The Library Book by Susan Orlean


Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The fire pulled back from the southeast section of the building and curled up in the northeast stacks, where it glowered angrily, feeding itself book after book, a monster snacking on chips.

Susan Orlean did a fantastic job writing this book.  When this epic fire happened, not many around the states had even heard about the ordeal because also around that same time – Chernobyl happened.


“On the morning of April 28, 1986, a fire broke out at the  the Los Angeles Public Library.  As the moments passed, the patrons and staff who had been cleared out of the building realized this was not the usual fire alarm. As one fireman recounted, “Once that first stack got going, it was ‘Goodbye, Charlie.’” The fire was disastrous: it reached 2000 degrees and burned for more than seven hours. By the time it was extinguished, it had consumed four hundred thousand books and damaged seven hundred thousand more. Investigators descended on the scene, but more than thirty years later, the mystery remains: Did someone purposefully set fire to the library—and if so, who?” – via Goodreads

“The Library Book chronicles the LAPL fire and its aftermath to showcase the larger role that libraries play in our lives; delves into the evolution of libraries across the country and around the world, from their humble beginnings as a metropolitan charitable initiative to their current status as a cornerstone of national identity; brings each department of the library to vivid life through on-the-ground reporting; studies arson and attempts to burn a copy of a book herself; reflects on her own experiences in libraries; and reexamines the case of Harry Peak, the blond-haired actor long suspected of setting fire to the LAPL more than thirty years ago.” – via Goodreads

Susan’s witty writing leads you on a journey of  more than just books—but about a tragic fire that impacted more lives than you could imagine!  She adds science and insight to the aftermath of the fire as well as the fire itself from doing extensive research for this book.  I highly recommend this book to all!!

……..because here is the home of our oldest and best friends—-Books.

The 1986 Los Angeles Public Library Fire from ARchive LAPL on Vimeo.

More information about the LAPL fire:

Available on Amazon – The Library Book by Susan Orlean


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