Publisher: Owl Book/Henry Holt and Co.; 1st edition (1996)
Product Dimensions: 4 x 3 x 2 inches
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #1,545,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #107 in Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Antiques & Collectibles > Paper Ephemera & Cards > Paper Ephemera #1903 in Books > Literature & Fiction > History & Criticism > Books & Reading > General
For quite some time now (more than 20 years) I have classified myself as a bibliophile. In my mind that means I love books...everything about them from reading them to collecting them and in my dreams I like to write them. So it was with great anticipation that I began to read "A Gentle Madness" by Nicholas A. Basbanes.The title alone is fantastic. I can think of no better way to describe the often illogical mania people like me have for books. We are, I think mad in many ways and yet it is a non-threatening sort of madness. I have been crazy about books since I was a little boy and used to gaze up at my parents crowded book shelves in the living room. And to this day, when I have a couple of minutes to spare, I love to glance over the titles in my own library at home, reminiscing about past reads and anticipating future adventures. A gentle madness indeed.Mr Basbanes does a fantastic job of cataloguing most of the famous and infamous bibliomaniacs in history. He describes the famous historical collectors as well as modern examples. He discusses what they do and how they do it and somehow is able to get into their psyches and examine why they do it. Of course not all are the same but they all do seem to share the same indescribable love for books. Some collect for the benefit of mankind while others do it for their own bragging rights. I enjoyed reading about the collections that 19th and 20th century collectors put together, fantasizing about what it would be like to be rich enough to build the kind of library they could. But I think I preferred reading about the more common person who put aside other pleasures of life in order to pursue their passion on a more modest basis. I guess I identify more with them.
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