Page to the Podium: Susan Orlean

  image of the author Susan Orlean




image of the cover of the book The Library Book




Join us as we welcome bestselling author and New Yorker writer Susan Orlean to the podium.

TUES, AUG 6
7:00 p.m.
Center for the Arts

Free tickets available MON, JULY 15, 12:00 noon.

  

The Library Book

The Library Book
   I grew up in libraries, or so it seems. My mother and I would take regular trips to the branch library near my house at least twice a week, and those trips were enchanted. The very air in the library seemed charged with possibility and imagination; books seem to have their own almost human vitality.

But over time, I had become more of a book buyer than a book borrower, and I had begun to forget how magical libraries are.  I never stopped loving libraries, but they receded in my mind, and seemed like a piece of my past.

And then I started taking my own son to the library, and I was reminded instantly and vividly of how much libraries had meant to me, how formative they were to my love of reading and writing, and how much they mean to us as a culture. The next thing I knew, I was investigating the largest library fire in the history of the United States. The life and times and near-death experience of the Los Angeles Public Library was a story that felt urgent to tell, and gave me a chance to pay tribute to these marvelous places that have been such an essential part of my life.

Rin Tin Tin

Rin Tin Tin
   When I was very young, my grandfather kept a Rin Tin Tin figurine sitting on his desk. I     wanted desperately to play with it, and even more desperately I wanted to have a German     shepherd dog of my own, a dog just like the star of "The Adventures of Rin-Tin-Tin",     which debuted on television in 1954. I knew nothing about Rin Tin Tin other than that he     was the perfect dog, and that he was a character on television. When by chance I learned     that Rin Tin Tin was a real dog, not just a television character — a real dog with a real life     that was extraordinary — I was drawn into the story and eventually to the idea of writing     this book.


Saturday Night

Saturday Night
   Two decades have passed since I wrote this book, which documents the experience of     Saturday night in two dozen communities across the United States. Now, more than 20     years later, I've followed up with the many people and places from the book to see where     they are today. This new edition of Saturday Night includes all the text of the original     book plus an afterward that reflects on the changes that have come to pass—and also     how some things, surprisingly, stay the same.


The Orchid Thief

The Orchid Thief
In 1994, I headed down to Florida to investigate the story of John Laroche, an eccentric plant dealer who had been arrested along with a crew of Seminoles for poaching rare orchids out of the a South Florida swamp. I never imagined that I would end up spending the next two years shadowing Laroche and exploring the odd, passionate world of orchid fanatics.