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Book Review: The Library Book


Article by Mary Ellin Arch

Photography by Susan Yin on Unsplash

Do you love books? Do you especially love library books? Do you think libraries are more than just a place for books? Do you like unsolved mysteries, American history, and quirky facts? Do you care about the homeless and internet access for all? Are you a sucker for well-researched, well-written stories of any kind?

If you answered “yes” to even one of these questions, don’t miss The Library Book, because it has all this and more.

Meticulously researched and beautifully written, author Susan Orlean tells the story of the devastating 1986 fire at the Los Angeles Public Library (no, I hadn’t heard about that before, either), recounts the history of that library and libraries in general (bet you didn't know libraries often are targeted during war), and busts a lot of myths about libraries and librarians (whatever you think you know, you’re probably wrong - unless you happen to be a librarian). Along the way, there's the mystery of how the library fire started, and the odd fellow who was suspected for years as the arsonist despite a mound of conflicting evidence and testimonies.

My book club loved this book, even those who thought they’d be bored to tears. It’s a quick read - and highly recommended.

4 out of 5.