Recent Publications | May 31, 2012

New, Updated Edition of A Gentle Madness

A Gentle Madness is not only the name of the bestselling and most comprehensive book about the passion of book collecting, it has become a widely recognized term to describe the innocent addiction to, and allure of, acquiring books.  Anyone afflicted with this malady is certifiable and in good company.

No one knows this better than the author of A Gentle Madness, Nicholas Basbanes, to whom Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer and historian David McCullough has referred as “our leading authority of books about books.”  

A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books (Fine Books Press, paper, $15.95), originally written before the emergence of the internet, is now available in a new edition, updated for the twenty-first century reader, including a new preface by the author.  Appropriately, it will soon be available digitally for popular ebook readers.

The new edition of Basbanes’ modern classic recalls the end of the Golden Age of collecting—that last moment in time when collectors frequented dusty bookshops, street stalls, and high-stakes auctions, conducting themselves with the subterfuge befitting a true bibliomaniac.  A Gentle Madness is vividly anecdotal and thoroughly researched.  A sweeping and fascinating history of collecting on all levels, it begins with the 2,200-year-old Library of Alexandria, passes through the dawn of Western printing in the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance, and carries through the marvels of twentieth-century collecting.  Basbanes’ new preface updates the reader on many of the personalities and key players in the world of book collecting—people like Haven O’More, Stephen C. Blumberg, William H. Scheide, Howard B. Gottlieb, Leonard Baskin, Peter B. Howard, Mary Hyde Eccles, Glen Dawson, Lou and Ben Weinstein, Michael Zinman, and Charles L. Blockson, among others.

Throughout, Nicholas Basbanes brings an investigative reporter’s heart and instincts to the task of chronicling collectors past and present in their pursuit of bibliomania.  Now a classic of collecting, A Gentle Madness is a book lover’s delight.


A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books ??By Nicholas A. Basbanes ??(A finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year)??

The Definitive Edition, ISBN 978-0-9799491-5-9, Paper, $15.95??

Published by Fine Books Press, 4905 Pine Cone Drive, #2, Durham, North Carolina 27707