Imatge de l'autor

Susan Orlean

Autor/a de The Library Book

25+ obres 10,093 Membres 436 Ressenyes 14 preferits

Sobre l'autor

Susan Orlean is a staff writer for The New Yorker and has also written for Outside, Esquire, Rolling Stone, and Vogue. She graduated from the University of Michigan and worked as a reporter in Portland, Oregon, and Boston, Massachusetts. Orlean is the author of The Orchid Thief and Rin Tin Tin: The mostra'n més Life and Legend. She now lives in New York City and can be reached via the internet at (Bowker Author Biography) mostra'n menys
Crèdit de la imatge: Author Susan Orlean at the 2018 Texas Book Festival in Austin, Texas, United States. By Larry D. Moore - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Obres de Susan Orlean

Obres associades

The New Kings of Nonfiction (2007) — Col·laborador — 740 exemplars
Fierce Pajamas: An Anthology of Humor Writing from The New Yorker (2001) — Col·laborador — 709 exemplars
Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink (2007) — Col·laborador — 536 exemplars
State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America (2008) — Col·laborador — 517 exemplars
The Best American Essays 2006 (2006) — Col·laborador — 300 exemplars
Life Stories: Profiles from the New Yorker (2000) — Col·laborador — 299 exemplars
The Best American Essays 2004 (2004) — Col·laborador — 291 exemplars
The 40s: The Story of a Decade (2014) — Col·laborador — 276 exemplars
The Best American Travel Writing 2001 (2001) — Col·laborador — 236 exemplars
A Velocity of Being: Letters to a Young Reader (2018) — Col·laborador — 234 exemplars
The Big New Yorker Book of Cats (2013) — Col·laborador — 132 exemplars
Japan: True Stories of Life on the Road (1998) — Col·laborador — 124 exemplars
The Best American Travel Writing 2010 (2010) — Col·laborador — 100 exemplars
The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2021 (2022) — Col·laborador — 97 exemplars
The Sweet Breathing of Plants: Women Writing on the Green World (2001) — Col·laborador — 89 exemplars
The Best American Magazine Writing 2004 (2004) — Introducció — 82 exemplars
Good Roots: Writers Reflect on Growing Up in Ohio (2006) — Col·laborador — 22 exemplars
The Gardener's Bedside Reader (2008) — Col·laborador — 21 exemplars
Love Can Be: A Literary Collection about Our Animals (2018) — Col·laborador — 7 exemplars


Coneixement comú



"You don't need to take a book off a shelf to know there is a voice inside that is waiting to speak to you, and behind that was someone who truly believed that if he or she spoke, someone would listen. It was that affirmation that always amazed me. Even the oddest, most particular book was written with that kind of crazy courage- the writer's belief that someone would find his or her book important to read." p. 309

This is a well-researched book that explores not only the events and aftermath of April 29, 1986, when the Central Library of Los Angeles burned but the history of the library as well. The author also becomes acquainted with current employees and the programs they offer, as well as their plans for the future. In doing so, she is able to confirm the library system's continuing importance to the communities they serve.

My only criticism is that sometimes the author sometimes gets side-tracked by minutiae. But overall it is very interesting and very readable. It makes me appreciate my home library even more.
On a recent visit, I entered it with new eyes, noticing the programs and activities offered. I also observed the patrons. Children and their parents leaving a read-aloud ventured into the Children's section. Students and tutors were quietly working. Young adults were quietly working on lap tops.
Patrons were perusing shelves or using online catalogs to find material. All in all, an important public space.
… (més)
Chrissylou62 | Hi ha 282 ressenyes més | Apr 11, 2024 |
The Los Angeles Central Library had a massive fire in 1986. That's the background for this book. But rather than just tell the story of the fire, Susan Orlean uses it to explore the world of libraries. You may think you know libraries. I can assure you, you will learn more about them by reading this book. The story of the fire is anti-climactic. While many think they know who started the fire, the suspected culprit was never convicted of the crime. We learn a ton about his life as a want-to-be actor who, like many who seek their fame in Tinseltown, never finds it. Instead, he becomes, and possibly always was, someone who constantly tells different stories whenever asked. When confronted with his inconsistencies, he was more than ready to say that last story I made up. This is how it happened, fill in the blank. He was gay and an early victim of AIDS. While his story is fascinating, the story of the Library is even more.

