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Library Book
Library Book | Susan Orlean
Susan Orlean, hailed as a "national treasure" by The Washington Post and the acclaimed bestselling author of Rin Tin Tin and The Orchid Thief, reopens the unsolved mystery of the most catastrophic library fire in American history, and delivers a dazzling love letter to a beloved institution--our libraries. On the morning of April 29, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in 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 false alarm. As one fireman recounted later, "Once that first stack got going, it was Goodbye, Charlie." The fire was disastrous: It reached 2,000 degrees and burned for more than seven hours. By the time it was extinguished, it had consumed 400,000 books and damaged 700,000 more. Investigators descended on the scene, but over thirty years later, the mystery remains: Did someone purposefully set fire to the library--and if so, who? Weaving her life-long love of books and reading with the fascinating history of libraries and the sometimes-eccentric characters who run them, award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author Susan Orlean presents a mesmerizing and uniquely compelling story as only she can. With her signature wit, insight, compassion, and talent for deep research, she investigates the legendary Los Angeles Public Library fire to showcase the larger, crucial role that libraries play in our lives. To truly understand what happens behind the stacks, Orlean visits the different departments of the LAPL, encountering an engaging cast of employees and patrons and experiencing alongside them the victories and struggles they face in today's climate. She also delves into the evolution of libraries across the country and around the world, from a metropolitan charitable initiative to a cornerstone of national identity. She reflects on her childhood experiences in libraries; studies arson and the long history of library fires; attempts to burn a copy of a book herself; and she re-examines the case of Harry Peak, the blond-haired actor long suspected of setting fire to the library over thirty years ago. Along the way, she reveals how these buildings provide much more than just books--and that they are needed now more than ever. Filled with heart, passion, and unforgettable characters, The Library Book is classic Susan Orlean, and an homage to a beloved institution that remains a vital part of the heart, mind, and soul of our country and culture.
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Sarahreadstoomuch
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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Pickpick

If you ever wanted some behind the scenes info on how libraries work or what librarians do…. Here‘s a great start. The story and mystery surrounding the LA Central Library fire was fascinating to me, and I enjoyed all the set and history included. One irk for me is that it gives the impression that libraries LOVE all sorts of weird stuff to be donated, and that‘s not always the case. #scarathlon +16pts

22 likes1 stack add
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Laughterhp
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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Mehso-so

Shocker, behind on reviews!

Read this for #Booked2022 - Written by a journalist

Probably an unpopular opinion, but it just didn‘t do it for me. 🤷🏻‍♀️ I‘m thinking it would have been better in print, because a lot of it was her just listing off books..

Cinfhen I liked this one, I did print but it had some weaker moments. Glad you gave it a try! 2mo
50 likes1 stack add1 comment
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K.Wielechowski
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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Pickpick

The overarching story is about the fire at Los Angeles‘ Central Library in 1986 where over 700,000 books, plays, periodicals, maps, and other items were lost to the blaze and the fight to restore the library and what was lost.
The rest was a love letter to libraries, librarians, and the communities that form around them.

8 likes1 stack add
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shanaqui
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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Pickpick

Looks like I might get a #BookSpinBingo after all, now I've finished my #DoubleSpin!

I really liked this book; it's less about the library fire in some ways and more just a history of the whole library, and a little of the development of how libraries are framed through history. Which might sound dry, but there's plenty of fascinating detail.

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shanaqui
The Library Book | Susan Orlean

I'm finding this riveting and wishing I had time to finish it today, aaah. Though it feels weird to spend so much time on Harry Peak when, idk, it doesn't seem like arson was his style?

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shanaqui
Library Book | Susan Orlean
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Need to read this for my #DoubleSpin, so I've just started digging in. It's a horrifying description of a fire, for sure, and I can't help but wonder if any of those firemen suffered longer-term effects...

Trying to figure out a line in #BookSpinBingo, too. It's been a weird old month, and I haven't at all read the things I intended to read! But I have options now, if I read speedily.

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Amandajoy
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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My library is almost done!! The doors get put in this week, and the Pod with all my books will be delivered at the end of the month. I don‘t get the other four bookshelves I ordered until November, but the end is in sight!

