"Being a reference librarian is sort of like being a bartender without the sticky beer mess and the drunks" -- Placzek in "Reference Desk Dilemmas" by Marcella Knibbe-Haanstra, RUSQ

"People flock in, nevertheless, in search of answers to those questions only librarians are considered to be able to answer, such as 'Is this the laundry?' 'How do you spell surreptitious?' and, on a regular basis, 'Do you have a book I remember reading once? It had a red cover and it turned out they were twins.'" -- Terry Pratchett, Going Postal

".[T]he public library is where those without money, power, access, university affiliation, or advanced degrees can get information for free.. " --  Siva Vaidhyanathan, The Anarchist in the Library

"If you want something badly enough, you make arrangements. If you don't want it badly enough, you make excuses." Hanif Kureishi

"I personally find that for domestic purposes, the Trivial Pursuit system works better than Dewey." -- Nick Hornby, The Polysyllabic Spree.

"Everybody knows if you are too careful you are so occupied in being careful that you are sure to stumble over something." -- Gertrude Stein

"Biological possibility and desire are not the same as biological need. Women have childbearing equipment. For them to choose not to use the equipment is no more blocking what is instinctive than it is for a man who, muscles or no, chooses not to be a weightlifter." -- Betty Rollins

"A lot of secular, modern people claim to be disillusioned whenever they learn that any smart person is religious. That's applicable to Newton as it is to any other religious smart person" -- Neal Stephenson

"Albert Camus wrote that the only serious question is whether to kill yourself or not.
Tom Robbins wrote that the only serious question is whether time has a beginning and an end.
Camus clearly got up on the wrong side of bed, and Robbins must have forgotten to set the alarm."  -- Tom Robbins, Still Life With Woodpecker

"'Wait a minute, Juanita, make up your mind. This Snow Crash thing -- is it a virus, a drug, or a religion.' Juanita shrugs. 'What's the difference?'" --  Snowcrash by Neal Stephenson

"A definition of 'Spiritual' could be 'Digital'
Recite to yourself some of the traditional attributes of the word 'spiritual': mythic, magical, ethereal, incorporeal, intangible, nonmaterial, disembodied, ideal, platonic. Is that not a definition of the electronic-digital?" -- Timothy Leary, Chaos & Cyberculture

"THE UNIVERSE WANTS TO PLAY. Those who refuse out of dry spiritual greed & choose pure contemplation forfeit their humanity--those who refuse out of dull anguish, those who hesitate, lose their chance at divinity--those who mold themselves blind masks of Ideas & thrash around seeking some proof of their own solidity end by seeing out of dead men's eyes." --Hakim Bey

So long as we speak the same language and never understand each other, So long as the spirals of our words snarl and interlock And clutch each other with the irreckonable gutterals Well... -Carl Sandburg

"Be careful what you pretend to be because you are what you pretend to be" --Kurt Vonnegut

"I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meaness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion." -- Henry David Thoreau

"The minority who actually loves its work seems to be made up chiefly of the writers, dancers, actors and other artists, most scientists above the technician-troll level, computer freaks, and the righteous dope-dealers of California." -- Robert Anton Wilson

"'That's the secret of how to enjoy writing and how to make yourself meet high standards,' said Mrs. Berman. 'You don't write for the whole world, and you don't write for ten people, or two. You write for just one person.'" -- Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut

"I also understod what uniforms were for-- to try to hide how completely funny-looking most humans are." -- Daniel Pinkwater, The Education of Robert Nifkin

"It had been startling and disappointing to me to find out that story books had been written by people, that books were not natural wonders, coming up of themselves like grass." -- Eudora Welty quoted in The Reader's Quotation Book

"[Books] perfume and give weight to a room, which without books suffers from amnesia. A bookcase is as good as a view, as much of a panorama as the sight of a city or a river. There are dawns and sunsets in books--storms, fogs, zephyrs." -- Anatole Broyard quoted in The Reader's Quotation Book

"Through engagement with others, literature lets us imagine what it would be like to be differe." -- Dnis Donoghue quoted in The Reader's Quotation Book

"The process of reading is reciprocal: the book is no more than a formula, to be furnished out with images out of the reader's mind." -- Elizabeth Bowen quoted in The Reader's Quotation Book

"In China it's taken as a compliment if the tablecloth immediately surrounding your place is, by the end of a meal, a site of major spillage: ill-aimed rice, gouts of soy sauce, twigs from your bird's-nest-soup, or whatever. At least, this is what I was once told by a courteous Chinese guide, who might just have been making the round-eyes feel at peace with themselves about their cack-handed chopstick technique. The same principle applies - without any shadow of ambiguity - to cookbooks. The more decorated their pages are with stove-splash, peel-drip, edible Rorschach stains, oil starbursts, beetroot thumbprints and general incoherent dribblings, the more you have honoured them" -- Julian Barnes.

