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Library: Author Susan Orlean - The Library Book

The Burbank Public Library is pleased to host an evening with celebrated writer and journalist Susan Orlean, in conversation with Burbank's Library Services Director, Elizabeth Goldman.

Books will be available for purchase and signing at this event.

A new book by Susan Orlean is a publishing event. It’s been seven years since her bestselling Rin Tin Tin, and eighteen since the now-classic The Orchid Thief. (And all the while, she’s been writing brilliant pieces for The New Yorker). Her newest full-length work emerges from Orlean’s deep and profound love of libraries and the people who run them, stemming from her earliest days as a reader when her mother took her to the Shaker Heights Public Library. The meticulously researched and magnificently told THE LIBRARY BOOK is born in part from this love.

The Los Angeles Public Library fire in April 1986 was a catastrophic event – it was the biggest library fire in American history, destroying or damaging more than a million books. Likely arson, the fire drew scant attention because of an eerie coincidence; it happened the same day as the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown. In Susan Orlean’s hands, the story of the Los Angeles Library fire blossoms into a rich cultural history and a simmering mystery. It is a narrative full of colorful characters, including the main suspect in the fire: Harry Peak, a handsome, sun-kissed fabulist with a memorable shock of bleach-blond hair. He’s a particular product of Southern California: part dreamer, part drifter, and of course, part time actor. 

At a time when civic institutions are under threat, THE LIBRARY BOOK is a testament to the importance of the warm embrace of a shared public space and of people devoting their lives to preserving knowledge and helping others. 

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