I just have to say “wow!” I never expected this book to be packed with so much information. At times, it almost felt overwhelming. Centered around the 1986 Los Angeles library fire which burned for more than 7 hours and consumed 400,000 books, this book is not just about that fire. This book is about books, fires, libraries, reading, patrons, individuals, writing, it’s about the love of reading. If any of these subjects’ interest you, then this title should be on your list, but I warn you, this book is not one to be read quickly. You could do what I did and listen to this book and take breaks digesting what the author read to you, because it’s a lot!
I found the fire to be interesting as the circumstances surrounding it, were unique. Being such a big structure, filled with flammable materials, I figured it would be a ball of flames quickly but there were other factors to take into account. As the author takes off from this subject, she leads me into a multitude of many other subjects, before coming back to the fire many times. I got to thinking that this book would be a great one to listen to and read at the same time. I would have loved to make reference to some of the other subjects that she branched off on but that was hard to do while just listening to her.
I feel that the author did some research before launching into her writing because of the statistical and elaborate facts that she presented in her book. The author also gave some interesting details about specific individual books in her chapters which sounded like books that I might enjoy and I should look up in the future. As the author talked about the fire, she talked about how books burn, the investigation on how it started, how they tried to stop the fire, who was affected, the damage, the rebuilding, and the years since. When I first started listening to this audio, I couldn’t believe this book could be this long but as I continued listening, I wondered how she was going to finally wrap things up in the end.
There were a few times, I thought the book got a bit long and I had to take a break. I think it was “information overload” on my part. I didn’t really like how the author included random books at the beginning of each chapter. I think if I had been reading the book, I could have skipped over this but listening to the audio, I couldn’t. Listening to call numbers and titles of books for no particular reason just broke up the mood for the story.
Overall, it’s a great book that’s based on a true event. The author takes us readers, on an incredible journey, enlightening us with fascinating facts and stories centered around a building, that many of us like to call our second home.