Avanders 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽 so exciting!! 6mo
41 likes1 comment
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monalyisha
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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I‘m being featured on my Library‘s blog. Fun!

Check it out here:
https://www.amesfreelibrary.org/blog/staff-picks/staff-stories/staff-stories-aly...

Smrloomis 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽 Awesome! 6mo
Graywacke Cool! 6mo
Hooked_on_books I like that they include current reads 6mo
BiblioLitten I have tried the reader advisory forum at my library for my son and it‘s great! 5mo
67 likes4 comments
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triplem80
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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Pickpick

My last finished book in May...I enjoyed it even more than I expected! Definitely worth checking out if you love libraries.

rachelk I loved this book! 6mo
9 likes1 comment
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KCofKaysville
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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Pickpick

Interesting book on what libraries do built around the tragic fire at L.A. Public Library in 1986. Has a lot of history and bios. of people in Calif. who started the library in So. Calif. Could have been a little shorter but very enjoyable.

39 likes3 stack adds
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KCofKaysville
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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Poignant part after mentioning her Mom's dementia.

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TheKidUpstairs
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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#OnThisDay in 1986 a devastating fire hit Los Angeles' Central Library. It damaged or destroyed more than one million books. Thankfully, the alarm systems and fire protection had recently been upgraded, and that advanced warning meant all 400 people inside the building were able to escape uninjured. It took around 350 firefighters and 7 hours before the blaze was extinguished. Arson was suspected, but the culprit remains a mystery. #HistoryGetsLIT

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KCofKaysville
The Library Book | Susan Orlean

I'm also going to read this one. I've heard good things about it. I think it's about the LA Public Library and other things. As a librarian I feel obligated ! 😉

StaceGhost I loved this book! I want to go to LA just to see the library 8mo
Leftcoastzen I thought it was a great read ! 8mo
29 likes3 stack adds2 comments
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slategreyskies
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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Bookzombie 💗 8mo
27 likes1 comment
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Clwojick
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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Pickpick

Finished The Library Book, and jumping straight into Seeing Red for #BookSpinBingo and #ThingsinCommon. ❤️

TheAromaofBooks As always, I love your layout!! 8mo
61 likes3 comments
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Graciouswarriorprincess
Library Book | Susan Orlean
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Finally, I can formally announce that I am the new Page Supervisor at the East Regional Branch for Durham County Public Library System.

After months of waiting for official word, it is approved and my first day was today.

I love that my colleagues had my desk cleaned, left swag and officially welcomed me on the public bulletin board as you enter the branch.

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Congratulations 🎊🎉 📚 9mo
MittenGirlPeach That‘s wonderful! 9mo
Librarybelle Congratulations! 9mo
See All 19 Comments
Aims42 Congratulations!!!!! 9mo
BookBabe Yay, congratulations! 🙌🏻 9mo
CrowCAH Woohoo congrats!!! 9mo
Librarianaut Congrats!!!!! 9mo
MaureenMc Congratulations! 9mo
Bookzombie Congratulations!! 9mo
JessClark78 Congratulations! 9mo
Tera66 Woo hoo! Congratulations! 9mo
LeahBergen Congrats! 👏👏 9mo
erzascarletbookgasm 👏Congrats & Best wishes 9mo
Zuhkeeyah Congratulations!! 🎉 9mo
KellyK Congratulations!! 🎉🥳📚 9mo
DaveGreen7777 Congratulations! 😀 9mo
DivineDiana Fantastic! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻🥳📚 8mo
62 likes19 comments
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Leftcoastzen
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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#savvysettings #Library Really ? Nobody used this one today? I really enjoyed this one .I used to have Los Angeles ,Pasadena, and Long Beach library cards .😄📚📖📚📖📚📚📚

jlhammar I really liked this one too. Good choice! 9mo
Eggs Agreed 💯 9mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks 👏🏻📚😻 9mo
70 likes3 comments
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IMASLOWREADER
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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7 likes1 stack add
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Kshakal
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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Eggs Perfect ❤️📚❤️ 10mo
37 likes1 comment
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Madison91
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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Panpan

This was the mOst boring book, I‘ve ever had the displeasure to read.

