The Library Book

Susan Orlean
317
December 30, 2019
★★★★★ (+28.53%) 🛈

I thought this was a novel. It’s not. But it’s wonderful.

It’s the story of (1) the 1986 fire at the Los Angeles library and its subsequent investigation and aftermath; (2) the larger Los Angeles library system and its history; and (3) the future of libraries in general. The three topics interweave throughout the book, roughly alternating chapters.

It’s an engrossing read if you like books and libraries. The writing is clear and breezy, and just when you’ve had a bunch of history and theories about libraries, the author brings things back into sharp focus by discussing the library fire, the main suspect in that case, and the process of restoring the library itself and tens of thousands of books damaged by smoke and water (they actually froze them in industrial freezers for two years, to prevent them from getting moldy until they could figure out what to do).

I loved reading this.

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