This book, Among The Gently Mad, Strategies and Perspectives for the Book Hunter in the Twenty-First Century follows the authors previous books, "A Gently Madness and Patience & Fortitude".
The book is ahow-to guide for the aspiring bibliophile. It explores all sides of this hobby and obsession. Some of the authors own history comes through especially as he comments on places visited around the county.
"Every book collection is a form of narrative. It follows a plot line that emerges as much as a reflection of personality as purpose". Basbanes adds that;
"A shelf of books bespeaks the soul whose hands have put it there."
The insight into why this is the case is very interesting. These thoughts are why the book was so appealing to me.
A short trip to my own library confirms the truths spoken here. You might find yourself rearranging your own library shelves in order to put the best story together, because it is indeed there on the shelf. It tells who you are.
In Chapter 4 an approach to book collecting is distilled into three words. Rarity, scarcity, and value. Each of these are discussed at length.
Basbanes says that, in his opinion, you shouldn’t seek books just because they are old or expensive. Instead he present insight into many possible reasons including focusing on authors, subject, and time periods. He discusses the internet and offers some great suggestions but he points out that for all its help there is still no substitute for going out into the marketplace and meeting people at the book fairs, open shops, auctions, flea markets and knowing what to look for.