Most helpful critical review
17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Gentle Madness, light, very light
on 29 October 2002
The book I refer to in the title is, "A Gentle Madness" by Nicholas A. Basbanes. If you are not yet prepared to spend the time the 638-page Basbanes book requires, this short story may be amusing.
The book is generally well written, and at times quite funny. Unfortunately there is an arrogance that pervades the book that is as misplaced as it is mean spirited. Perhaps the Authors felt the need to compensate for their neophyte status as book collectors, by making sport of those who truly know books.
Book collecting is complex, and can be extremely expensive for the newcomer. There are several useful pieces of information the Authors learn and share, but it is too often accompanied by their observations about the people and the bookstores they patronize. The learning curve on collecting is a long one, and the dealers who take their time to instruct the novice are more prevalent than you might imagine, and it's been my experience that they ask for nothing in return. Many booksellers just love books, the fact they part with them on occasion through a sale is often almost painful for them.
So do note from this book how not to deal with people, how not to take advantage of their time and their willingness to share it, and then exploit the experience for your own profit. A book collector would never have written in the manner they chose.
This is the result of research done for a book that was written over a cup of coffee, maybe two.