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Rachiiebookdragon
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
Mehso-so
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Ddzmini
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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Pickpick

I‘ve read this rather quickly although I liked the book it was a quick read… the authors love of book was equal to I believe everyone on Litsy enjoyable

67 likes3 stack adds
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Ddzmini
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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So I‘ve chosen the above tagged book for this challenge… I‘ve been wanting to read this 🤗📖

Trashcanman 🤗 11mo
shanaqui Ooh, this sounds like my kinda read... 11mo
74 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Skygoddess1
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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Today‘s move went rather well. The movers got all my heavy items (piano, bookshelves) moved with relative ease. The boyfriend decided that I should have my own library/reading room. Still have more books to bring over, and need to hang my literary pictures, but the library room is coming along. #personallibrary

Chrissyreadit Your shelves look great! 11mo
Skygoddess1 @Chrissyreadit Thanks! It‘ll be nice once everything is complete to retreat there for some peace, quiet and good reading 11mo
erzascarletbookgasm Looking good 👍😊 11mo
33 likes3 comments
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LibraryCin
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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Mehso-so

The book is a mix of disaster, biography, and history. It was good. I particularly found the information about arson interesting. It‘s not that easy to tell if a fire is arson. There is lots of interesting info about the inner workings of a library and its services, but I‘m a librarian, so that wasn‘t really new to me. There were some photos included in the book, mostly of the previous librarians (and one of Harry Peak).

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jenniferw88
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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Pickpick
Cinfhen Yay!! 12mo
TheAromaofBooks Yay!!! 12mo
BarbaraTheBibliophage Awesome! 12mo
55 likes3 comments
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Rissa1
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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Pickpick

I loved how this revolved around the case of the fire, but was so much more. 4⭐

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scripturient
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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What better book to read in a library than one called The Library Book. 😂 Thoroughly enjoying my reading retreat weekend with these wonderful Littens. #gladstonerds #readingretreat

squirrelbrain Oh I loved this book! It made my top 20 in the year that I read it…enjoy! 12mo
TrishB Lovely ♥️ 12mo
Oryx Great pic 12mo
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AmyG Enjoy! Such a good book. 12mo
Caroline2 Great photo! 😉 have a fab wkend. 12mo
Sharv_Sona The library looks stunning! 12mo
LeahBergen Beautiful!! 😍😍 12mo
93 likes1 stack add7 comments
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shadowspeak17
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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1. Surprisingly only two at the moment: The Way of Kings and The Copyeditor‘s Handbook
2. The Library Book by Susan Orlean
3. I currently have 17, so I won‘t list them all, but my most recent one is I Love You But I‘ve Chosen Darkness by Claire Vaye Watkins.

#weekendreads

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stretchkev
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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Pickpick

A passionate ode to libraries: how they are built, what can be lost, and how best they serve our communities. In the microcosm of the LA central 1986 fire is the catalyst for the exploration of so much library history and its future in a tech savy world. Libraries are hard to kill.

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Rissa1
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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My heart is happy when I fill in at my kids' school because I get to read with this guy. He is an elementary student that struggles with reading and while he fellow students do things above his level, he comes to read to me. Obviously, he isn't my child so I took a picture of him walking away from me, but this is my favorite part of the day.

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AmyG
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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Wonderful book about the Los Angeles Library, the fire at the main branch in 1986, and libraries and librarians in general.

#Bookspin @TheAromaofBooks

tpixie I‘ve been wanting to read this 1y
BkClubCare I listened to the audio this year! I love libraries and architecture and history… and a great storyteller who weaves it all together. 😊 1y
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 1y
See All 7 Comments
Suet624 Gah! I loved this book so much. 1y
AmyG @Suet624 This book brought back so many wonderful memories of my childhood library. Those were some of the best times of my childhood. 1y
Suet624 @AmyG awww, that‘s lovely. 1y
Teresereading I have this one on my pile 13mo
101 likes2 stack adds7 comments
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mandarchy
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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I had a student tell me that he wanted to learn the specialist rotation by ❤ so that he could remember when to wear his library shoes. Littens, here are the library shoes.

