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The Library Book

The Library Book

The bestselling author of Rin Tin Tin and The Orchid Thief reopens the unsolved mystery of one of the most catastrophic library fires in history and delivers a dazzling love letter to a beloved institution - our libraries.

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Quick Reference

ISBN 9781782392262
Barcode 9781782392262
Published 14 November 2018 by Atlantic Books
Format Paperback, Export/Airside
Alternate Format(s) View All (6 other possible title(s) available)
Author(s) By Orlean, Susan
Availability In stock at publisher; ships 6-12 working days

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Full details for this title

ISBN-13 9781782392262
ISBN-10 1782392262
Stock Available
Status In stock at publisher; ships 6-12 working days
Publisher Atlantic Books
Imprint Atlantic Books
Publication Date 14 November 2018
Publication Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Format Paperback, Export/Airside
Edition Export/Airside
Author(s) By Orlean, Susan
Category True Crime
Library & Information Services
Social & Cultural History
Number of Pages 336
Dimensions Width: 156mm
Height: 234mm
Spine: 25mm
Weight 510g
Interest Age General Audience
Reading Age General Audience
NBS Text Popular Culture & Media: General Interest
ONIX Text General/trade
Dewey Code 027.479494
Catalogue Code 954047

Description of this Book

After moving to Los Angeles, Susan Orlean became fascinated by a mysterious local crime that has gone unsolved since it was carried out on the morning of 29 April 1986: who set fire to the Los Angeles Public Library, ultimately destroying more than 400,000 books, and perhaps even more perplexing, why? With her characteristic humour, insight and compassion, Orlean uses this terrible event as a lens through which to tell the story of all libraries - their history, their meaning and their uncertain future as they adapt and redefine themselves in a digital world. Filled with heart, passion and extraordinary characters, The Library Book discusses the larger, crucial role that libraries play in our lives.

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Awards, Reviews & Star Ratings

NZ Review After reading Susan Orlean's The Library Book, I'm quite sure I'll never look at libraries, or librarians, the same way again. This is classic Orlean - an exploration of a devastating fire becomes a journey through a world of infinite richness, populated with unexpected characters doing unexpected things, with unexpected passion. -- Erik Larson Susan Orlean has long been one of our finest storytellers, and she proves it again with The Library Book. A beautifully written and richly reported account, it sheds new light on a thirty-year-old mystery - and, what's more, offers a moving tribute to the invaluableness of libraries. -- David Grann This is a book only Susan Orlean could have written. Somehow she manages to transform the story of a library fire into the story of literacy, civil service, municipal infighting and vision, public spaces in an era of increasing privatization and social isolation... and the central role libraries have always and will always play in the life and health of a bustling democracy. Beyond all that, like any good library, it's bursting with incredible tales and characters. There could be no better book for the bookish. -- Dave Eggers Engaging . . . Bibliophiles will love this fact-filled, bookish journey. * Kirkus Reviews * Of course, I will always read anything that Susan Orlean writes - and I would encourage you to do the same, regardless of the topic, because she's always brilliant. But The Library Book is a particularly beautiful and soul-expanding book... It will keep you spellbound from first page to last. -- Elizabeth Gilbert Mesmerizing . . . A riveting mix of true crime, history, biography, and immersion journalism. . . . Probing, prismatic, witty, dramatic, and deeply appreciative, Orlean's chronicle celebrates libraries as sanctuaries, community centers, and open universities run by people of commitment, compassion, creativity, and resilience. * Booklist (starred review) * Vivid . . . Compelling . . . Intimate and epic * Wall Street Journal * An exemplary work of creative non-fiction... I can't recommend this book highly enough. It manages to be deft and serious at the same time, elegiac and optimistic, scrupulous and free-wheeling... just buy it. * Scotland on Sunday * Enthralling and inspirational... Above all, this excellent book is an unashamed love letter to the public library system... In this fine and heartfelt saga, [Orlean] repays a lifelong debt with both passion and elegance. * Alexander Larman, Observer * A loving and diligent portrait of a particular place and its history * Financial Times * Moving . . . A constant pleasure to read . . . Everybody who loves books should check out The Library Book * Washington Post * Exquisitely written, consistently entertaining * New York Times *

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Author's Bio

Susan Orlean has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1992. She is the author of seven books, including Rin Tin Tin, Saturday Night and The Orchid Thief, which was made into the Academy Award-winning film Adaptation. She lives with her family and her animals in Los Angeles and may be reached at SusanOrlean.com and Twitter.com/SusanOrlean.

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