New Release Books by Susan Orlean

Susan Orlean is the author of On Animals (2021), The Library Book (2019), Rin Tin Tin (2012), Rin Tin Tin Enhanced eBook (2011), The Floral Ghost (2016) and other 10 books.

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On Animals

release date: Nov 04, 2021
On Animals
'Every essay in this book is magnificent... Mesmerizing.' New York Times 'How we interact with animals has preoccupied philosophers, poets, and naturalists for ages,' writes Susan Orlean. Since the age of six, when Orlean wrote and illustrated a book called Herbert the Near-Sighted Pigeon, she's been drawn to stories about how we live with animals, and how they abide by us. Now, in On Animals, she examines animal-human relationships through the compelling tales she has written over the course of her celebrated career. These stories consider a range of creatures - the household pets we dote on, the animals we raise to end up as meat on our plates, the creatures who could eat us for dinner, the various tamed and untamed animals we share our planet with who are central to human life. In her own backyard, Orlean discovers the delights of keeping chickens. In a different backyard, in New Jersey, she meets a woman who has twenty-three pet tigers - something none of her neighbours knew about until one of the tigers escapes. In Iceland, the world's most famous whale resists the efforts to set him free; in Morocco, the world's hardest-working donkeys find respite at a special clinic. We meet a show dog and a lost dog and a pigeon who knows exactly how to get home. Equal parts delightful and profound, enriched by Orlean's stylish prose and precise research, these stories celebrate the meaningful cross-species connections that grace our collective existence.

The Library Book

release date: Oct 01, 2019
The Library Book
Susan Orlean’s bestseller and New York Times Notable Book is “a sheer delight…as rich in insight and as varied as the treasures contained on the shelves in any local library” (USA TODAY)—a dazzling love letter to a beloved institution and an investigation into one of its greatest mysteries. “Everybody who loves books should check out The Library Book” (The Washington Post). On the morning of April 28, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. The fire was disastrous: it reached two thousand degrees and burned for more than seven hours. By the time it was extinguished, it had consumed four hundred thousand books and damaged seven hundred thousand more. Investigators descended on the scene, but more than thirty years later, the mystery remains: Did someone purposefully set fire to the library—and if so, who? Weaving her lifelong love of books and reading into an investigation of the fire, award-winning New Yorker reporter and New York Times bestselling author Susan Orlean delivers a “delightful…reflection on the past, present, and future of libraries in America” (New York magazine) that manages to tell the broader story of libraries and librarians in a way that has never been done before. In the “exquisitely written, consistently entertaining” (The New York Times) The Library Book, Orlean chronicles the LAPL fire and its aftermath to showcase the larger, crucial role that libraries play in our lives; delves into the evolution of libraries; brings each department of the library to vivid life; studies arson and attempts to burn a copy of a book herself; and reexamines the case of Harry Peak, the blond-haired actor long suspected of setting fire to the LAPL more than thirty years ago. “A book lover’s dream…an ambitiously researched, elegantly written book that serves as a portal into a place of history, drama, culture, and stories” (Star Tribune, Minneapolis), Susan Orlean’s thrilling journey through the stacks reveals how these beloved institutions provide much more than just books—and why they remain an essential part of the heart, mind, and soul of our country.

Rin Tin Tin

release date: Oct 09, 2012
Rin Tin Tin
Chronicles the rise of the iconic German shepherd character while sharing the stories of the real WWI dog and the canine performer in the 1950s television show, and explores Rin Tin Tin's relevance in the military and popular culture.

Rin Tin Tin Enhanced eBook

release date: Sep 27, 2011
Rin Tin Tin Enhanced eBook
Featuring more than seventy-five photographs and almost a dozen rarely seen videos from Rin Tin Tin’s legendary career, this Enhanced eBook edition of Susan Orlean’s Rin Tin Tin vividly illustrates the life and legacy of the canine hero. He believed the dog was immortal. So begins Susan Orlean’s sweeping, powerfully moving account of Rin Tin Tin’s journey from orphaned puppy to movie star and international icon. Orlean, a staff writer at The New Yorker who has been hailed as “a national treasure” by The Washington Post, spent nearly ten years researching and reporting her most captivating book to date: the story of a dog who was born in 1918 and never died. It begins on a battlefield in France during World War I, when a young American soldier, Lee Duncan, discovered a newborn German shepherd in the ruins of a bombed-out dog kennel. To Duncan, who came of age in an orphanage, the dog’s survival was a miracle. He saw something in Rin Tin Tin that he felt compelled to share with the world. Duncan brought Rinty home to California, where the dog’s athleticism and acting ability drew the attention of Warner Bros. Over the next ten years, Rinty starred in twenty-three blockbuster silent films that saved the studio from bankruptcy and made him the most famous dog in the world. At the height of his popularity, Rin Tin Tin was Hollywood’s number one box office star. During the decades that followed, Rinty and his descendants rose and fell with the times, making a tumultuous journey from silent films to talkies, from black-and-white to color, from radio programs to one of the most popular television shows of the baby boom era, The Adventures of Rin-Tin-Tin. The canine hero’s legacy was cemented by Duncan and a small group of others—including Bert Leonard, the producer of the TV series, and Daphne Hereford, the owner of the current Rin Tin Tin—who have dedicated their lives to making sure the dog’s legend will never die. At its core, Rin Tin Tin is a poignant exploration of the enduring bond between humans and animals. It is also a richly textured history of twentieth-century entertainment and entrepreneurship. It spans ninety years and explores everything from the shift in status of dogs from working farmhands to beloved family members, from the birth of obedience training to the evolution of dog breeding, from the rise of Hollywood to the past and present of dogs in war. Filled with humor and heart and moments that will move you to tears, Susan Orlean’s first original book since The Orchid Thief is an irresistible blend of history, human interest, and masterful storytelling—a dazzling celebration of a great American dog by one of our most gifted writers.