Elizabeth2 💗 I love this! I‘m curious - what makes them library shoes? Are they extra quiet? (edited) 1y
Librarianaut I have my little book nerds keep socks in their lockers because “cozy spots” are no-shoes-clean-socks only reading spots in my library. They love to comply! 1y
Tamra 👏🏾👏🏾💜 1y
mandarchy @Elizabeth2 He hasn't explained it to me yet. Because they look suitable for P.E. to me. But maybe these are more comfy. 1y
mandarchy @Librarianaut cozy spots! That's a good idea. 1y
65 likes5 comments
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AmyG
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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Babysitting Lou and her request for belly rubs is cutting into my reading time. Anything for this sweet girl. And the book is wonderful, too.
#dogsoflitsy

Lindy There‘s nothing like a dog‘s adoration. 😊 And did you know Orlean‘s new book is 1y
AmyG @Lindy I just read about her new book! 1y
Lindy @AmyG I‘m looking forward to it. I loved her 1y
See All 6 Comments
WJCintron 😍 😍 😍 1y
Gissy 🐶❤️❤️❤️ 1y
tracey38 ❤❤❤🐶 1y
93 likes6 comments
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Caryl
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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Just finished up my #BookSpinBINGO list for September. It will be a super-busy back-to-school month, so hoping to at least get to my #bookspin and #doublespin picks.

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 1y
26 likes1 comment
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CaramelLunacy
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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Pickpick

An interesting, chatty, tangent-filled tale centering around the Los Angeles Central Library, the characters who inhabit(ed) it and the devastating fire that destroyed or damaged over 1 million books.
I empathized with the author's reminiscences about what libraries meant to her, delighted in the exploits of various librarians (Charles Lummis sounds a hoot) and puzzled over the possible culpability of an alleged arsonist. An absorbing read.

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Beccacraft
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
Pickpick

This book was a bit slow for me but I really enjoyed learning little known facts about libraries and librarians throughout the book. I learned a bunch and am putting it as a “pick” because I love books, reading, and libraries so much.

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Mitch
Library Book | Susan Orlean
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Just got my new library card - the mobile library stops outside our new house once a month! #rurallfe!

AlaMich Cute! Our library always has the dullest cards. 1y
Mitch @AlaMich I‘ve already put it to use! 1y
BookBosomed1 I‘ve a bookmobile that comes right outside my house, too. I also love the country. I love the bookmobile. 1y
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Mitch @BookBosomed1 we‘ve just move here from the city - so we‘re adjusting! 🤣 1y
BookBosomed1 @Mitch that was me! I moved from the city and it took me a bit. I remember the day I first spotted the bookmobile I was feeling particularly anxious about the move. Seeing that bookmobile settled me a bit. :) Now, I love living in the country. So quiet and peaceful. 1y
Mitch @BookBosomed1 👏🏼💕👏🏼 1y
78 likes6 comments
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Brooke_H
Library Book | Susan Orlean
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Pickpick

Library with a splash of true crime. Loved every page.

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Brooke_H
Library Book | Susan Orlean
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“People wanted so much from the library. They wanted it to solve things for them. They wanted the library to fix them and teach them how to fix their lives.” #MondayReads #LibraryBook

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vivastory
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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This is an incredibly powerful reminder of why local elections are so important:
https://bookriot.com/niles-public-library/

MsMelissa This is sad, but if I‘m honest the thing that struck me was that citizens vote for the members of the library board? Does this happen throughout the US? Our library board is chosen by city council, and is made up of councillors and members of the public. 1y
MsMelissa And I realize that is random and not related to article but I‘m always struck by how many public officials are voted in in the US. 1y
Chrissyreadit Our local library was almost completely destroyed. It made no sense. It was saved by intense concerted effort- but entire dumpsters of books were removed and thrown out before that could happen. 1y
76 likes3 comments
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plemmdog
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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Pickpick

What a sheer delight this book was. I was a little leery at first, but Orlean‘s combination of a historical event, science, and memoir was completely captivating, from start to finish.

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BookNAround
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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Mehso-so

#unpopularopinion I did not love this book like everyone else. I didn‘t feel like the disparate parts hung together as well as they should/could have and frankly I was often a little bored, turning to see how many more pages the chapter or the book had. Full review at https://booknaround.blogspot.com/2021/06/review-library-book-by-susan-orlean.htm...

