Morning Book Break and Books and Bagels Book Discussion Groups on
The Library Book by Susan Orlean
The Books and Bagels Book Discussion Group members rated the book between a 3.0 and 5.0. The average of the ratings was 3.81.
The Morning Book Break Book Discussion Group rated the book between a -1.0 and 5.0. The average of the ratings was 3.13.
Susan Orlean is known for her top-notch research skills and the ability to weave together disparate threads into an informative, interesting, narrative nonfiction book. She covered many topics in The Library Book; from the history of LA library system and its many departments, the building of the Central Library, the account of LA Central Library fire and the mystery surrounding the fire. Orlean also covered the concept of a book having a soul and how the burning of books destroys a culture’s very existence and history.
The groups discussed the role of libraries throughout our lives. We discussed the various roles that libraries and books play in the health of a community. We discussed the history of libraries and the various departments. We discuss new ideas and initiatives for libraries of the future.
In chapter 5, Orlean writes that books “take on a kind of human vitality.” The groups attempted to answer the following question: What roles do books play in our lives and do we anthropomorphize them? We discussed wrestling with the idea of giving books away. Additionally, we discussed a fire’s impact on a culture and its ideas.
Many members loved the book and they have already recommended it to friends. Some members enjoyed the structure of the book and felt like the author created interest by weaving together threads of each storyline throughout the book. Members who liked the book found it educational and informative. They commend the author for her tremendous research.
The facilitator thought of the book as a great tribute to the good work libraries do each day. Susan Orlean says, “All the things that are wrong in the world seem conquered by a library’s simple unspoken promise: Here I am, please tell me your story; here is my story, please listen.” “This is why I wanted to write this book, to tell about a place I love that doesn’t belong to me but feels like it is mine, and houw that feels marvelous and execeptional.”
“It <the library> declares that all these stories matter, and so does every effort to create something that connects us to one another, and to our past and to what is still to come.”
Facilitator Preface: Some members enjoy nonfiction books, but most members like fiction books better and rarely read nonfiction books.
Many members disliked that author went back and forth in time. They felt this led to a disconnected read and it made the reading more difficult. Many members like stories told in a linear fashion. They felt the story was choppy due to the back and forth structure.
All the members are strong advocates for libraries and love libraries. They were disappointed that they did not love the book because they want to promote libraries. They had high hopes for the book. They did not care about the LA Library and many thought if they story was about Chicago they might have been more engaged. Many members said the story just didn’t grab them. They didn’t care about solving the arson or about Harry Peak. They didn’t like the pace or the structure. Members thought the book was too comprehensive and the author tried to cover too many people. One member said if she had to take a quiz on the book, she would flunk.
For books and audiobooks in our collection by Susan Orlean, please click here.
Listen to the dynamic interviews below to discover how Susan Orlean came to write
The Library Book.
Susan Orlean kicks off her tour with an interview with David Ulin at the LA Central Library.
For photos of the Central Library, please take a look at the Central Library website. The Art and Architecture of the Central Library is magnificent.