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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Full details for this title
|Library of Congress
||Libraries - Social aspects, Libraries - California - Los Angeles, Arson - California - Los Angeles
||History: Specific Subjects
Description of this Book
A New York Times Book of the Year, 2018 A dazzling love letter to a beloved institution - our libraries. 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.
Awards, Reviews & Star Ratings
||Orlean has a knack for finding compelling stories in unlikely places. * Kathryn Hughes, Guardian * 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 *
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 New York and may be reached at SusanOrlean.com and Twitter.com/SusanOrlean.