Arlington Reads brings authors and readers together to talk about the important topics of our time.
The author talk event with Susan Orlean has been postponed until further notice.
Susan Orlean's newest work, "The Library Book," an exploration of the history, power, and future of these endangered institutions, is a finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Nonfiction.
"The Library Book" is told through the lens of Orlean’s quest to solve a notorious cold case: who set fire to the Los Angeles Public Library in 1986, ultimately destroying 400,000 books? Erik Larson, author of "The Devil in the White City" and "Dead Wake," wrote, “After reading Susan Orlean’s 'The Library Book,' I’m quite sure I’ll never look at libraries, or librarians, the same way again. This is classic Orlean—an exploration of a devastating fire becomes a journey through a world of infinite richness, populated with unexpected characters doing unexpected things, with unexpected passion.”
About the author:
Susan Orlean's deeply moving explorations of American stories both familiar and obscure have earned her a reputation as one of America’s most distinctive journalistic voices. A staff writer for "The New Yorker" for over twenty years and a former contributing editor at "Rolling Stone" and "Vogue," she has been praised as “an exceptional essayist” (Publishers Weekly) and a writer who “approaches her subjects with intense curiosity and fairness” (Bookmarks).
In a career spanning more than three decades, Orlean has also written for Outside, Esquire, The Boston Globe, and more. She is the author of "Rin Tin Tin," "The Orchid Thief," and "Saturday Night," a portrait of the varying experience of Saturday night in dozens of communities across the United States. Entertainment Weekly concluded, “I can’t think of a better way to spend Saturday night than staying home and reading this book.”
Orlean has served as an editor for "Best American Essays" and Best American Travel Writing, and her journalism has been compiled into two collections: "The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup: My Encounters with Extraordinary People" and "My Kind of Place: Travel Stories from a Woman Who’s Been Everywhere." Orlean’s work has inspired two successful films: "Blue Crush," the story of young women surfing in Maui, and "Adaptation," the metafilm directed by Spike Jonze. Meryl Streep, who portrayed Orlean in the film, was nominated for an Academy Award, as were costars Nicholas Cage and Chris Cooper and writer Charlie Kaufman.
Orlean is currently Rogers Communications Chair in Literary Journalism at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Alberta, Canada. She is also the host, with actress Sarah Thyre, of the podcast Crybabies, a series of candid conversations with creative guests about the books, music, TV, and movies that make them cry.
Arlington Reads, a community engagement program of Arlington Public Library, promotes literacy, the joy of reading and intergenerational participation.
“The program brings together people to talk about books and the important topics of our time,” said Library Director Diane Kresh.
Since its inception in 2006, Arlington Reads has featured both national and international fiction and nonfiction authors and cultural icons, such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Wendell Berry, Katherine Boo, Matthew Desmond, Anthony Doerr, Richard Ford, Colum McCann, Tim O’Brien, Ann Patchett, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Elizabeth Strout and Zadie Smith.
Arlington Reads is made possible in part through the generous support of the Friends of the Arlington Public Library.
Arlington Reads Archive
2018 - Beth Macy
2018 - Zadie Smith
2018 - Habitats for Inhumanity
2017 - Why Fiction Matters
2016 - The Human Displacement of WWII
2015 - Being Black in America
2014 - Dazed and Confused: Boomer Angst
2013 - Out of Bounds: the Immigrant Experience
2012 - Life, Love, Loss
2011 - The Soldier's Story
2010 - Know What You Eat
2009 - Inside the Supreme Court