By Allison Hoover Bartlett
In the culture of The Orchid Thief, a compelling narrative set in the unusual and genteel global of rare-book gathering: the genuine tale of an notorious booklet thief, his sufferers, and the guy decided to capture him.
Rare-book robbery is much more frequent than fine-art robbery. such a lot thieves, after all, scouse borrow for revenue. John Charles Gilkey steals in basic terms for the affection of books. In an try to comprehend him larger, journalist Allison Hoover Bartlett plunged herself into the realm of booklet lust and came upon simply how risky it might be.
John Gilkey is an obsessed, unrepentant publication thief who has stolen millions of greenbacks worthy of infrequent books from publication festivals, shops, and libraries round the nation. Ken Sanders is the self-appointed "bibliodick" (book broker with a penchant for detective paintings) pushed to trap him. Bartlett befriended either outlandish characters and located herself stuck in the midst of efforts to get well hidden treasure. With a mix of suspense, perception, and humor, she has woven this pleasing cat-and-mouse chase right into a narrative that not just unearths precisely how Gilkey pulled off his dirtiest crimes, the place he stashed the loot, and the way Sanders eventually stuck him but in addition explores the romance of books, the trap to gather them, and the temptation to scouse borrow them. Immersing the reader in a wealthy, huge global of literary obsession, Bartlett appears on the background of booklet ardour, assortment, and robbery in the course of the a long time, to check the yearning that makes a few humans prepared to prevent at not anything to own the books they love.
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Extra resources for The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession
After consulting with Sanders, Gavora had unfold the note to fellow technological know-how fiction booksellers concerning the robbery, and Alan Beatts, proprietor of Borderlands Books, was once considered one of them. He had labored in defense at Tower files for numerous years sooner than turning into a bookseller,2 and had a more durable, rougher perspective approximately robbery than did a lot of his colleagues. He didn’t simply retrieve the books, he pressured the alleged thief to signal an announcement asserting the place and the way he got them (supposedly from a guy on a highway in Ashland, Oregon) and supply his driver’s license and phone details. For a very good 30 minutes, he scared the hell out of him. almost immediately thereafter, the suspect mailed the remainder stolen books again to Gavora, besides a four-page letter insisting that he had no longer stolen them. nonetheless, the district legal professional basic recommended Gavora that with no additional facts that this used to be the thief, there wasn’t a lot of a case, and Gavora declined to press fees. a number of months after Sanders informed me this tale, Gavora stated he’d heard that the suspect were arrested in Olympia, Washington, for trying to promote a publication to an analogous shop from which it were stolen, and used to be later, once more, published. three “Of direction” was once Sanders’s response to the replace. even if thieves take beneficial books, their crimes are typically handled particularly calmly in court,4 most likely as the similar qualities that helped them break out with stealing books within the first place—politeness, schooling, solicitousness—also support them persuade judges that they aren’t this kind of those that might ever back do this type of factor. One exception is the case of Daniel Spiegelman, the thief I’d heard approximately on the big apple reasonable who’d stolen an marvelous number of fabrics (a thirteenth-century textbook on Euclidean geometry; twenty-six presidential letters and records; a 1493 version of the Nuremberg Chronicle; twenty-six medieval, Renaissance, and early glossy files; and masses extra) from Columbia collage and attempted to promote them to broker Sebastiaan Hesselink of the Netherlands. five no longer all of the goods have been recovered; a few have been bought, others broken, many misplaced endlessly. The prosecution asked leniency, yet in its place, the pass judgement on imposed a stiff time period and stated why:In callously stealing, mutilating, and destroying infrequent and precise components of our universal highbrow background, Spiegelman didn't easily goal to divest Columbia of $1. three million worthy of actual estate. He risked stunting, and possibly stunted, the expansion of human wisdom to the detriment folks all. via the very nature of the crime, it really is very unlikely to understand precisely what harm he has performed. yet this a lot is apparent: this crime used to be particularly diversified from the robbery of money equivalent to the appraised worth of the fabrics stolen, since it disadvantaged not just Columbia, however the international, of irreplaceable items of the previous and some great benefits of destiny scholarship. 6 even though relocating this remark at the nonmonetary worth of books was once, and as confident because it used to be in environment precedent for sentencing booklet thieves, it’s not likely to discourage others, specially any like Gilkey.