More than 30 years after a fire destroyed 400,000 books at the Los Angeles Public Library's Central Library, journalist Susan Orlean re-examines the tragedy in The Library Book. Orlean has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1992; her quest to piece together the events surrounding this little-known tale was fueled by her relentless curiosity, a love of reading, and a profound appreciation for the democratic institution of the library. "Libraries are remembering for a whole culture," she said, describing the sorrow at such an indescribable loss of so many books. "That's what books do for all of us—preserve memory."
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