The Orchid Thief

The Orchid Thief

Susan Orlean

Nonfiction / History / Writing

In Susan Orlean's mesmerizing true story of beauty and obsession is John Laroche, a renegade plant dealer and sharply handsome guy, in spite of the fact that he is missing his front teeth and has the posture of al dente spaghetti. In 1994, Laroche and three Seminole Indians were arrested with rare orchids they had stolen from a wild swamp in south Florida that is filled with some of the world's most extraordinary plants and trees. Laroche had planned to clone the orchids and then sell them for a small fortune to impassioned collectors. After he was caught in the act, Laroche set off one of the oddest legal controversies in recent memory, which brought together environmentalists, Native Amer-ican activists, and devoted orchid collectors. The result is a tale that is strange, compelling, and hilarious. New Yorker writer Susan Orlean followed Laroche through swamps and into the eccentric world of Florida's orchid collectors, a subculture of aristocrats,...
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The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup

The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup

Susan Orlean

Nonfiction / History / Writing

The bestselling author of The Orchid Thief is back -- and she's brought some friends -- in this wonderfully entertaining collection of the acclaimed New Yorker writer's best and brightest profiles. Meet more than thirty-five of Susan Orlean's favorite people -- from the well known (Bill Blass and Tonya Harding) 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. Young people. And one championship show dog named Biff, who from a certain angle looks a lot like President Clinton.Orlean transports us into the lives of some rather eccentric individuals, like the man who has spent thirty years selling nothing but ceiling fans; or Bob Silverstein, maker of the Big Chair -- the creme de la creme of oversized chairs used for novelty photographs at carnivals. Others are living highly unusual lives, like Cristina Sanchez, the eponymous bullfighter, the first woman...
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The Library Book

The Library Book

Susan Orlean

Nonfiction / History / Writing

"A constant pleasure to read...Everybody who loves books should check out The Library Book." —The Washington Post "CAPTIVATING...DELIGHTFUL." —Christian Science Monitor * "EXQUISITELY WRITTEN, CONSISTENTLY ENTERTAINING." —The New York Times * "MESMERIZING...RIVETING." —Booklist (starred review) A dazzling love letter to a beloved institution—and an investigation into one of its greatest mysteries—from the bestselling author hailed as a "national treasure" by The Washington Post.On the morning of April 28, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. As the moments passed, the patrons and staff who had been cleared out of the building realized this was not the usual fire alarm. As one fireman recounted, "Once that first stack got going, it was 'Goodbye, Charlie.'" The fire was disastrous: it reached 2000 degrees and burned for more...
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