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The Library Book

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Susan Orlean

Narrated By: Susan Orlean

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Date: October 2018

Duration: 12 hours 9 minutes


Susan Orlean’s bestseller and New York Times Notable Book is “a sheer delight…as rich in insight and as varied as the treasures contained on the shelves in any local library” (USA TODAY)—a dazzling love letter to a beloved institution and an investigation into one of its greatest mysteries. “Everybody who loves books should check out The Library Book” (TheWashington Post).

On the morning of April 28, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. The fire was disastrous: it reached two thousand degrees and burned for more than seven hours. By the time it was extinguished, it had consumed four hundred thousand books and damaged seven hundred thousand more. Investigators descended on the scene, but more than thirty years later, the mystery remains: Did someone purposefully set fire to the library—and if so, who?

Weaving her lifelong love of books and reading into an investigation of the fire, award-winning New Yorker reporter and New York Times bestselling author Susan Orlean delivers a “delightful…reflection on the past, present, and future of libraries in America” (New York magazine) that manages to tell the broader story of libraries and librarians in a way that has never been done before.

In the “exquisitely written, consistently entertaining” (The New York Times) The Library Book, Orlean chronicles the LAPL fire and its aftermath to showcase the larger, crucial role that libraries play in our lives; delves into the evolution of libraries; brings each department of the library to vivid life; studies arson and attempts to burn a copy of a book herself; and reexamines the case of Harry Peak, the blond-haired actor long suspected of setting fire to the LAPL more than thirty years ago.

“A book lover’s dream…an ambitiously researched, elegantly written book that serves as a portal into a place of history, drama, culture, and stories” (Star Tribune, Minneapolis), Susan Orlean’s thrilling journey through the stacks reveals how these beloved institutions provide much more than just books—and why they remain an essential part of the heart, mind, and soul of our country.


  • Damon P.

    Good story and well read. I found it interesting how she used the library fire as the hub of the wheel and the spokes as histories that were related to the library. It is a good read well worth the time.

  • Barb S.

    Very slow beginning but well worth the patience! I love non-fiction ! This specific one has beautiful language. I love the weave of a detective mindset! My husband and I both recommend this great book!

  • Jennifer J.

    This book was like a love story to your local library. Susan Orlean begins her book discussing a tragic fire that decimated the LA Central Library. What follows is a prolific history of the library and its role in the diverse and changing LA landscape.

  • Kimberly M.

    My first book from Reese Witherspoon’s book club. This was so far less dull than I imagined! Really enjoyed it. I miss it!! I carried me through quite a few plane rides.

  • Mary R.

    Interesting history of librarians.

  • Dawn H.

    The 3 minute sample is a waste of 2-1/2 minutes. It was only helpful to know that the author should not have narrated her own book...

  • Nadine R.

    This book was a bit of a slog. The reader/authors voice is a little droning, but ultimately I found the topic interesting. I almost stopped & debating not finishing, but I’m glad I did. I feel as though I learned a lot & renewed my appreciation for our public libraries & librarians.

  • Anonymous

    I tried to get into this book. After listening for over two hours, I just could not do it. very boring subject matter and bland narration.

  • Anonymous

    Value of libeays is sometime

Library Book

by Susan Orlean

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Library Book, Susan Orlean
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