This book is a love song memorializing the beauty and history of libraries. Library lovers will fall deeply and helplessly into the cadence of Orlean's story. Prepare to be in a trance for a little while after finishing this one.
The Library Book by Susan Orlean
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book is definitely not for everyone. It's a read for people who take great pleasure in the experience of libraries and books in general. Libraries have adapted in dramatic measures over time always fighting to stay afloat, dipping and bobbing over the span of their existence like colossal free-floating icebergs. The experience of a library is architecture, the smell of pages, eclectic personalities, the presence of knowledge, group experience, individual awakening, and the list goes on and on. Susan Orlean is clearly a lover of all things library, history and consciousness included. In 1986, a fire ravaged the Los Angeles Public Library, and it was suspected as arson. Through her research into the fire, clean-up, and subsequent police investigation, she weaves in a broader tapestry of how libraries have been shaped by history, evolving into the living, breathing hearts of our communities. She profiles many charming people, and it's these assorted characters that make the library programs universal and welcoming. The Los Angeles Public Library has had it's bouts with financial strain and still struggles with the larger systemic issue of the homeless population who freely use the library building as temporary shelter during open hours. Space and money are ever present issues, but the main goal is always to maintain services that are open and equal to everyone. Even after tragedy, libraries persist and adapt. I've always been in awe of libraries, and this book renewed my sense of wonder. Libraries make me feel like I'm in the presence of greatness - the pages, the people, the productivity, the peace. It's all thriving and pulsing, a comforting strength that feels like home. If you can relate to this feeling then this is the book for you!
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Travel All the Pages is inspired by my two loves - travel and reading, a combo I can't resist. Enjoy these little pairings.