The Floral Ghost

release date: Feb 23, 2016
The Floral Ghost
This one-of-a-kind collaboration between acclaimed author Susan Orlean and celebrated artist Philip Taaffe unites the literary and the visual, the nostalgic and the optimistic, and brings greenery to your bookshelf. Taking inspiration from the rapidly dwindling "flower district" of New York City, Orlean and Taaffe offer tandem musings on the conceit of "the floral ghost." Orlean's essay, one of her first botanically themed writings since she penned the widely lauded "The Orchid Thief," reflects on a poignant moment when she first visited the district in its resplendent heyday. Her text is accompanied by Taaffe's colorful silkscreen monotypes-a bouquet of paper and ink recalling the unique yet universal nature of time passing and petals fading. An evocative rendering of both the memories of youth and the ephemeral nature of the cityscape, "The Floral Ghost" makes an elegant gift for every aspiring writer, artist and dreamer who moves to a city to make his or her mark or who admires its mutable glory from afar. Susan Orlean (born 1955) is the bestselling author of eight books, including "The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup"; "My Kind of Place"; "Saturday Night"; and "Lazy Little Loafers." In 1999, she published "The Orchid Thief," a narrative about orchid poachers in Florida, which was made into the Academy Award-winning film "Adaptation," written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Spike Jonze. Her 2011 book, "Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend," was a "New York Times" bestseller. Orlean has been a staff writer for the "The New Yorker" since 1992. She lives in Los Angeles and upstate New York. Philip Taaffe was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, in 1955, and studied at the Cooper Union in New York. He has exhibited worldwide since his first solo exhibition in New York, in 1982. Taaffe has traveled widely in the Middle East, South America and Morocco, where he collaborated with Mohammed Mrabet on the 1993 book "Chocolate Creams and Dollars," translated by Paul Bowles. His work is in numerous public collections, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Taaffe lives and works in New York and West Cornwall, Connecticut.

Saturday Night

release date: Aug 16, 2011
Saturday Night
Twenty years ago, before she wrote The Orchid Thief or was hailed as “a national treasure” by The Washington Post, Susan Orlean was a journalist with a question: What makes Saturday night so special? To answer it, she embarked on a remarkable journey across the country and spent the evening with all sorts of people in all sorts of places—hipsters in Los Angeles, car cruisers in small-town Indiana, coeds in Boston, the homeless in New York, a lounge band in Portland, quinceañera revelers in Phoenix, and more—to chronicle the one night of the week when we do the things we want to do rather than the things we need to do. The result is an irresistible portrait of how Saturday night in America is lived that remains.

The Orchid Thief

release date: Jul 20, 2011
The Orchid Thief
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK A modern classic of personal journalism, The Orchid Thief is Susan Orlean’s wickedly funny, elegant, and captivating tale of an amazing obsession. Determined to clone an endangered flower—the rare ghost orchid Polyrrhiza lindenii—a deeply eccentric and oddly attractive man named John Laroche leads Orlean on an unforgettable tour of America’s strange flower-selling subculture, through Florida’s swamps and beyond, along with the Seminoles who help him and the forces of justice who fight him. In the end, Orlean—and the reader—will have more respect for underdog determination and a powerful new definition of passion. In this new edition, coming fifteen years after its initial publication and twenty years after she first met the “orchid thief,” Orlean revisits this unforgettable world, and the route by which it was brought to the screen in the film Adaptation, in a new retrospective essay. Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more. Praise for The Orchid Thief “Stylishly written, whimsical yet sophisticated, quirkily detailed and full of empathy . . . The Orchid Thief shows [Orlean’s] gifts in full bloom.”—The New York Times Book Review “Fascinating . . . an engrossing journey [full] of theft, hatred, greed, jealousy, madness, and backstabbing.”—Los Angeles Times “Orlean’s snapshot-vivid, pitch-perfect prose . . . is fast becoming one of our national treasures.”—The Washington Post Book World “Orlean’s gifts [are] her ear for the self-skewing dialogue, her eye for the incongruous, convincing detail, and her Didion-like deftness in description.”—Boston Sunday Globe “A swashbuckling piece of reporting that celebrates some virtues that made America great.”—The Wall Street Journal

