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The Library Book

di Susan Orlean

Altri autori: Vedi la sezione altri autori.

UtentiRecensioniPopolaritàMedia votiCitazioni
3,3842152,930 (4.09)192
Susan Orlean re-opens the unsolved mystery of the most catastrophic library fire in American history, and delivers a dazzling love letter to the beloved institution of libraries.
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» Vedi le 192 citazioni

Inglese (210)  Tedesco (2)  Spagnolo (1)  Tutte le lingue (213)
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In writing this book, the author has obviously done a mammoth job in research. I didn’t know about the 1986 fire that destroyed the Los Angeles public library. The details are amazing and I was fascinated with the investigative work in the years that followed. This is also an account of the managers, the librarians, the support staff and all the other people who made up and today use this colossal public space. ( )
  Fliss88 | Oct 4, 2021 |
The Library Book by Susan Orlean is the story of an institution, the American library in general, and more specifically, the Los Angeles Public Library. Although it is quite well written, it is not all that of an exciting story. It isn’t actually dull, but it is easy to put down and move to a different book that is more intellectually challenging or suspenseful.

On April 29, 1986, a huge fire destroyed most of the books in the main branch of the Los Angeles Public Library. As the author recounted in an interview for NPR, “The fire burned for seven hours. It reached temperatures of 2,500 degrees. ... A lot of firefighters who I interviewed said it was by far the most challenging, frightening fire that they've ever confronted in their careers."

More than one million books were damaged or destroyed in the fire as well as many artifacts collected by the library. The Central Library remained closed for seven years afterward.

Outside of Los Angeles, not many people heard of the fire because on that same day the world learned of a nuclear disaster in Chernobyl, Ukraine, which threatened to spread deadly radioactive material around the world. In Orlean’s words, “The books burned while most of us were waiting to see if we were about to witness the end of the world.”

Much of the book is devoted to the investigation about suspected arson as the source of the fire, particularly as it focused on one Harry Peak, who was charged but not convicted. Two of the most interesting chapters dealt with the physics of burning buildings and books and the peculiar characteristics of fires that are the result of arson.

I like books more than most people do, and I think libraries deserve a suitable paean to their existence. Unfortunately, much of the book is devoted to the personalities of various head librarians—as I said, there are times when it is easy to lay this book aside.

(JAB) ( )
  nbmars | Sep 27, 2021 |
Great book for library-lovers! I wish there had been even more focus on the "ode to libraries" aspect and the history of LA Central Library, and less on the true crime stuff with Harry Peak. ( )
  misslevel | Sep 22, 2021 |
I've loved books and libraries, ever since I was a kid. So I figured I would love this book, and I was not disappointed. The author bases her story around the devastating 1986 fire at the Central Library in Los Angeles but branches out into many other related areas. Having worked as a library aide for four years, I can relate to many of the crazy things that go on in libraries. I found it fascinating. ( )
1 vota flourgirl49 | Sep 8, 2021 |
I found the book phantastic and am very glad that I got it via Bookcrossing. It is almost unbelievable how much there is to write about a library, funny things and interessting things. Being a library child myself and an enthusiastic reader since the day my neighbour family took me to the library in our small town I really appreciate this book. ( )
  Wassilissa | Aug 28, 2021 |
On 29 April 1986 Los Angeles Central Library went up in flames. ... Susan Orlean has a knack for finding compelling stories in unlikely places. ... Orlean uses the fire to ask a broader question about just what public libraries are for and what happens when they are lost. You might not perhaps have LA pegged as the most bookish city, yet right from its inception in 1873, the central library attracted a higher proportion of citizens through its doors than anywhere else in the US. By 1921 more than a thousand books were being checked out every hour. The reason for that, Orlean suggests, is that LA has always been a city of seekers – first came the gold prospectors and the fruit growers, then the actors and the agents, and then all the refugees from the dust bowl prairies. No one was as solid or as solvent as they liked to appear, everyone was looking for clues about how to do life better.

This was where the library came in, providing the instruction manual for a million clever hacks and wheezes. In the runup to prohibition in 1920 every book on how to make homemade hooch was checked out and never returned. Five years later a man called Harry Pidgeon became only the second person to sail solo around the world, having got the design for his boat from books borrowed from the LA public library. More mundanely, the library quickly became the chief centre for free English language classes in the city, a service that it continues to provide for its huge immigrant population today.

It is this sense of a library as a civic junction that most interests Orlean. ... Or, as she puts it: "Every problem that society has, the library has, too; nothing good is kept out of the library, and nothing bad."
aggiunto da Cynfelyn | modificaThe Guardian, Kathryn Hughs (Feb 16, 2019)
 
“The Library Book” is, in the end, a Whitmanesque yawp, bringing to life a place and an institution that represents the very best of America: capacious, chaotic, tolerant and even hopeful, with faith in mobility of every kind, even, or perhaps especially, in the face of adversity.
aggiunto da tim.taylor | modificaThe Wall Street Journal, Jane Kamensky (sito a pagamento) (Oct 11, 2018)
 

» Aggiungi altri autori

Nome dell'autoreRuoloTipo di autoreOpera?Stato
Orlean, Susanautore primariotutte le edizioniconfermato
André, EmeliTraduttoreautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato
Loman, CarlyDesignerautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato
Peters-Collaer, LaurenProgetto della copertinaautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato
Schneiter, SylvieTraduttoreautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato
Trejo, JuanTraduttoreautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato
Villeneuve, GuillaumeTraduttoreautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato

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Memory believes before knowing remembers.
---William Faulkner, Light in August
And when they ask us what we're doing, you can say, We're remembering.
---Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
I have always imagined Paradise as a kind of library.
---Jorge Luis Borges, Dreamtigers
Dedica
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For Edith Orlean, my past
For Austin Gillespie, my future
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Even in Los Angeles, where there is no shortage of remarkable hairdos, Harry Peak attracted attention.
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A book feels like a thing alive in this moment, and also alive on a continuum, from the moment the thoughts about it first percolated in the writer's mind to the moment it sprang off the printing press---a lifeline that continues as someone sits with it and marvels over it, and it continues on, time after time after time.
The idea of being forgotten is terrifying. I fear not just that I, personally will be forgotten, but that we are all doomed to being forgotten---that the sum of life is ultimately nothing; that we experience joy and disappointment and aches and delights and loss, make our little mark on the world, and then we vanish, and the mark is erased, and it is as if we never existed.
Taking books away from a culture is to take away its shared memory. It's like taking away the ability to remember your dreams. Destroying a culture's books is sentencing it to something worse than death. It is sentencing it to seem as if it never lived.
Pigeons the color of concrete marched in a bossy staccato around the suitcases.
There was a sense of stage business—that churn of activity you can't hear or see but you feel at a theater in the instant before the curtain rises—of people finding their places and things being set right, before the burst of action begins.
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Susan Orlean re-opens the unsolved mystery of the most catastrophic library fire in American history, and delivers a dazzling love letter to the beloved institution of libraries.

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