What die-hard book lover doesn't like books about books, or books about the places they are stored, or the sometimes fascinating lives of some of the people through history who championed for books to be available to the common person through libraries?
The main focus of "The Library Book" was LA's Central Library, its history, the people who have been its librarians, and the fire that almost destroyed it, but also so much more. It shared information about books, libraries and their caretakers through history, its patrons (some were hilarious!) as well as exploring the crime (or was it?) that almost wiped out one of the largest libraries in our country. It looked at the man accused of his arson, and why there are still questions regarding the nature of the fire. The books was chock full of interesting tidbits and I know I exasperated members of my family, every day, having to read the next bit I felt so interesting I could not keep it to myself. I could all most feel, as I approached, them sending up furtive prayers "Please don't let her talk more about that book". : )
Each chapter started with a list of 4 or five books that somehow pertained to that chapter, and those list were thought provoking themselves, and contains an extensive bibliography at the end.
But it was also a book more personal for the author as well as she felt an abiding love for libraries since her youth and the memories shared with her mother growing up, during their weekly visits there leaving with stacks of books, and her mom always saying that if she could have chosen any profession, it would have been a librarian.
When I saw that Susan Orlean had written this, I got so excited because I had loved "The Orchard Thief" and just had to get this-- and I was not disappointed. I love everything about it-- not just the topic, or the way the story was told, but also the way it looks, the way it feels-- even the end papers inside the front and back cover were nice.
Marianne decides to explore 12 popular self-help books over 12 months at the beginning of one year and discovers that they're not always helpful.
If you're like me you've read a lot of self-help books and occasionally taken a few pieces of advice from them before inertia and time spent doing other things moves you away from the book. I keep meaning to do a Kondo-esque tidy but it would require more of my energy than I'm willing to devote to it. I do question if it sparks joy of things I'm putting away and I've removed a few things from my house as I'm asking that question. (I also remind myself that I deserve better than the things that don't work on my skin or in my life etc.). I also listen to the excellent By the Book Podcast and often agree with a lot of their points about the ones I've read.
The Books she chooses are: Feel the Fear and do it anyway; Money a love story; The Secret; F**k it: the ultimate spiritual way; Angels with Doreen Virtue; 7 Habits of Highly effective people; Power of Now; Get the Guy; Daring Greatly and You can heal your life. She strugles with depression and becoming a bit of a self-centred ass for a while and all the time her very Irish mammy trys to steer her on a good path.
Like me she finds things that resonate in books and sometimes she obsesses a bit and I couldn't abandon my life for a year like she did to look inward but by the end she's less broken, mostly by connecting with the people who are real in her life.