The Library Book (Large Print / Library Binding)
In 1986, the Los Angeles Public Library burned. The fire raged for more than seven hours; over one million books were damaged or destroyed. The Library Book starts off like a gripping true crime investigation into the arson, then transforms. As the narrative picks up steam, Orlean weaves a skein of diverging threads into the plot. Some are personal—parts of the book read like a memoir. Some are told chronologically, others in bits and pieces. And some are there just for the hell of it. Along the way, Orlean dabbles in investigative journalism, packs in plenty of cameos by larger-than-life historical figures, and waxes poetic on the importance of shared public space. In the end, The Library Book emerges as much more than the story of a fire. It’s an ode to librarians, a celebration of stories, and a history of LA through the lens of its libraries. Orlean writes with catching enthusiasm—you'll be engrossed before you know it.
November 2018 Indie Next List
“There is no one better at investigating the fascinating stories hiding in plain sight than Susan Orlean. The vivid descriptions of the fire that engulfed the Los Angeles Central Library in 1986 are burnished by the meticulous research she did on the history of libraries and on the shocking event that resulted in the destruction and damage of over one million books. The mystery of who would start such a fire is woven between stories of eccentric librarians and the transformation of Los Angeles in the 20th century. From memories of the blissful hours spent in the library of her youth to the historical significance of these repositories of our past, Orlean has crafted a love letter to the importance of the written word and those who devote their lives to its preservation.”
— Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA