This is a very engaging non-fiction book about A specific library and about libraries in general. While highlighting the role of libraries in our lives, Orlean takes us through different time periods, to different countries and cultures, to times of war, of book censorship, to the surprising connection between billionaires and the advent of women librarians and to beloved writers whom we never would have heard about if they hadn’t had a library in their lives.
And so much more…
The book’s framework is investigative journalism, researching the unsolved mystery of who set fire to the Los Angeles Central Library in 1986, and why. Not only were more than 400,000 precious books lost, it became a mythic fire in its proportions and unique characteristics, the kind most firefighters, thankfully, have never seen. How does a library recover from such a devastating event?
The answer to the question of why most of us have never heard of this incredible fire is interesting too!
The author also discusses the role of public libraries in homeless people’s lives. This was new to me as it is not something I have encountered here.
The book could have been a bit shorter, but otherwise, I really enjoyed it!