Susan Orlean

The Library Book

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A New York Times Book of the Year, 2018
A dazzling love letter to a beloved institution - our libraries.
After moving to Los Angeles, Susan Orlean became fascinated by a mysterious local crime that has gone unsolved since it was carried out on the morning of 29 April 1986: who set fire to the Los Angeles Public Library, ultimately destroying more than 400,000 books, and perhaps even more perplexing, why?
With her characteristic humour, insight and compassion, Orlean uses this terrible event as a lens through which to tell the story of all libraries — their history, their meaning and their uncertain future as they adapt and redefine themselves in a digital world.
Filled with heart, passion and extraordinary characters, The Library Book discusses the larger, crucial role that libraries play in our lives.
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386 printed pages
Original publication


    Nast Huertashared an impression2 years ago
    👍Worth reading


    🥳has quotedlast year
    I have always imagined Paradise as a kind of library.
    Nast Huertahas quoted2 years ago
    At first, the smoke in the Fiction stacks was as pale as onionskin. Then it deepened to dove gray. Then it turned black. It wound around Fiction A through L, curling in lazy ringlets. It gathered into soft puffs that bobbed and banked against the shelves like bumper cars.
    Pavel Groznyhas quoted2 years ago
    As far as I can tell, the only time Harry Peak appeared on screen was on the local news in 1987, after he was arrested for setting the Los Angeles Central Library on fire, destroying almost half a million books and damaging seven hundred thousand more.

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