A Gentle Madness Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books

A Gentle Madness Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books

by Nicholas Basbanes

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When first published, A Gentle Madness astounded and delighted readers about the passion and expense a collector is willing to make in pursuit of the book. Written before the emergence of the Internet but newly updated for the 21st Century reader, A Gentle Madness captures that last moment in time when collectors pursued their passions in dusty bookshops and street stalls, high stakes auctions, and the subterfuge worthy of a true bibliomaniac. An adventure among the afflicted, A Gentle Madness is vividly anecdotal and thoroughly researched. Nicholas Basbanes brings an investigative reporter's heart to illuminate collectors past and present in their pursuit of bibliomania. Now a timeless classic of collecting, no lover of books can miss A Gentle Madness.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940015265255
Publisher: Fine Books Press
Publication date: 05/30/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 633
Sales rank: 343,010
File size: 6 MB

About the Author

Nicholas A. Basbanes is the author of eight books about various aspects of books and book culture. His first, A Gentle Madness, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1995, and was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. An award-winning investigative reporter during the early 1970s, Basbanes was literary editor of the Worcester Sunday Telegram from 1978 to 1991, and for the next eight years wrote a nationally syndicated column on books and authors. His work on On Paper, a cultural history of paper and papermaking, was supported in part by a National Endowment for the Humanities Research Fellowship, and will be published in 2013 by Alfred A. Knopf. Basbanes lectures widely on various topics, reviews for the Los Angeles Times, and writes a featured column for Fine Books & Collections magazine. He and his wife Constance live in Massachusetts.

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Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes and the Eternal Passion for Books 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Autodafe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Heartfelt and warm. My favourite book on the subject.
DaveFragments on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
And I am happily, blissfully and completely mad about this book. I have a first edition, too.
TheFlamingoReads on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful book. Just the title alone made me want to read it. Since that first time I have read it 3 more times and I recommend it to everyone who shares my passion for books and reading. You'll read about some of the most voracious book collectors known who spent a lifetime and a fortune gathering books that helped to preserve the written word for generations. You'll also meet a few that resorted to thievery - despicable as that sounds, it speaks volumes (pardon the pun) about the overwhelming obsession to own that certain book or books. I can't recommend this book enough to anyone and everyone who needs to know that they are not alone in their addiction.
ElizabethChapman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What a stupendous work of research and scholarship! A Gentle Madness is a dizzyingly erudite romp through the history of books and, most of all, book collecting. There is so much ground to cover that author Basbanes makes you breathless, and occasionally frustrated, at how quickly the ages and collectors parade across the page.The second half of the book, which focuses on collectors of our day, can drag a bit despite the breakneck pace. Basbanes has gathered so much information he is sometimes seduced into providing a bit too much detail. But these are quibbles. A Gentle Madness is a masterful overview of bibliomania in all its incarnations and will be irresistible to anyone who loves books.
richardderus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Oh my God! There are people crazier than me out there!This is one long book, about people who love books to the point of madness, and the world they've created for themselves to play in. It's a delight to go there with a cicerone as astute and witty as Basbanes.Dozens and dozens of modern-day biblioholics are here, and squads and fleets of same from the past. All of them, without exception, sound like they would have been fascinating to know, if not always easy or pleasant. One postal worker who flourished in LA was particularly interesting...now we know how our own Mark-a-doodle-do does it, it's all here in the book!Basbanes clearly enjoyed writing this book, and I suspect had a small case of biblioholism himself. He's just too able to present the upside of the addiction not to be a fellow "sufferer."Yes, it's a doorstop of a thing, but it's fun and it's funny and it's inspiring (probably shouldn't have said that publicly, who knows WHAT The Divine Miss sees); and it should be yours. It's a worthwhile investment!Thank you, Stasia, for my copy, which I will *not* be releasing in the catch-and-release program.
xenchu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A beautifully-made book, even in paperback. This is a history of the marvels and madness of book-collecting in America. It is in two parts, the first part is a history of collecting and the second part the current status of book-collecting.I liked the book. The first part was well researched and the second part was derived from interviews with the collectors including time spent with the greatest bookthief of the twentieth century, Stephen Blumberg.I liked the book. Its author obviously loves books and has made them his life's vocation.
Jinjifore on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Possibly the scariest thing about this book is how much I see myself in it. Well, not to the point of licking bookplates off of library books in the dead of night, but I did feel a certain pang of recognition at the remarks about being more concerned about what will happen to my books when I die than any of my other posessions.Basbanes writes with the sensitivity of the insider who understands the passion for books, but also with the necessary objectivity of the journalist attempting to tell a factual story. It's a difficult balance to maintain, but I felt throughout the book that he managed it quite well. I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves books.
Aetatis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wonderful book detailing the eccentricities of book dealers and librarians.
Paul_S85 More than 1 year ago
Nicholas Basbanes has done the book collecting world 2 favors - one is doing the book in the first place, and the second is keeping it in print with updated editions, and available for all types of readers. You will learn about so many bibliophiles - their habits, their collections. Some you will envy, others will make you scratch your head. The experience is well worth it so I encourage readers to take this journey.
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