Sunday, December 27, 2009

Books about Books

Over the past few months I've read several books I've enjoyed that are about, well, books. I'll put the spotlight on some of my favorites.

John Dunning's Cliff Janeway Series

Booked to Die (Cliff Janeway Novels)(Booked to Die is the first book in this series)
Description: "Denver homicide detective Cliff Janeway may not always play by the book, but he is an avid collector of rare and first editions. After a local bookscout is killed on his turf, Janeway would like nothing better than to rearrange the suspect's spine. But the suspect, local lowlife Jackie Newton, is a master at eluding the law, and Janeway's wrathful brand of off-duty justice costs him his badge.

Turning to his lifelong passion, Janeway opens a small bookshop -- all the while searching for evidence to put Newton away. But when prized volumes in a highly sought-after collection begin to appear, so do dead bodies. Now, Janeway's life is about to start a precarious new chapter as he attempts to find out who's dealing death along with vintage Chandlers and Twains."
Genre: Fiction- Action/Thriller

Allison Hoover Bartlett's The Man Who Loved Books Too Much
The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary ObsessionDescription:"Rare-book theft is even more widespread than fine-art theft. Most thieves, of course, steal for profit. John Charles Gilkey steals purely for the love of books. In an attempt to understand him better, journalist Allison Hoover Bartlett plunged herself into the world of book lust and discovered just how dangerous it can be.

Gilkey is an obsessed, unrepentant book thief who has stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of rare books from book fairs, stores, and libraries around the country. Ken Sanders is the self-appointed "bibliodick" (book dealer with a penchant for detective work) driven to catch him. Bartlett befriended both outlandish characters and found herself caught in the middle of efforts to recover hidden treasure. With a mixture of suspense, insight, and humor, she has woven this entertaining cat-and-mouse chase into a narrative that not only reveals exactly how Gilkey pulled off his dirtiest crimes, where he stashed the loot, and how Sanders ultimately caught him but also explores the romance of books, the lure to collect them, and the temptation to steal them. Immersing the reader in a rich, wide world of literary obsession, Bartlett looks at the history of book passion, collection, and theft through the ages, to examine the craving that makes some people willing to stop at nothing to possess the books they love."

Genre: Non-Fiction- True Crime

Kate Carlisle's Bibliophile Mysteries
Homicide in Hardcover: A Bibliophile Mystery(Homicide in Hardcover is the first in this series, with the second, If Books Could Kill, due out in paperback in February 2010)
Description: "The streets of San Francisco would be lined with hardcovers if rare book expert Brooklyn Wainwright had her way. And her mentor wouldn’t be lying in a pool of his own blood on the eve of a celebration for his latest book restoration.

With his final breath he leaves Brooklyn a cryptic message, and gives her a priceless—and supposedly cursed—copy of Goethe’s Faust for safekeeping.

Brooklyn suddenly finds herself accused of murder and theft, thanks to the humorless—but attractive—British security officer who finds her kneeling over the body. Now she has to read the clues left behind by her mentor if she is going to restore justice… "

Genre: Fiction: Mystery/Cozy Mystery

Since I can always read books about books, I'm going to keep this as an ongoing series as I find them. Got any recommendations on where I should look next? Let me know in the comments!


  1. I absolutely cannot wait for the next installment of the Bibliophile mysteries. LOVED Homicide in Hardcover, and it just whetted my appetite for more. I also have The Man Who Loved Books Too Much on my TBR pile.

  2. Me too! I wanted to put "Murder is Binding" up to, but I haven't read that yet. I'll save it for the next post in the Books about Books series, and I'll include the new Carlisle book. The Man Who book just made me want to be uber rich and go spend zillions of dollars on antiquarian books :)