The Library Book by Susan Orlean


I finished listening to this book yesterday.  Must get it back to the library quickly because there is a queue of people waiting for it, as I waited for it before them.

This book is nominally about the devastating fire at the Los Angeles Central Library in 1986, on the same day as the Chernobyl accident which meant that there was limited coverage of it in the news.  The details of the fire and its aftermath are fascinating but there is so much more than the fire in this book.

Orlean spools out the entire history of the Los Angeles library system over the course of her narrative.  There are quite colorful characters associated with the library all along the way.  Wonderfully interesting stories.  I don’t want to spoil your pleasure by reciting any of them.

Orlean writes movingly about her trips to the local library with her mother when she was a child.  Ultimately, those experiences were the impetus for her deciding to take up this subject.

I’d be surprised if book lovers such as yourselves did not dig this book.  I’m telling all of my friends about it.  Long live libraries!

11 comments on “The Library Book by Susan Orlean”

  1. Teri, this one has been on my radar for awhile and is on my “for later” shelf at the library. Perhaps it is time to get my hands on it. : )

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yup. Go for it, there might be a long line. Just wait until you read about “The Great Library War” long ago.


  2. I love libraries. Our small local library is downtown. It’s a wonderful community space that is used for all kinds of events beyond book browsing. It’s great there is a popular book out there that reminds us of how precious our libraries are! Thanks for the review.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome, Barbara. I hope that your local library has at least one copy. I mean, really, how could a public library not put this one on its acquisition list?


  3. Oh, good. Thanks for letting me know. I’m trying to get my friend’s reading group to take it up.


  4. For those who love libraries and cats, “Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World” (a true story) is light reading and lots of fun. Sometimes that is just what I need to stay sane! “The Library Book” is on my reading list. The good news is that our local library has it–the bad news is that there is a waiting list–the good news is that it is popular!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dewey is a great name for that cat! Yup, I had to stand in a long line to get my hands on the audiobook. Sometimes the audiobook line is shorter than the book book line, I’ve found.


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