My rating: 5 of 5 stars
If you're an occasional reader or you've ever thought about a library, you need to read The Library Book by Susan Orlean. However, if you are an ardent reader, a person passionate about fine writing, a person captivated by a writer's ability to take dry information and turn it into magical prose, then you also need to read The Library Book. The Library Book could have been a simple and straightforward nonfiction account of a fire, possibly arson, that severely damage the Los Angeles Central Library building, the Goodhue Building, but in the hands of Susan Orlean it becomes something special.
Orlean doesn't just lay out the facts of the fire, the people and processes of the investigation, and the years long ramifications that crippled the system's operations. She delves into the history of a library system as it built through fits and starts from a system supporting a small western city of 12,000 to one of the largest library systems supporting one of the country's largest cities. Orlean introduces readers to the leaders and many of the staff who, through a myriad of duties and hearts full of empathy, support everyone from Hollywood producers, to children, to the homeless community. Orlean informs readers about library science in general and we see how it has progressed over the decades.
If you've ever wondered how librarians keep busy and how valuable their duties are to readers and the broader community, after reading The Library Book you won't fail to give every librarian you encounter a smile and a thank you. They are special people and in Susan Orlean's hands, we see why.
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