Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Is That Even Possible ?

I just devoured this book! Allison Hoover Bartlett's, true life tale of book thief (John Charles Gilkey) & the bibliodick ( Ken Sanders), who helped to bring him down. As a self confessed bibliophile I found this book both fascinating & intriguing. I also found it personally enlightening & thought provoking about why we collect what we do & for what purpose. Allison looks into the field of rare book collecting through virgin eyes and is transfixed by the world she finds. Ive been a collector since I was about 7 years old. It started with baseball cards and comic books. The baseball cards ( some 500,000 plus ) I still have & the comics went the way of the burn barrel via my Mother. My mother is a saint & in fact it's the only thing I have on her & I still like to remind her from time to time. During my teens I started collecting autographs & sports memorabilia. Later, I began to amass a collection of coffee cups, Pyrex dishes, magazines, documents on S.Ill. history and original historic newspapers. I still have all the aforementioned, but in later years I moved on to 3 specific areas: roughly 7,000 books ( signed & 1st edition ), 5,000+ original movie posters & 6,000 movies (VCR,DVD,Laser Discs). My passion for book collecting really amped up after reading John Dunning's, "Booked to Die". I've spent many a day on an exciting quest by myself, with my wife & mother, and with my friend Tyler Renshaw looking for the next prize to add to the collection. At times its exhilarating, at others its frustrating as theirs only so much time & money available. When you have a limited amount of both, you have to work harder & wiser than the next guy,( without stealing ) so...that's my point. It can be done without resorting to the ways Gilkey does in this book. However, I will say I definitely understand his passion for obtaining. Is it a sickness, or addiction...probably. Like Gilkey says "Every collector seems a little obsessed, a little mad". Advise for future collectors or those already bitten by the bug, remember one thing, "We do not own our collections, our collections own us".....Happy Hunting !

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