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!