Orlean has done her research. She takes us back to the beginnings, even to Alexandria. She focuses on their growth in the United States but lets us know libraries were everywhere and even today are part of every country. We learn of her personal attachment to libraries. She explains how she was drawn to her local library where she went with her mother. Those times are fond memories she shares with us. She wants to convey how special libraries are to many people. She also describes the difficulty she had trying to burn a book. She wanted to see what happened when a book burned, but it brought up too many emotions. Her husband had a solution. He gave her a paperback copy of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 specifically for the purpose. That she could handle. We also learn how totalitarian regimes focus on books and libraries. Book burning was their thing, and they saw it as a way of controlling and stifling any opposition. Libraries are just too important to people. Dictators understand.

We learn of the beginnings of the Los Angeles library in 1872. Orlean describes how it evolved with the growth of the city and the early librarians that nurtured it. She describes how each person who took control expanded its mission to be more than just a place to store books. The variety of what can be found at libraries is amazing. Of course there are books and maps and periodicals. As they became communal places, more and more were added — games, computers, patent records, photographs, manuscripts, cards, documents, audio files, records, film, almost anything one could collect that others might want. As the libraries' role expanded, larger and larger buildings were needed to accommodate the collections and the patrons. In the 1920s, they finally came up with the funding to create a Central Library and commissioned a building to occupy an entire block in the center of downtown. It was a thing of beauty. Sixty years later, it was showing serious signs of aging. Its collection was bigger than the available shelf space. It lacked many of the minimum standards required of new buildings, even simple things like fire doors and sprinkler systems were nowhere. It was a major fire hazard. Its vertical stacks became chimneys in short order. All that it lacked was a simple flame.

The Los Angeles Fire Department faced a major challenge. It took 70 units, hundreds of men, tons of water, special tactics such as blasting holes in a hallowed building and most importantly, more than six hours to bring the inferno under control. The damage was extensive. The Arson unit needed to find out how this started and determine whether arson was involved. After interviewing people who were there and inspecting what the fire hadn't totally destroyed, they were convinced it was arson and there was one man, Harry Peak, they were convinced was responsible. His story kept changing, admitting he was there, denying he was there, providing friends as alibi witnesses. The Arson squad felt their job was done. They were incensed when prosecutors declined to charge Harry Peak citing insufficient evidence. No one has been convicted. With the fire contained the librarians were not focused on blame. They wanted to save as much of the collections as possible. That meant rescuing what was salvageable. The water-damaged volumes needed to be protected from mold, and the main approach was freezing until restoration techniques could be developed to deal with the millions of damaged books, maps, documents, etc.

Orlean interviewed many of those still available. She also described the various directors and their relations with the board controlling the library. Each director added their own approach and expanded the role of the library. They were colorful characters. Eventually, the professionalization of the directors matched the development of library science. Several of the directors came to Los Angeles after heading up a series of larger and larger systems. Each having to deal with the challenges of homeless patrons, computerization, community relations, social service needs, etc. Many librarians come to their profession with a devotion for the role of libraries as public goods. It's not just answering questions, acquiring books, and maintaining order. Orlean widens the lens to get the fuller picture of the modern library. She clearly is on board.
… (més)
Ed_Schneider | Hi ha 282 ressenyes més | Mar 10, 2024 |
the animal that really interests Susan Orlean is the human one and that might leave some animal lovers scratching their heads. The stories are interesting, but often involve things an animal lover might find disturbing, the overloaded,unnamed donkeys of Morocco, the rabbit plague and the taxidermy chapter instantly jump to mind. Orlean is a journalist and often relays "just the facts" which can come across as cool, add to that her using her upstate farm to fatten up some cattle for slaughter to get a tax break and i understand the reviewers that found it disappointing. However, i also learned that you can't move if you get homing pigeons, that mules are making a comeback in the armed forces and that Sherlock Bones is out there reunitin lost dogs with their people. all in all an enjoyable if occassionally sobering read… (més)
cspiwak | Hi ha 20 ressenyes més | Mar 6, 2024 |
Another great book from Susan orlean . In exploring the Los Angeles
Library fire and it’s aftermath, she also explores libraries in general and their role in democracies and their still vital place in the world. From charming anecdotes about camel delivered books to a saddening history of a woman openly losing her job solely because she was a woman, the book is overflowing with riches
cspiwak | Hi ha 282 ressenyes més | Mar 6, 2024 |



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