The Library Book

The Library Book

Book - 2018 | First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition
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"Susan Orlean reopens the unsolved mystery of the most catastrophic library fire in American history, and delivers a dazzling love letter to a beloved institution--our libraries"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Simon and Schuster, 2018
Edition: First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781476740188
1476740186
9781476740195
1476740194
Branch Call Number: 027.479494 ORL
Characteristics: 317 pages : illustraions ; 25 cm

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List - Saturday Book Club
andkel Mar 23, 2020

We will be discussing this book March 14, 2002 at 1:00 p.m. This book is part of the Coronado Community Read.

List - Saturday Book Club
andkel Feb 07, 2020

We will be discussing this book March 14, 2002 at 1:00 p.m. This book is part of the Coronado Community Read.


From the critics


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FPL_Sunita May 12, 2021

An absolutely fascinating nonfiction book about libraries. This captivating true crime mystery traces the events surrounding the catastrophic Los Angeles Public Library fire of April 28, 1986, which accounted for the destruction of over a million books. An absolute must-read for all library lovers.

IndyPL_TheresaC Apr 25, 2021

I absolutely love this book! Orleans writes of the importance of libraries; important to herself and the world. The vivid description of the fire and destruction of the Los Angeles Public library in 1986 is heartbreaking; however, the author reminds readers that, “library fires have been around since the Library of Alexandria; during World War II,” Added to the story is the biographical tale of Harry Peak, an unusual figure who was accused of setting the fire due to his boisterous claims of having been at the library on the day of the fire, and the elaborate personal stories that changed whenever he retold them. As someone who thrived on attention – positive or negative, it's hard to determine if Harry set the fire for the attention then realized he made a mistake, if all of his stories were fabrications or if he is even guilty of setting the fire. Anyone who loves libraries and library work will enjoy this book from beginning to end.

m
Monkeybuns
Mar 14, 2021

Engaging read for anyone who loves books and enjoys libraries. Built around the story of the devastating fire at the Los Angeles Central Library in 1986, Orlean covers the colorful history of the library and everything that goes on there, licit or not.

7
728_emily
Dec 28, 2020

This book was an absolute delight! I love libraries, and I learned so much from this engaging book about libraries past and present. Now I feel even more excited for the day when I can sit and read in the library again like normal.

k
Kit_k
Dec 15, 2020

Thoroughly enjoyed this one. Part true-crime, part colourful history of the LA Central Library and all love story for libraries and the unique people who visit and work in them. Recommend!

d
DBooks_0
Dec 06, 2020

Absolutely loved this book. Loved the various stories that were told.

u
uncommonreader
Aug 15, 2020

A love letter to all libraries and the wonderful people who work in them.
One cannot overestimate their value to the community.

s
supernova_reader
Aug 13, 2020

Very enjoyable read. Orlean is a great storyteller, and I liked how the story expanded to explore interesting asides about the history of libraries and the people who appreciate them. I couldn't stop telling people around me cool tidbits I learned from this book!

IndyPL_ShainaS Jun 19, 2020

I love how Orlean's conversational voice draws the reader in. Her love for libraries and stories and history is compelling, and a reflection of my own love. It's a strange main tale to be sure, of a devastating library fire and the enigmatic compulsive liar who possibly set it, woven around a series of vignettes about the many aspects of library service. Some of Orlean's musings felt like a strike to my heart; others felt a little flat or unfinished. Overall, I think Orlean did a lovely job of conveying the power of libraries and how they'll be around for as long as people wish to hold onto stories.

c
cdarin11
Jun 15, 2020

What a treat! Have been able to spend the time at home with "The Library Book". Have been following up on Charles F. Lummis one of the more colorful librarians. Reading his "A Tramp across the Continent" . He walked for 143 days from Cincinnati to Los Angeles starting in sept 11, 1884. Hope the book and I survive the corona virus.

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IndyPL_ShainaS Jun 19, 2020

You don't need to take a book off a shelf to know there is a voice inside that is waiting to speak to you, and behind that was someone who truly believed that if he or she spoke, someone would listen. It was that affirmation that always amazed me. Even the oddest, most particular book was written with that kind of crazy courage--the writer's belief that someone would find his or her book important to read. I was struck by how precious and foolish and brave that belief is, and how necessary, and how full of hope it is to collect these books and manuscripts and preserve them. It declares that all these stories matter, and so does every effort to create something that connects us to one another, and to our past and to what is still to come.

IndyPL_ShainaS Jun 19, 2020

The idea of being forgotten is terrifying... Writing a book, just like building a library, is an act of sheer defiance. It is a declaration that you believe in the persistence of memory.

IndyPL_ShainaS Jun 19, 2020

Any book accidentally shelved in the sections that burned; we will never know what they were, so we cannot know what we are missing.

IndyPL_ShainaS Jun 19, 2020

It wasn't that time stopped in the library. It was as if it were captured here, collected here, and in all libraries--and not only my time, my life, but all human time as well. In the library, time is dammed up--not just stopped but saved. The library is a gathering pool of narratives and of the people who come to find them. It is where we can glimpse immortality; in the library, we can live forever.

t
thebritlass
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."

p
Panchesco
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.”

l
Liber_vermis
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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mrlacroix
Sep 05, 2019

mrlacroix thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

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MelissaBee
Jan 30, 2019

MelissaBee thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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