I chose this book because of a book club recommendation (thanks Reese Witherspoon) and am glad I did. The only libraries I’ve been in since I finished my last degree are in cities around the world that I’ve been on vacation in. I visited the Chicago Public Library, the Salt Lake City Library, and a monastery’s library in Prague - all at least as much fir the buildings themselves as to see the books.
This book is a fascinating mix of crime story, historical non-fiction, biography and love story. Susan has weaved together so many aspects of the life of this one library into one compelling story. I can only imagine the hours of research that went into it. Above all else, it’s made me want to add the Central Library to my itinerary if I’m ever in LA again.
After reading Susan Orlean's The Library Book, I'm quite sure I'll never look at libraries, or librarians, the same way again. This is classic Orlean - an exploration of a devastating fire becomes a journey through a world of infinite richness, populated with unexpected characters doing unexpected things, with unexpected passion. -- Erik Larson Susan Orlean has long been one of our finest storytellers, and she proves it again with The Library Book. A beautifully written and richly reported account, it sheds new light on a thirty-year-old mystery - and, what's more, offers a moving tribute to the invaluableness of libraries. -- David Grann This is a book only Susan Orlean could have written. Somehow she manages to transform the story of a library fire into the story of literacy, civil service, municipal infighting and vision, public spaces in an era of increasing privatization and social isolation... and the central role libraries have always and will always play in the life and health of a bustling democracy. Beyond all that, like any good library, it's bursting with incredible tales and characters. There could be no better book for the bookish. -- Dave Eggers Engaging . . . Bibliophiles will love this fact-filled, bookish journey. * Kirkus Reviews * Of course, I will always read anything that Susan Orlean writes - and I would encourage you to do the same, regardless of the topic, because she's always brilliant. But The Library Book is a particularly beautiful and soul-expanding book... It will keep you spellbound from first page to last. -- Elizabeth Gilbert Mesmerizing . . . A riveting mix of true crime, history, biography, and immersion journalism. . . . Probing, prismatic, witty, dramatic, and deeply appreciative, Orlean's chronicle celebrates libraries as sanctuaries, community centers, and open universities run by people of commitment, compassion, creativity, and resilience. * Booklist (starred review) * Vivid . . . Compelling . . . Intimate and epic * Wall Street Journal * An exemplary work of creative non-fiction... I can't recommend this book highly enough. It manages to be deft and serious at the same time, elegiac and optimistic, scrupulous and free-wheeling... just buy it. * Scotland on Sunday * Enthralling and inspirational... Above all, this excellent book is an unashamed love letter to the public library system... In this fine and heartfelt saga, [Orlean] repays a lifelong debt with both passion and elegance. * Alexander Larman, Observer * A loving and diligent portrait of a particular place and its history * Financial Times * Moving . . . A constant pleasure to read . . . Everybody who loves books should check out The Library Book * Washington Post * Exquisitely written, consistently entertaining * New York Times *
<b>The bestselling author of <i>Rin Tin Tin</i> and <i>The Orchid Thief </i>reopens the unsolved mystery of one of the most catastrophic library fires in history and delivers a dazzling love letter to a beloved institution </b>-<b> our libraries.</b>