Throw Me a Bone

release date: Jun 15, 2010
Throw Me a Bone
Cooper Gillespie, an extremely intelligent and handsome Welsh springer spaniel, is a dog of discriminating taste and strong opinions. Now Cooper, with the assistance of cookbook author Sally Sampson and the transcription services of his favorite human, Susan Orlean, has put together 50 delectable recipes for snacks, meals, and treats for your canine companion. Maybe you're cooking everything because your collie has colitis or your Akita has a wheat allergy or your older dog just isn't thriving on commercial kibble. Maybe you're mixing up the occasional biscuit or treat to help your best fur-bearing friend over that I-just-ate-a-tennis- ball-and-don't-feel-so-good episode. Whatever the reason, the recipes in this book (which have been approved by dog trainer and nutritional consultant Stacy Alldredge) will satisfy the most discerning doggie palate. Many of them, in fact, can be shared with a favorite human (though preferably not from the same dish). Illustrated with more than 50 endearing black-and-white photographs of Cooper and friends by Cami Johnson, and liberally seasoned with stories, quotes, and nutrition tips, Throw Me a Bone makes a dog's dinner something to look forward to.

Lazy Little Loafers

release date: Oct 01, 2008
Lazy Little Loafers
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Orchid Thief comes a smart, hilarious take on what babies contribute—or don’t—to the world. Ever experienced stroller envy? Ever wished you were applauded just for walking across a room? Ever wanted to loaf about the park on a blanket in the middle of a school day with nothing on your agenda but being relaxed and happy? Then you should be a baby. They’ve got it made. In this charming, droll story, a world-weary older sister ponders the question, why don’t more babies work? Her answers, hilariously tinged with resentment, offer up a wickedly accurate picture of just how great babies have it. Known for her keen and witty observations of various subcultures, Susan Orlean here turns her gaze on babies. The resulting picture book is tongue-in-cheek fun for older siblings and anyone looking for a lazy, praise-filled day. F&P Level: L F&P Genre: RF

The Bullfighter Checks Her Make-Up

release date: Aug 31, 2010
The Bullfighter Checks Her Make-Up
Susan Orlean's collection of profiles ranges from the well-known (Marky Mark) to the unknown (Colin Duffy, a typical American man, aged ten) to the formerly known (the cult sixties girl group the Shaggs). Orlean meets with Cristina Sanchez, Spain's first fully-qualified female matador, Silly Billy, New York's most successful children's clown, an African king who is a New York taxi-driver, and a champion show dog called Biff, who from a certain angle looks like President Clinton. As in her remarkable bestseller The Orchid Thief, soon to be the basis of Spike Being John Malkovich Jonze's new film, starring Meryl Streep and Nicholas Cage, Orlean's eye for the fascinatingly bizarre and her wonderfully witty way with language make her take on the world utterly original and unique.

My Kind of Place

release date: Oct 11, 2005
My Kind of Place
New Yorker writer and author of The Library Book takes readers on a series of remarkable journeys in this uniquely witty, sophisticated, and far-flung travel book. In this irresistible collection of adventures far and near, Orlean conducts a tour of the world via its subcultures, from the heart of the African music scene in Paris to the World Taxidermy Championships in Springfield, Illinois—and even into her own apartment, where she imagines a very famous houseguest taking advantage of her hospitality. With Orlean as guide, lucky readers partake in all manner of armchair activity. They will climb Mt. Fuji and experience a hike most intrepid Japanese have never attempted; play ball with Cuba’s Little Leaguers, promising young athletes born in a country where baseball and politics are inextricably intertwined; trawl Icelandic waters with Keiko, everyone’s favorite whale as he tries to make it on his own; stay awhile in Midland, Texas, hometown of George W. Bush, a place where oil time is the only time that matters; explore the halls of a New York City school so troubled it’s known as “Horror High”; and stalk caged tigers in Jackson, New Jersey, a suburban town with one of the highest concentrations of tigers per square mile anywhere in the world. Vivid, humorous, unconventional, and incomparably entertaining, Susan Orlean’s writings for The New Yorker have delighted readers for over a decade. My Kind of Place is an inimitable treat by one of America’s premier literary journalists.

The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup

release date: Jan 08, 2002
The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup
The bestselling author of The Orchid Thief and The Library Book is back with this delightfully entertaining collection of her best and brightest profiles. Acclaimed New Yorker writer Susan Orlean brings her wry sensibility, exuberant voice, and peculiar curiosities to a fascinating range of subjects—from the well known (Bill Blass) to the unknown (a typical ten-year-old boy) to the formerly known (the 1960s girl group the Shaggs). Passionate people. Famous people. Short people. And one championship show dog named Biff, who from a certain angle looks a lot like Bill Clinton. Orlean transports us into the lives of eccentric and extraordinary characters—like Cristina Sánchez, the eponymous bullfighter, the first female matador of Spain—and writes with such insight and candor that readers will feel as if they’ve met each and every one of them. The result is a luminous and joyful tour of the human condition as seen through the eyes of the writer heralded by the Chicago Tribune as a “journalist dynamo.”

BOOK CLUB SET.

release date: Jan 01, 2019
BOOK CLUB SET.
"Susan Orlean reopens the unsolved mystery of the most catastrophic library fire in American history, and delivers a dazzling love letter to a beloved institution--our libraries"--
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