TODAY’S Friday Firstliner is from a book I have just finished, The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles.

Based on true events, featuring real people, this novel caught my attention when I saw it reviewed on two blogging friends’ reviews. I purchased it from Amazon. One of those bloggers said the parts set during WW II were excellent, but the parts set in 1983 detracted from the novel. I concur, for the story of Odile and the Paris Library made an wonderful stand-alone novel. Here is it’s first line:

“Odile/ Paris, February 1939/ Numbers floated round my head like stars. 823. The numbers were the key to a new life. 822. Constellations of hope. 841. In my bedroom late at night, in the morning on the way to get croissants, series after series–810, 840, 890–formed in front of my eyes. They represented freedom, the future. Along with the numbers, I’d studied the history of libraries…”

On this first page, the reader meets the heroine, Odile, preparing for her job interview with the Directress of the Paris Library. She has no idea what she will be asked, but knows she really wants the job.

I enjoyed this book a great deal, especially marveling at the wonderful job the employees of the Paris Library did to keep the library open and functioning, even in occupied Paris.



It’s the story of a cat.

It’s the story of a town–a small town.

It’s the story of a librarian who loves books and cats.


I began this book knowing it was going to have a “sad” ending, but I was surprised and inspired by the ending as well.

Vicky Myron, with assistance from Bret Witter, subtitled her book: “A Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World.” Indeed, “touched the world” is no exaggeration. The cover describes it as a” universal tale of love, hope, and friendship.”

Abandoned in the local book drop, a three-week old kitten worked his way into the hearts and lives of Library Director Vicki Myron and an entire town. As the story unfolds, the reader follows Dewey (named after the Dewey Decimal System) from a straggly, half-frozen, pitiful castoff to an international celebrity. One of the best parts of the book is the visit of Japanese filmmakers, who make a documentary about Dewey, endearing him to people worldwide. Not only is the story and its anecdotes of those who met Dewey inspirational, but it is also engaging. Dewey instinctively seemed to know the needs of each library patron who met him, providing comfort and love to all. Filled with humor and charm, this true story was a darned good read!


Continuing to read my”Books about Books” list inspired by Random House, I warily approached The Library Book by Susan Orlean. Knowing only that it was non-fiction, and was about the 1986 fire at the Los Angeles Public Library, all I could think of was all those books going up in smoke. Since I was attempting to read more non-fiction in 2019 anyway, I ordered The Library Book from my local library. The red, very “plain” book cover told me it was a “…riveting mix of true crime, history, biography, and immersion journalism.” (Booklist)

Orlean, the “immersed journalist” of the book’s cover was touted as a writer for the New Yorker and other magazines. The statistics on the book jacket confirmed my original fear that it was an awful, awful occurrence–400,000 books totally destroyed and 700,000 more damaged.  Each chapter was headed up with copies of one or more old-fashioned card-catalog cards, each relevant to something within the chapter. The story immediately introduces the reader to Harry Peak, a part-time actor. His looks, his movements, and his thoughts immediately engage the reader’s curiosity. Library Book does include a brief history of libraries, but this information was never boring and often fascinated me with details the author must have enjoyed unearthing. Orlean takes the reader along on her interviews, her speculations then discoveries, and her frustrations in researching and writing the book, which was one of my favorite parts of reading the book.

The investigation, the court snafus, the intricacy of the actual event that took place on April 28, 1986, supplies fascinating reading to book-a-holics and library fans like me.