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New and popular titles at Juniata County Library

With so many good books being released all the time, it can be hard to determine what to check out next. Every week, I offer a run-down of significant releases available here at the library.

Visit our online card catalog at juniata.sparkpa.org to search today or call (717) 436-6378 to have a helpful library staff member assist you.

“The Library Book” by Susan Orlean

In her latest, New Yorker staff writer Orlean (“Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend,” “2011,” etc.) seeks to “tell about a place I love that doesn’t belong to me but feels like it is mine.” It’s the story of the Los Angeles Public Library, poet Charles Bukowski’s “wondrous place,” and what happened to it on April 29, 1986: It burned down. The fire raged “for more than seven hours and reached temperatures of 2,000 degrees … more than one million books were burned or damaged.” Though nobody was killed, 22 people were injured, and it took more than 3 million gallons of water to put it out. One of the firefighters on the scene said, “We thought we were looking at the bowels of hell … It was surreal.” Besides telling the story of the historic library and its destruction, the author recounts the intense arson investigation and provides an in-depth biography of the troubled young man who was arrested for starting it, alleged actor Harry Peak. Orlean reminds us that library fires have been around since the Library of Alexandria; during World War II, “the Nazis alone destroyed an estimated hundred million books.” She continues, “destroying a culture’s books is sentencing it to something worse than death: It is sentencing it to seem as if it never happened.” The author also examines the library’s important role in the city since 1872 and the construction of the historic Goodhue Building in 1926. Orlean visited the current library and talked to many of the librarians, learning about their jobs and responsibilities, how libraries were a “solace in the Depression,” and the ongoing problems librarians face dealing with the homeless. One of the most well-written books I have read in years. You can find this book in our New Adult Nonfiction section.

Bookshots…

Here are some quick book recommendations that include star ratings I give them or whether you should skip it, borrow it, or buy it.

“The American Agent: A Maisie Dobbs Novel” by Jacqueline Winspear (5 stars)

“The Cornwalls Are Gone” by James Patterson (3 stars)

“The Case for Trump” by Victor Davis Hanson (2 stars)

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Vince Giordano has been the director of the Juniata County Library since 2015.

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