Posted on October 20, 2018 at 8:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

April 29, 1986, is a day that most bookworms would probably prefer to forget.

That day, a fire broke out in Los Angeles’s Central Library, forcing it to close for seven years and damaging or destroying over a million books.

This tragedy and its aftermath are the subject of Susan Orlean’s new nonfiction piece, The Library Book.

Her work doesn’t aim to solve the mystery — a man was arrested but never charged in the blaze, which was suspected to be arson — but rather to examine the cultural and civic significance of it.

You can listen to Orlean and Weekend Edition’s Scott Simon discuss the fire and the book it inspired below, or read an article version of it on NPR’s website.

Categories: Author Interview

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