How Can One Love Books Too Much?

Literacy and Me

Last week I began a library book I had requested in an effort to start reading “Books about Books,” inspired by a list published by Random House. In the story, John Gilkey, a con artist and professional thief loved books (especially antiquated ones) so much he couldn’t help himself and was driven to steal and own them. Allison Hoover Bartlett, hearing about this criminal, decided to interview Gilkey and Ken Sanders, a man whose life’s wish was to outsmart Gilkey, track him down, and arrest him. It is a fascinating true narrative which reads as smoothly and interestingly as any novel. Here is the author’s description of how Gilkey’s passion became an obsession.

“Gilkey told me that when he holds a rare book, he smells its age, feels its crispness, makes sure there’s nothing wrong with it, and opens it up very gently. He thumbs through a few pages. If…

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FACES OF OPPRESSION AND THE PRICE OF JUSTICE, A Woman’s Journey from Eritrea to Saudi Arabia and Then The United States: A Review


Published in 2017 by Dewit O. Woldu and Irvin Bromall, this “composite story” reflects refugees’ experiences in seeking asylum in the USA.  Woldu relays the story of “Natsnet” who journeyed from Eritrea to Saudi Arabia, then finally to Florida. The book is a personal ethnography dealing with abuse of human rights and the “burdens that refugees on our shores carry with them.” Natsnet fled from the “traumas of war and political repression in Eritrea to the gendered and sexual violence accompanying her work as a live-in maid,” in Saudia Arabia. When I thought, “Thank goodness, she is in the U.S!” the author details the “obstacles and cultural biases of the bureaucracy ” of the confusing, molasses-slow processes of immigration control and the slow-grind of the U.S. judicial system. As a reader, this was all new information to me. My heart began to align with immigrants from all countries seeking asylum…

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I am reading a fantastic book by Fiona Davis, a novelist from New York, who has written three novels, all set in iconic New York buildings erected during the 1920s and 1930s. The Dollhouse is structured around the Barbizon, an early hotel that offered a chaperoned environment to single young ladies seeking secretarial and modeling careers.  The Address, Davis’s second novel is set at The Dakota, the famous New York apartment building with a rich history (coincidentally where John Lennon was shot), and now my new favorite, The Masterpiece, featuring the Art School above Grand Central Station/Terminal.  All three novels stand independently and are not sequels.  I can honestly say this novel is her best yet.

Davis offers readers mystery, love, complex relationships, plot twists and turns, and her forte–problematic communication issues between characters. So far it is a GREAT read.

Here is a teaser, randomly taken from the middle of the…

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