This book is about John Gilkey, the man who loved (rare) books so much he would steal them, and the book seller & detective who tried to catch himThis book is about John Gilkey, the man who loved (rare) books so much he would steal them, and the book seller & detective who tried to catch him. Gilkey is basically a con man, who is looking to establish a valuable book collection, because he believes it will give him the reputation he desires: as an intellectual, rich man of the world. The problem is, he can't afford the books he wants, but he feels it's his right to be able to own them, so he steals them. He has created a morality whereby it's not really stealing when he "gets" his books without paying for them. To finance his 'habit' he steals credit card numbers from Saks, where he works part time.
But Gilkey isn't the only person in this book who loves books perhaps a wee bit too much. We are also introduced to rare book dealers and historical figures, all of whom go to great length to collect books. (One of my favorites was a professor in Nebraska, who died in 1952 surrounded by 90 TONS of books! A man after my own heart...)
It's a tale well-told, with elements of suspense and daring-do. It's also a good introduction to the world of collectible books - what makes a book 'rare' and what makes its price go up.Being a book collector, myself, (albeit one whose collection probably doesn't have a single book worth over $250), I enjoyed mingling with others who also love books. I can so totally relate to the wonderful feeling of seeing shelf after shelf of books for sale in a shop or book fair! There really is nothing like an actual, physical BOOK to delight one's senses. The author sums it up nicely: ...a testament to the passion for books - their content an histories, their leathery, papery, smooth, musty warped, fixed, torn, engraved and inscribed bodies.
And I leave you with this inscription from a medieval scribe: This book belongs to none but me For there's my name inside to see. To steal this book, if you should try, It's by the throat that you'll hang high. And ravens then will gather 'bout To find your eyes and pull them out. And when you're screaming "oh, oh, oh!" Remember, you deserved this woe.
PS I borrowed this book from a fellow book club member, and I'll be returning it to her tomorrow!! ;-)...more
Hey, how could I not like a book with this title?? ;-)
This is a graphic novel, that seems to be a combination of manga and steampunk. Our plucky heroiHey, how could I not like a book with this title?? ;-)
This is a graphic novel, that seems to be a combination of manga and steampunk. Our plucky heroine is being raised by relatives, after the mysterious disappearance of her father. She's studying at Transylvania Polygnostic University, trying to learn the secrets of science, but apparently has no aptitude for it. Events transpire to put her in danger, and bring her into contact with a cute boy (natch) and her hidden talents become less hidden.
A fun story with a girl who has brains and courage. I love the world that the author has created. Looking forward to volume 2!...more
I have heard about this book (series) for a long time and finally decided I'd better read it and see what all the fuss was about. Neil Gaiman is one oI have heard about this book (series) for a long time and finally decided I'd better read it and see what all the fuss was about. Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors, and I've come to appreciate graphic novels these past few years, so I was optimistic that I would like it. And I did.
This book is a series of stories originally published separately. The series is about "The Sandman" - you know, the guy who puts sand in your eyes and makes you dream while you sleep. In this series, he is one of a race of immortals, known as "The Endless" (along with his sister, Death). The set of stories are all sequential, but each one has its own feel to it. Many reminded me of some of the horror comics I read as a child (tho, much better story & artwork!).
The Sandman is an intriguing character, and I plan to read more in the series (book #2 is on order!)...more
Picked this up for fun because Randy and I love the movie. I hadn't realized it was a book until I watched the credits all the way thru. so I decidedPicked this up for fun because Randy and I love the movie. I hadn't realized it was a book until I watched the credits all the way thru. so I decided I'd get the book and see if it was as good as the movie – and it is! It's a great story of a misfit girl (Bliss aka “Babe Ruthless” Cavendish”, in a small Texas town. She's totally indie/punk/emo and her mom is totally into beauty pageants – she wants bliss to be the local beauty queen, just as she was. Bliss just wants out of town.
By accident, Bliss discovers the world of roller derby, tries out for a team and discovers she's really, really good at it! She can be herself, and is surrounded by a bunch of other misfits, who, together, form a kind of family for Bliss. (Unlike her totally 'uncool' real family.)
As with any coming of age story about a girl, there is a boy. There is some sneaking around and lying to the parents. There is some BFF conflict. But even if it is a bit predictable (the book's ending is a little less realistic than the movie), the character of Bliss and her thoughts and observations keep things fresh. There are many laugh-out-loud scenes, and several that reminded me why I'm glad I'm not 16 anymore!
A fun read, and I'd recommend it to teenage girls (or those who used be teenage girls). There are some scenes that some parents may find objectionable - no, the sex is not explicit, but it's there, along with shoplifting – but even Bliss ends up learning about the consequences of bad choices, and also something about the love of parents, even those who aren't 'cool'!...more
OK, I admit, as a native Montanan, I'm a sucker for books about growing up and living there. (e.g. anything by Ivan Doig) But I hdan't heard of this aOK, I admit, as a native Montanan, I'm a sucker for books about growing up and living there. (e.g. anything by Ivan Doig) But I hdan't heard of this author before – my sister stumbled across the book in the Goodwill store in Moscow, ID and brought it home for my dad to read, and then I borrowed it and read it.
