true crime / literaria
This is one of those hard-to-classify non-fiction books, a satisfying mix of history, reportage and true crime which made me feel proud to have a library card. Book people recognize one another, whether they’re librarians, booksellers or readers. Susan Orlean describes her own childhood experiences at her local library and later, the enormous Los Angeles Public Library in central L.A., which in April 1986 was almost completely lost to a spectacular conflagration. Orlean describes the fire and talks with librarians past and present, as well as historical (and sometimes controversial) figures involved in the library’s history. The man accused of starting the fire was a slippery confabulist who may or may not have been involved, and his character is fascinating. Well researched, well written non-fiction.