Deblovestoread I‘m in the minority as well. I felt the info about the fire was weak and the rest was filler to make up a book. 1y
BookNAround @Kdgordon88 Glad I‘m not alone. I really wanted to love it so extra disappointing to feel this way about it. 1y
sblbooks Agreed, it was a so-so for me. 1y
BookNAround @sblbooks I‘m sorry you‘re in the same boat I am but happy it‘s not just me. 1y
52 likes4 comments
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Brooke_H
Library Book | Susan Orlean
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My current reads may have a theme. 🤔

SilversReviews Loved THE LIBRARY BOOK. 1y
23 likes1 comment
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KatieDid927
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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Y‘ALL 😭

Andrea313 Like...what?? 1y
Michael_Gee 🤔 1y
JamieArc It would suck if someone were just emptying the LFLs without putting anything back… 1y
See All 12 Comments
KatieDid927 @JamieArc True, but that‘s also the risk you‘re taking. It‘s the honor system for a reason. Sometimes they‘re jam packed and sometimes they‘re empty. The point is to have books available to people that might not have access otherwise. It‘s a form of donation. Some people may be over zealous at times, but getting the police involved and calling it “theft” is gross. 1y
dylanisreading Seems like a photo op/publicity for the BPD. 🙄 1y
KatieDid927 @Bianca Copaganda 1y
JamieArc @KatieDid927 Oh yes! Totally agree! Wasn‘t thinking when I commented 🤦🏻‍♀️ 1y
KatieDid927 @JamieArc Oh no worries, I totally get where you‘re coming from. 1y
swynn I had a friend with a little free library, where a local used book dealer habitually came by and cleaned out all the contents (free stock!) (Eventually they had words, and he backed off.) There's one in my neighborhood that was hit by neonazis a couple of years ago: they cleaned it out and left racist booklets. Abuse exists, and if the Bloomington PD is helping address that, then IMO they deserve the photo op. More of this, please. 1y
KatieDid927 @swynn I vehemently disagree in the strongest possible terms. This is the perfect example of involving police in something they should never be involved in, and of criminalizing that which isn‘t criminal. A tool of violent white supremacy. If you‘re that concerned with that nonsense, take your Little FREE Library down and don‘t have one. Period. 1y
deeannloso Why do you need police for books “stolen” from a free library? We are involving police in too many situations that absolutely don‘t need them. 1y
30 likes12 comments
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StaceGhost
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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Pickpick

Still can‘t read print thanks to my concussion but loving these audiobooks from the library and audible 📚also, my library opened back up today! Getting caught up on my #litsylove this week too 📬

Clare-Dragonfly Thank goodness for audiobooks! 2y
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks I hope you are feeling better ❤️ 1y
23 likes2 comments
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erinachu
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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Pickpick

So good! Very well written and researched 😍 this is my #doublespin and third book for #bookspinbingo @TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 2y
11 likes1 comment
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Kalalalatja
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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Pickpick

This is a love story to libraries and librarians everywhere, with a true crime element running through it. And she mentions my local library in Aarhus quite a lot at the end, which made me like this book even more! 🙌

#Booked2021 #TitleIncludesLibraryOfLibrarian

Cinfhen I read this awhile back so I don‘t recall that connection. But I do remember loving the book 2y
Kalalalatja @Cinfhen it was towards the end of the book, where she discuss the future of libraries. I was so surprised, because I‘m not used to Denmark being represented like this, but it was a pleasant surprise ☺️ 2y
Cinfhen No better way to be recognized 😍♥️ 2y
Suet624 I absolutely loved this book and gushed about it to anyone who would listen. 2y
85 likes2 stack adds4 comments
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Helen19
The Library Book | Susan Orlean
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Pickpick

Thankfully our libraries opened up just as I started this one - it made me desperate to go! Took my 20 month old for the first time since he was a little baby and he kept looking around saying ‘wow!‘ 😍 Arthur loves his digger book, I‘m not sure how he will react when I tell him we have to return it... #booked2021 library in title

Cinfhen So wonderful to see the little ones enjoying the library 💜 2y
Bookwormjillk 💜💜 2y
25 likes2 comments