Friday, February 1, 2019

Book Review - The Library Book by Susan Orlean


The Library Book by Susan Orlean is another well written non-fiction book by a talented writer. Just from a tidbit of an old news clipping, she became interested in the 1986 catastrophic library fire in Los Angeles. It occurred the same day as the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown in Russia. Thus it did not make the news headlines. However, after seven hours, 400,000 books were consumed and 700,000  were damaged. Collections, rare manuscripts, and other print pieces were destroyed.

Orlean  introduces us to an engaging cast of employees and patrons, delves into the evolution of libraries, reflects upon her childhood experiences in libraries, and scrutinizes the man long suspected of setting the fire. (cover blurb)

The Library Book reads like a mystery. Orlean deftly sets the stage, gives us history, weaves in personal stories, and shows the importance of libraries in the community. A full chapter discusses the issue of homelessness and how the Los Angeles library handles a growing social problem. It’s rather mind-boggling. Libraries today are more than a repository of books. They offers tech support and computer usage to many, they engage kids in various programs like a Dr. Seuss festival and more, classes are taught, and  book clubs meet. The library tends to be a place where all can feel welcome. And libraries are often incredibly underfunded.

This book (which I did get out of the library) is not dry. It’s an engaging, entertainment read.  Visit your local library and be surprised. Check it out!

11 comments:

  1. A great review Joanne indeed Susan Orlean do appear to be a talented writer.

    Enjoy your weekend.
    Yvonne.

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    1. she is quite interesting and does a lot of research. She makes the nonfiction read like fiction.

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  2. It's rather fitting that you got this book from the library. :)

    Sounds like a great read. Have a super weekend. (Did you hula...???)

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    1. I did find it amusing to get the library book from the library. No chance to hula at work. Really did not want to scare the "boys". Ha.

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  3. Gosh, I don't even remember that fire - and I was in LA at the time. Sobering. But thank you for this fine review, Joanne. As always, I learn as much from your reviews as I do from books. (And you inspire me to read more. I need to get back to that.)

    Happy Friday and weekend.

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    1. I do try to read at least as much as I Neflix. That can be an easy time suck. But you've certainly been busy with your community - that's very important too. Take care and enjoy your weekend

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    1. that is a big event here. Also, they host a Mardi Gras Casino night for adults. Fun all around and books too!

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  5. This sounds like a fascinating book. I don't remember hearing anything about this fire before.

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  6. Hi Joanne - I'm going to try and get this book ... and find out how our libraries work here - not sure I can get all books ... but I shall see - cheers Hilary

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  7. thank you for substitute invincible article. where else may want to all of us collect that saintly of make public in any such obtain quirk of writing? i've a presentation adjacent week, and i am concerning the see for such facts. private investigator

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