#BookBeginnings The Library Book by Susan Orlean

Have you seen The Library Book by Susan Orlean yet? Let’s take a look for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!



The Library Book by Susan Orlean

(*Amazon Affiliate link)


Summary:  Using a horrific arson fire in the Los Angeles Public Library on April 29, 1986 as an “inciting incident,” Susan Orlean explores not only multiple facets of the crime, but also the importance of libraries and librarians.

First Sentence:

Stories to Begin On (1940)
By Bacmeister, Rhoda W.
X 808 B127

Begin Now – To Enjoy Tomorrow (1951)
My Giles, Ray
362.6 G472

A Good Place to Begin (1987)
By Powell, Lawerence Clark
027.47949 P884

To Begin at the Beginning (1994)
By Copenhaver, Martin B.
230 C782

Even in Los Angeles, where there is no shortage of remarkable hairdos, Harry Peak attracted attention.



Do you see it?  The author has started the chapter with book titles and their call numbers relating to “beginning.”  All the chapters start with appropriate book titles like this. Isn’t that cool?

I am glad I sprang for a hardcover edition because the book has so many extra special touches, starting with deckle edges. The end papers have the standard book jacket blurb in the front — printed on the endpapers — and an image of one of those old-fashioned library card pockets in the back. The image is so 3-D that it looks real at first glance.

I am really, really enjoying this book.

Have you read The Library Book? Would you like to read it?


  1. Louise @ Foxes and Fairy Tales

    Wow! This book sounds really unique! The first “real” sentence is really attention grabbing even on it’s own, but I really like the touch of having the chapters start with appropriate book titles. It really adds to the library feel!
    If I ever buy this one, I’ll try to get my hands on the physical copy too. Thanks for the extra info about it!

    My Friday memes this week

  2. Karen

    Do all of the chapters begin with book titles like that? Or just the first chapter? It does sound like a unique book.

    • Roberta

      Yes, all the chapters start with book titles. Some are quite fun and inventive. Shouldn’t be skipped, that’s for sure.

  3. Catherine @ Book Club Librarian

    I’ve had an ARC of this for the longest time. A few friends have read the book and recommended it, but somehow my non-fiction titles always wind up on the bottom of the pile. Thanks for your endorsement–I’m really going to have to dig it out and find out what readers are talking about.

    • Roberta

      I’m pretty sure you will be pleasantly surprised. It hasn’t been a “chore” to read at all, like some nonfiction can be. Any book lover find parts that resonate.

  4. Kathy Martin

    This does sound interesting. It looks like the hardcover is the way to go with this one. I am spotlighting Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch this week. Happy reading!

    • Roberta

      Kathy, I’ll be right over to see your book. Thanks for leaving a link.

  5. Shan

    I loved this book. I heard the author on a podcast and it sounded intriguing, and it didn’t disappoint! Agree on the hardback, which has a great library feel. (My review is on my website if you want to take a look.)

    • Roberta

      Shan, You can leave a link if you’ve reviewed something we’ve read. Although I see by visiting your website that you’re keeping a running list rather than individual posts. http://shanhays.com/book-reviews/
      How is that working out for you?

  6. Amelia

    I loved this book, I just finished it earlier this month. It was such a deep read, she is a beautiful writer and this story is just dramatic and beautiful.

  7. Anne@Headfullofbooks

    I touched this book at a local Indy Bookshop last week and should have bought it. In fact, I may go back and get it today! Love the idea of it. My Friday quotes come from Life on Mars

  8. Nicki J. Markus

    Sounds like a unique and interesting read.

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