- Description: I am the curator of law rare books at the University of Illinois College of Law. I have been researching rare book crime since about 2004 when I started writing my first book. (It was somewhat misleadingly titled The Book Thief, even though the thief in question stole more than just books. I also would have liked the title to make clear that the point of the narrative was the federal legal procedure that followed the theft, not the theft itself. One of the (many)lessons I learned with that book was that authors have little control over things like the title of their book.)
In 2008, I started teaching a class on rare book crime at Illinois, and have done so, about once a year, since then. I began what became Thieves of Book Row (a title I like, by the way) as part of a chapter in another book. I became so interested in the subject that I simply could not stop researching it.
A short note on the ratings I assign books I read (which a quick look will suggest is generous): I only "rate" books that I can give at least four stars to. That is, I read books (plenty of them) that deserve fewer than four stars - so I simply don't rate them on Goodreads. There is nothing at all wrong with giving one's opinion on a book - positive or negative - but as an author who has books up for review, I feel bad giving other authors negative (or, I guess, even mediocre) ratings. I know what negative ratings feel like.