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The Library Book

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The Library Book

Bellaire librarian Mary Cohrs suggests ending the year with a library book - specifically, The Library Book by Susan Orlean.

I thought I would end the 2018 year with a book that only true book lovers and lovers of libraries would embrace. The Library Book by Susan Orlean is a fascinating read about one library as well as what libraries mean to the author as she weaves the story of a library fire with her own personal feelings of libraries. She provides a masterful story of what libraries mean to us.

Not since reading Fahrenheit 451 have I thought so much about books burning or the burning of books (there is a difference to me). It is well known that I cannot even bring myself to use a highlighter in a textbook, but to actually put a match to a book -unfathomable. 

The Library Book is the story of a fire at the Los Angeles Public Library that occurred in 1986. The author learned about the existence of the fire through a remark by a library tour guide and being the lover of libraries, she began her investigation. Was it arson? Or just an accident waiting to happen since the building was built in 1926.

Jeffrey Ann Goudie, a freelance book critic and a member of the National Book Critics Circle, writes “This is an ambitiously researched, elegantly written book that serves as a portal into a place of history, drama, culture and stories.” I could not have written anything more eloquent than that, so I shared her words. This is why I read; others have a gift with words that delight me.

In the story, the author also add voice to the role the public library plays as an institution that provides information and access to knowledge from around the world, inviting users into library to learn, grow and share. Libraries widen our knowledge of so many people, ideas and places. 

End the year with a library book, especially The Library Book.

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