#121 Susan Orlean
When I found out Susan Orlean's latest was called The Library Book it took me exactly 2 minutes to invite her on the show to discuss it.
Bless her, she said yes less than 5 minutes later.
This book is SO GOOD. Granted, I am an easy sell with a podcast called The Secret Library. But this book has arson, crazy characters, scandal, history, and everything a book nerd could ever want. We discuss the process of researching and writing this book over 5 years and what it took to write it, even after Susan thought she'd never write another book again.
She's pure gold, as always.
Discussed in Episode 121 with Susan Orlean:
“I just can‘t do this again.”
After Rin Tin Tin, considering the next book
”It felt to me like this was demanding to be written.“
”I convinced myself, as one always does, that it would be very easy.“
How she allowed herself to get started.
”It really did seduce me.“
On how the story caused her to write it.
”A story has to get more interesting as you learn more about it.“
On knowing whether a story is worthy of a book.
”It all felt urgent & surprising.“
On how she kept going for five years.
Wrote this story as a newcomer to LA. Looked at LA and the story with fresh eyes.
”I am so glad to be writing this book.“
On writing about Los Angeles as a literary city.
Los Angeles, even today, has the Temperament of a young city.
”It‘s a city that tolerates and encourages a kind of eccentricity.“
On LA being a weird young place.
”Libraries are our temples of storytelling.“
”I didn‘t want to tell the book simply chronologically.“
”I really wanted to capture a sense of the library in its day-to-day life.“
”I wanted it to be readable.“
On not writing a 3000 page book.
”For me it was a process of distillation.“
Turning her research into a story.
”There was a lot of good material that didn‘t end up in the book.“
”The idea that everything in the world has been digitized is just not true.“
On libraries as unique repositories of documents & artifacts.
”Just because something isn‘t online doesn’t mean it doesn‘t exist.“
On why we still need physical libraries.
This episode sponsored by listeners like you via the Secret Library Podcast Patreon