My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Snatched this one while catching up on my Reese Witherspoon Book Club picks. I went in blind but knew that it was nonfiction and that it had received mixed reviews.
The Library Book is exactly what it sounds like. A book about the library. And it just happened to be a book I borrowed from the library as well. It starts by telling the story of the fire that burned down the Los Angeles Public Library in 1986. 400,000 books burned. Another 700,000 books were damaged by smoke and water. Was it accidental or was it arson?
Then it transitions to a bunch of history about libraries, extensive information about fire, more history about libraries, and swings back around in the end to the Los Angeles Public Library fire at the end.
I was super invested in the fire portion of the book. It started to feel like a true crime and I was totally on board. When the book transitioned to library history, I was in and out. There were pieces of information that were super interesting: how Overdrive works, how the library transitioned from a book repository into a community outreach program, etc. But I lost a little bit of interest when the story turned to how the Los Angeles Public Library was designed or its family tree of librarians.
So overall, I found myself loving some pieces and being bored by others. The parts I loved were a solid 4 stars for me, but the boring sections were 3 stars. Split down the middle, I’d give the book 3.5 stars.