Kelly Sedinger's Reviews > A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books

A Gentle Madness by Nicholas A. Basbanes
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 2019-reads, historical, books-about-books
Read 2 times. Last read January 2, 2019 to January 6, 2019.

I've had this book since it came out in 1995, and I read it back then and have intended to re-read it for several years now. I finally got 'round to it now, and this is STILL a wonderful book about book collecting and book collectors, and the sometimes obsessive and colorful lives they lead...even the ones, like Stephen Blumberg, who resort to crime in order to satiate their desire to own the books they covet. Lots of insight here into the kind of person who develops the collecting bug, and it's especially interesting to note what becomes of many of the collections profiled here. Some have been kept intact for centuries (the library of Samuel Pepys is still kept in his own bookcases!), while others are dispersed for financial reasons or for other reasons (some collectors see selling off their books individually as a way of "paying it forward" for the next generation of collectors).

Basbanes has a wonderfully warm and engaging style, and this book should be welcomed by anyone whose life involves books in whatever way they wish.

One small coda to this is that many of the subjects Basbanes profiled when he wrote this book 25 years ago were already on in years, and many have since died and the collections have already moved on. This gives the book a slightly elegiac tone now.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
June 17, 2014 – Shelved
January 2, 2019 – Started Reading
January 6, 2019 – Shelved as: 2019-reads
January 6, 2019 – Shelved as: historical
January 6, 2019 – Shelved as: books-about-books
January 6, 2019 – Finished Reading

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