It takes place in the fictional town of Bentrock, in the NE corner of Montana. Though the town is fictional, its people and their struggles, prejudices and relations are very real. The author has captured life in small town Montana quite well.
And as any good book about small town Montana, Indians play a role. And in this novel, a critical role.
The narrator is a young boy, from the prominent family in the region, whose father is the county sheriff. Events arise that uncover some shameful secrets in the family, and what happens when those secrets come to the surface. The young boy, as most boys, both idolizes and also feels distant from his father. And sometimes a bit ashamed of him (he doesn't carry a gun on duty, for one thing). Seeing the story through someone's eyes who is connected (by blood) but also apart from (by age) gives us a unique vantage point.
I suppose you could call it a 'coming of age' story, as, certainly, at the end, our narrator is not the naïve child he was at the beginning. It's also very much a 'classic' western story, with much of the tension of “High Noon” or “3:10 to Yuma”. It's also a bit of a myth-buster, showing the sordid truth of much of Western race relations, that many people don't want to hear or believe.
I found it quite powerful and full of truth....more
This is the 3rd book in the 'Fourth Realm Trilogy'. The trilogy is about 'the vast machine' of personal electronic data, collected by everything we doThis is the 3rd book in the 'Fourth Realm Trilogy'. The trilogy is about 'the vast machine' of personal electronic data, collected by everything we do these days, and the problems of privacy and security that can arise if 'the wrong people' get control of this information. But it's told in a bit of a science-fictiony/fantasy mode, in that there are certain people (Travelers) who, throughout history, have been the ones to move humanity forward and speak up for peace and justice (think Da Vinci or Gandhi). These travelers have the ability to leave this 'realm' and travel to other realms (alternate reality). In addition to the travelers, there are normal humans who have sworn to protect the travelers - these are the Harlequins. (Think ninja assassins crossed with James Bond)
The premise of the trilogy is that there is a secret group (*sigh*, isn't there always??) called The Brethren, trying to use the Vast Machine to create the perfect society, where everyone is controlled. Their goal is very 1984/Brave New World/Fahrenheit 451-ish. They manage to get a 'bad' traveler to help them. He travels to one of the other realms and brings back designs for ever-increasingly complex and powerful computers, which they use to increase their ability to track everyone. Meanwhile, there is a 'good' traveler (brother to the 'bad' one), several Harlequins and a motley crew of 'off-the-grid' types are attempting to stop Brethren and their nefarious plans.
I was drawn to the trilogy by its first book (The Traveler), in which one of the main protagonists is a female Harlequin named Maya. (Did I mention Harelquins carry swords?? :-) And I was also drawn by the fact that the author's real name is not John Twelve Hawks, and that no one has seen him and that he lives completely off-the-grid. The first book was very exciting, as we see the reality of the omnipresent Vast Machine and learn of those fighting against it. Lots of good action!
However, the last 2 books of the trilogy are less gripping, though this 3rd one is a bit better than the 2nd. In the 2nd & 3rd books we spend a lot of time mucking about in the other realms (one of which is Hell), and there's really not a lot done to move the plot forward. I got the impression that the author had this "cool" idea about other realms and people who go there, and wanted to work this into the books. Because, personally, I think the series would have been much more effective without the mystical mumbo-jumbo. The issues of electronic privacy, surveillance, security, etc are very real, and don't need to be 'spiced' up with this un-real stuff. And, I'm getting very tired of all of these hidden societies trying to run the world (Illuminati, etc). This is trite, and, truth be told, takes away from the real threat of electronic privacy issues. I think it's way scarier to think that we are giving away our privacy in the name of 'security', not because some secret society is trying to take over the world, but because we're not willing to get out of our comfortable, consumerist world and open our eyes, so we let well-meaning governments whittle away at our privacy. THAT is scary - because it's REAL. Bringing in the whole secret society thing just makes the real issue seem fictional.
Now, this is not to say I didn't enjoy the books. But I really think they could have been better. And, I have to say that unless you really like all the mystical other realm stuff, and the secret-society-plotting-to-take-over-the-world stuff, just read the first book. You don't get anything else new from the subsequent books. But, for sure, Maya kicks a$$! :-)...more
I'm not really much of a finance-wonk, but I was interested in this book because I visited Iceland the day the people threw out all the politicians whI'm not really much of a finance-wonk, but I was interested in this book because I visited Iceland the day the people threw out all the politicians who caused the nation's financial collapse and elected a whole new administration. And, knowing some Icelanders personally, I was interested to read what an "outsider" thought of the whole fiasco. (I also enjoyed references to places in Iceland that I've seen)
I was a bit worried that this book would be full of all kinds of boring financial stuff, but it was really interesting. The author really got into the *people* behind the collapse - what motivated them, what went wrong, etc. It really was fascinating - kind of like a soap opera! (Sadly, the results of the collapse were no fantasy...)
The author makes the point that seeing what happened in a small country (total population is just over 300,000) makes it easier to grasp what went wrong world-wide. And I have to say that I have a much better understanding of what caused the global financial collapse after reading this.
The book was short, and very easy to read - not dull or boring, which was a relief! Certainly, it's a niche market book, but anyone who is interested in understanding what happened, without having to wade through pages of graphs & numbers would get a lot out of this book. Plus you really get to understand the Icelandic psyche! So, I quite enjoyed it!...more