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StaceyHH

StaceyHH

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Her Smoke Rose Up Forever
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The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession - Allison Hoover Bartlett So much less about a book thief, than about one journalist's decisions to ignore ethics and honesty for the sake of getting her “interesting story.” The writer deliberately turns a blind eye to Gilkey's thefts, keeps her mouth shut so he won't get busted for thievery, lest she lose her story. She even consults with an attorney friend to find out exactly what the line is where she MUST report his activities or risk arrest as an accessory. She whitewashes the actions of an amoral identity and credit card thief, and justifies her lack of action when she knows of crimes, all the while referring to this criminal as a "book lover." Bookseller Ken Sanders says this about Gilkey: “He's a dirty little book thief and there's nothing romantic about it. There's nothing noble about him. He might have a passion for books but his passion is for thievery. As far as I'm concerned, he's the man who loved to steal books too much." (Source: NPR) (The audio story is worth a listen.) If you want to read Mr. Sander's more complete and un-romanticized version of Gilkey the Criminal, he tells it like it is here. It's worth noting that, while an image of Bartlett's “Book Lover” book appears next to the article, Sanders never refers to the book in his article, and he makes it clear that he doesn't appreciate the transmogrification of Gilkey's thievery, into “love” for books. Many of the victims, mostly small “mom and pop” type booksellers and collectors, have never recovered their property, and each loss represents real financial hardship, a point which is glossed over repeatedly in this account. What started out as an interesting account of the world of obsessive book collecting, became an unintentional revealing of the writer's lack of integrity. I have utterly no sympathy for Gilkey (who is apparently at it again,) but at least one can comfortably brand him a criminal, and hope the likes of Ken Sanders, the ABAA, Detective Ken Munson, and others, will finally succeed in recovering the stolen property and perhaps getting him locked up for good. For writer Bartlett, I have nothing but contempt, and wish I hadn't read this piece of garbage-masquerading as journalism, and especially wish I hadn't any part in her profits.