The Library Book

The Library Book

Book - 2018
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Orlean re-opens the unsolved mystery of the most catastrophic library fire in American history and delivers a love letter to the institution of libraries themselves.
Publisher: New York :, Simon and Schuster,, 2018
Edition: First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781476740188
Branch Call Number: 027.4794 ORL
Characteristics: 317 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


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Aug 23, 2019

Interesting read if you live in California and are familiar with the LA public library.

Jul 27, 2019

A book to treasure! Ostensibly an account of the 1986 fire that devastated the Los Angeles Central Library, The Library Book is a love-letter to all libraries and librarians. After savoring this as a library loan on Kindle, I felt compelled to buy the hardcover edition to keep and share with my daughter who is studying to become a librarian.

Jul 26, 2019

The book tells about the fire that closed the main LA library but this book is also a interesting read for anyone who enjoys libraries and would like to know more about the history of how they came to be, what functions they served as they grew and what the future will have in store for the users of the library. I found it interesting that budget cuts have always had to have people's services limited.

Jul 24, 2019

Ostensibly a reportage of the fire that engulfed Los Angeles’s Central Library on April 28, 1986, “The Library Book” is so much more. Susan Orlean weaves a rich and layered tapestry as she flits from strand to strand, from past to present, from one unforgettable character to the next, crafting a story that is part true crime, part history, part memoir. It is an ode to and celebration of books, of libraries, and of librarians. Orlean is a book lover, and this is a book lover’s book: a book for those of us who frequent their local library, who amble and linger too long in bookstores, who relish in the smell of paper and ink, who’d rather browse the collections of strangers than mingle with other party guests, who know that the books on someone’s shelf can tell you everything you need to know about him.

Still, this is a slight book, one that often feels padded, as if there wasn’t enough content down any one avenue to carry the full story. I’ve seen documentaries that clearly had to make the best of a hypothesis gone sideways, but this might be the first book I’ve read that gave me that same feeling. It’s a minor complaint, one that’s easy to make when it’s also so easy to imagine a long-form New Yorker article, where Orlean is a staff writer, that accomplishes more with less. Despite the nitpicking, there is much here for booklovers to savor. If you count yourselves one of the multitude, this quick read is well worth your time.

Jul 20, 2019

Author writes of her life-long love of libraries and all they represent while also telling the tale of the 1986 fire in the Los Angeles Central Library and the man believed by many to be the arsonist.

An engaging well-told tale. Amazing how author seamlessly takes us on a journey of mystery, history, people and places having to do with libraries. Impressive.

Jul 18, 2019

wonderfully written...characters of all types and a curirous author who wants to know their stories...but also willing to show us that there was no cut and dry answer about the cause of the fire , as well as the sad fate of the prime suspect...a cornucopia of information about libraries and their importance to us in the so called information or digital beloved institutions which bring us together in real time as well as virtual sure to look at the inside of the back's a treat

Jul 10, 2019

Best I've read in a long time. Orlean takes the horrendous LA Public Library fire of 1986 and uses it as the catalyst (unintended pun) to share the history of the LAPL and public libraries in general. Mix in true crime, mystery, and humor, and you've got a book that held my attention throughout my four-day beach vacation.

JCLHeatherM Jun 26, 2019

An elegant and heartfelt love letter to the public library system from an author who wrote the book in an effort to retain the memories of her youth visiting the library with her mother (who passed midway through the writing of the book). Orlean's attention to detail and her willingness to delve into every nook and cranny of of the storied Los Angeles Public Library creates a compelling narrative that depicts the ultimate highs and devastating lows of the organization's history.

Orlean champions the good fight that library professionals pursue in order to create fair and equitable services for sectors of the population that may be overlooked.

Jun 25, 2019

It seemed to me that too much time was devoted to the search for a suspect in the April 29, 1986 fire at the Central Library and I was tired of hearing about Harry Peak by the end of the book. The constant jumping back and forth between the history of the library and the search for a suspect detracted from the rest of the book. One chapter on the fire in the appropriate place in the history would have been sufficient. Otherwise, a good book covering the history of the Los Angeles Public Library and the operations and functions of libraries in general.

Jun 16, 2019

Interesting story about the LA Public Library Fire in 1986 but I didn’t enjoy the style. It took too long to reveal the outcome of the arsonist. Some interesting history about some of the people who worked there.

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Aug 01, 2019

"In Senegal, the polite expression for saying someone died is to say his or her library has burned....our minds and souls contain volumes inscribed by our experiences and emotions; each individual's consciousness is a collection of memories we've cataloged and stored inside us, a private library of a life lived. It is something that no one else can entirely share; one that burns down and disappears when we die. But if you can take something from that internal collection and share it--with one person or with the larger world, on the page or in a story recited - it takes on a life of its own."

Jul 08, 2019

“Sometimes it's harder to notice a place you think you know well; your eyes glide over it, seeing it but not seeing it at all. It's almost as if familiarity gives you a kind of temporary blindness. I had to force myself to look harder and try to see beyond the concept of library that was so latent in my brain.”

Mar 19, 2019

"When I first learned that the library had a shipping department ... I couldn't think of anything a library needed to ship. I came to learn that what gets shipped ... [are] books traveling from one branch to another. The shipping department at Central moves thirty-two thousand books - the equivalent of an entire branch library - around the city of Los Angeles five days a week. It is as if the city has a bloodstream flowing through it, oxygenated by books." (p. 61)

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Jan 30, 2019

MelissaBee thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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