The Library Book (Large Print / Library Binding)

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Staff Reviews


Susan Orlean's book about the unsolved 1986 Los Angeles Public Library fire is one of the best of the year. Orlean explores the mystery of how (or who) started the fire, with special emphasis on eccentric actor Harry Peak, chief suspect in the case. But it's also a history of the L.A. Public Library administration and libraries themselves. The author also details some of the many tasks that the workers deal with everyday, with affection and respect for the institution itself. She also burns a book herself, just to see what it's like. The tragic burning of so many books was pretty much overlooked back in 1986 (Chernobyl dominated the headlines), but Orlean brings the day of the Fire vividly back to life.

— Len, Chicago ORD

November 2018 Indie Next List


“There is no one better at investigating the fascinating stories hiding in plain sight than Susan Orlean. The vivid descriptions of the fire that engulfed the Los Angeles Central Library in 1986 are burnished by the meticulous research she did on the history of libraries and on the shocking event that resulted in the destruction and damage of over one million books. The mystery of who would start such a fire is woven between stories of eccentric librarians and the transformation of Los Angeles in the 20th century. From memories of the blissful hours spent in the library of her youth to the historical significance of these repositories of our past, Orlean has crafted a love letter to the importance of the written word and those who devote their lives to its preservation.”
— Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA



Product Details
ISBN: 9781432856465
ISBN-10: 1432856464
Large Print: Yes
Publisher: Thorndike Press Large Print
Publication Date: October 17th, 2018
Language: English