much?

Well as Bartlett demonstrates in her new book, if there ever was a person to fit this bill, John Charles Gilkey might be it.

Written in a first person account, Bartlett examines the world of book collecting and book theft focusing on a story of two men – both who seem to have an incredible love of books but demonstrate this love differently. Ken Sanders, of Ken Sanders Rare Books in Salt Lake City, not only sells books, but also took up the cause of investigating stolen books as the Security Chair for the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America. It was while in this post that Sanders came across Gilkey, and made it his mission to catch him.

Gilkey was not an ordinary book thief, his motivation appeared to be for the love of having a book in his collection and not just as a commodity to later resell when the time was right. (Not that he didn’t try and resell some when he needed the cash for a lawyer, but this does not appear to be his primary end goal.) He educated himself about books, and they seemed to not just have a monetary value, but a personal value to him to be able to have it.

What I appreciated about the book is the time that Bartlett spent talking with Gilkey, while he was in jail, and when he was free. Talking about the crimes he was convicted of (he was in and out of jail over the years) and how he stole books. She used this to provide quite a portrait of him, that also looked at his motivations for having these books in his personal collection.

I enjoyed Bartlett’s conversational tone and all the added anecdotal stories about other book thefts. She conducted a lot of research and interviewing to bring out these fascinating stories. I think I might have liked all the stories of book obsession and theft in total, even more than just Sanders’ and Gilkey’s story, but of course I understand that you need an anchor story – and these two men gave her such access. All of these stories together provided me with a glimpse into a world in the book universe that I had not seen before and I would definitely like to read more about in the future.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me an ARC of this book to read.

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much
Author: Allison Hoover Bartlett
ISBN: 978-1594488917
Published: September 17, 2009 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Riverhead
Pages: 288

Teaser Tuesday, 29 September: Dancing with Ana by Nicole Barker

It’s that time of week again for Should Be Reading’s fun meme Teaser Tuesdays.

So how does this work:

  • Grab your current book
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Dancing with AnaToday’s tease comes from Nicole Barker’s book Dancing with Ana.
Her emotions had been reeling off course today, between what happened with Jeremy and lying to her mom. That combined with the crazy headache she had again from not eating was enough to make her want to just collapse in bed.” Pgs 19-20

Thanks to the author for sending me a copy of this book.

QUESTION OF THE DAY
What’s your tease for this Tuesday?

What Are You Reading Monday, 28 September; and the Week that Was

Thanks to J Kaye’s Book Blog for hosting this weekly meme.

We are entering the first full week of fall. How did this happen?

I have kept on track for the second week of finishing up two books. I also started two books, but I’m not that far in to either (including that new one from Dan Brown, you might have heard he has a new one out)– and now I have others I must read this week.

Last week I also hosted a giveaway for five copies of The Smart One and the Pretty One by Claire LaZebnik, thanks to Hachette. Congrats to the winners and thank you again to everyone who entered.

Also, as a reminder – this is Banned Books Week. I am working on a longer post for this week but wanted to acknowledge it here as well.

Happy Reading All!!

BOOKS I COMPLETED
1. The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett
2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling

BOOK TO BEGIN/CONTINUE
1. The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
2. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
3. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
4. Dancing with Ana by Nicole Barker
5. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

QUESTION OF THE DAY:
So how about you? What are you reading this week?

Starting Monday Off By Sharing an Award

Last week, while still in the Book Blogger Appreciation Week glow from reading all those great posts, I got a note from Book Chick City that she was passing an award on to me, the Who Loves You Baby award. Thank you so much!!

If you have somehow not visited her site yet, you should definitely take a look. She hasn’t been book blogging all that long and already has quite a great collection of posts, reviews and author interviews.

Award-who-loves-you

Now this award is given to people who have awarded you in the past, so I am passing this award on to:

All of these blogs are great sites for reviews and a little friendly book chat, so be sure to stop by and say Hi to them.

And We Have Some Winners

Smart OneMy second giveaway on this site has come to a close.

First, thanks to all of you who entered and/or posted about this giveaway on Twitter or your blogs.

Now, without further ado here are the five winners who will each win a copy of Claire LaZebnik’s book The Smart One and the Pretty One. thanks to Hachette:

The winners were chosen using Random.org.

Congrats to you all! And thanks again to everyone who entered.

Review: The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood

Year of the Flood 2Margaret Atwood’s latest The Year of the Flood follows two primary story tellers Toby and Ren. While jumping around in time we learn how Toby and Ren are brought in to the Gardeners, an eco-religious group led by Adam One (who opens up each section with a homily regarding one of the feast days that is being celebrated). Toby joined to escape her violent boss at Secretburger (it’s not really a secret what’s in the burgers, and really you don’t want to know); while Ren was brought to the group by her mother Lucerne, when she was a child, but when Ren was a teenager her mom left the group to rejoin “society” and her husband, once her love affair fell apart with Gardener Zeb. Who is Zeb? A Gardener who becomes part of a splinter group when he no longer agrees with the methods of Adam One. When Ren is removed she does not just leave a home she has grown up in, but also leaves behind her best friend Amanda, who she brought in to the Gardeners.

As we alternate in narration from Ren to Toby over various years before and after the waterless flood, we are given a glimpse into this dystopian world, with the fringe society of the Gardeners and the mainstream society living in the Compounds (corporate-owned gated communities).

Jumping to year Twenty-five (the year of the flood), Toby is undercover hiding as manager of Anoo Yoo Spa, a high-end spa catering to the youth-obsessed women, while Ren works at the sex club Scales and Tails. Both women are protected via different circumstances when the waterless flood hits, and now must try to figure out their place in this permanently altered world.

Yes, there is a lot going on with this book, and with the movement in time I don’t want to write any spoilers so I am only putting a very top-line summary of the two main characters. But, there are many interesting characters and plots intermingled in this tale. I found myself most drawn to Ren because she was very relate-able. While a Gardener she was resentful of the material goods outsiders had, since she could still remember her nice clothes and access to showers, but once she rejoined that society she had a hard time reintegrating.

This book was unlike anything I have read in awhile, and while it was dark, with Atwood’s storytelling I saw the green of the plants she described and the wild colors of the Mo’hairs (whose long, colored hair was used for wigs). I felt not only the oppressive heat but the fear – the fear of being hunted, the fear of being left behind and the fear of what was ahead. All of these elements mixed in to kept me turning the page.

To me this book wasn’t a get cozy, curl up and settle in with a cup of tea book. It was a sit up straight and pay attention book filled with messages on religion, environmentalism and other issues. In fact if you go to the Web site for The Year of the Flood you will find a section titled “Neat Stuff” where, among other things, you can nominate a “saint” (who are honored by The Gardeners every day) and even calculate your own carbon footprint.

Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC to read.

The Year of the Flood
Author: Margaret Atwood
ISBN: 978-0385528771
Published: September 22, 2009 (hardcover)
Publisher: Nan A. Talese
Pages: 448

Teaser Tuesday, 22 September: The Man Who Loved Books Too Much

teaser-tuesdayIt’s that time of week again for Should Be Reading’s fun meme Teaser Tuesdays.

So how does this work:

  • Grab your current book
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

The Man Who Loved BooksToday I am teasing you with Allison Hoover Bartlett’s new book The Man Who Loved Books Too Much.
Whenever I have asked Gilkey to describe the allure books have for him, he struggles, but ultimately settles on the aesthetic. ‘It’s a visual thing, the way they look, all lined up on the shelf.’” Pg. 74

Thanks to the publisher for sending me an ARC of this book.

QUESTION OF THE DAY
What’s your tease for this Tuesday?