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The Library Book by Susan Orlean


What is your relationship with libraries? The beginning of this non-fiction book by Susan Orlean starts with her remembering her visits to the library with her mother. I loved it as I also have good memories of the first time I went to the library. Like Orlean, I moved away from using the library after using them so much for school. Orlean eventually continues the tradition her mother started with her son.


The title is The Library Book, but this is not just about one book. It centers around the Los Angeles Public Library and the fire that took place there in 1986. This is still an unsolved mystery, but we learn of Harry Peak who was a suspect at the time. I will say that the Peak family are anything but boring and there might be a good book, just about them.


From this library fire in Los Angeles, Orlean writes about several other library fires and some interesting characters. There is well written history of LA and how the library grew as the community changed.


It is affirmed, as all library lovers will agree, that libraries are a significant part of the community. They are for everyone and they have to deal with many social issues such as homelessness and mental health.


Overall, I liked the book because I learned a lot and it was about something I didn't know anything about. After about half way through, I started losing interest. It became more about fact after fact after fact. I'm ok with facts, but I think it could be written in a reader friendly way. My favourite part would be the recovery after the fire, what it meant for the community and the things that are lost to us forever.


If you like libraries or you want to learn about the Los Angeles Public Library, this is a good book to check out.


Bookworm Rating: 🐛🐛🐛

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