"'Dance,' said the Sheep Man. 'Yougottadance. Aslongasthemusicplays. Yougotta dance. Don'teventhinkwhy. Starttothink, yourfeetstop. Yourfeetstop, wegetstuck. Wegetstuck, you'restuck. Sodon'tpayanymind, nomatterhowdumb. Yougottakeepthestep. Yougottalimberup. Yougottaloosenwhatyoubolteddown. Yougottauseallyougot. Weknowyou'retired, tiredandscared. Happenstoeveryone, okay? Justdon'tletyourfeettop.' ... 'Dancingiseverything,' continued the Sheep Man. 'Danceintip-topform. Dancesoitallkeepsspinning....'" -- Dance Dance Dance by Haruki Murakami

"She knows, now, absolutely, hearing the white noise that is London, that Damien's theory of jet lag is correct: that her mortal soul is leagues behind her, being reeled in on some ghostly umbilical down the vanished wake of the plane that brought her here, hundreds of thousands of feet above the Atlantic. Souls can't move that quickly, and are left behind, and must be awaited, upon arrival, like lost luggage." -- William Gibson, Pattern Recognition

"Thinkers aren't limited by what they know, because they can always increase what they know. Rather they're limited by what puzzles them, because there's no way to become curious about something that doesn't puzzle you." -- Daniel Quinn, My Ishmael

"Mayonnaise, like hollandaise, was invented by the French to cover up the flavor of spoiled flesh, stale vegetables, rotten fish. Beware the sauce! Where food comes beslobbered with an elegant slime you may well suspect the integrity of the basic ingredients." -- Ed Abbey, The Fool's Progress

"Conservatives are fond of pointing out there are problems in this world can't be solved by throwing money at them. There are even more that can't be solved by dropping bombs on them. " -- Molly Ivins

"You could have sex relatively comfortably on a platform of books, but not on a platform of PDA.s. Hardcover books. Paperbacks might start sliding around. Though I.d still prefer paperbacks to a pile of PDA.s." -- William Gibson in his blog

"To possess few books, and those not too rich and rare for daily use, has this advantage, that the possessor can make himself master of them all, can recollect their peculiarities, and often remind himself of their contents. the man that has two or three thousand books can be familiar with them all; he that has thirty thousand can hardly have a speaking acquaintance with more than a few. The more conscientious he is, the more he becomes like Lucian's amateur, who was so much occupied in rubbing the bindings of his books with sandal-wood and saffron, that he had no time left to study the content. After all, with every due respect paid to 'states' and editions and bindings and tall copies, the inside of the volume is really the essential part of it." -- Edmund Gosse, Gossip in a Library

"Aside from writing, reading history was her greatest satisfaction. The relentless stupidity of humankind through the ages gave one the comfort of consistency." -- Rita Mae Brown, Southern Discomfort

"High school, as we all know, is some sort of sick, sadistic punishment of kids by adults seeking vengeance because they can no longer lead the responsibility-free, screwing-around-24/7 lives young people enjoy. What other explanation could there be for those four brutal years of degrading comments, physical abuse, and the belief that you're the only one not having sex?" -- Stupid White Men by Michael Moore

"Herein lies the attractiveness of ethnic agitation: its ease and accessibility. The Other is visible, everyone can recognize and remember his image. One doesn't have to raed books, think, discuss: it is enough just to look." -- The Shadow of the Sun by Ryszard Kapuscinski

"History is so often the prouct of thoughtlessness: it is the offspring of human stupidity, the fruit of benightedness, idiocy, and folly. In such instances, it is enacted by people who do not know what they are doing--more, who do not want to know, who reject the possibility with disgust and anger." -- The Shadow f the Sun by Ryszard Kapuscinski

"...here's something I believe in really strongly: guilt's a whore. It goes with anybody, but it's not good in bed." -- "Uh-Oh City" from The Panic Hand by Jonathan Carroll

"Kent dreamed of high school the way one touches the scar of an old, deep cut: tenderly, with remembered fear and possessiveness. Childhood memories are our scars, and we often protect and caress them as much as we hate them." -- "Postgraduate" from The Panic Hand by Jonathan Carroll

"Someone said the world is divided into two kinds of people: the first kind we say 'Oh Boy!' when they enter a room. The second we say, 'Oh Shit!'" -- "The Life of My Crime" from The Panic Hand by Jonathan Carroll

"Listening to him, I realized how lucky I was not to have had a wonderful childhood. those who do, or those who peak in their early years, have only that remembered joy or strength to tide them over the rest of their lives. Nothing could ever be as good as that time; for them nothing ever is." -- "The Life of My Crime" from The Panic Hand by Jonathan Carroll "What truly makes Henry Adams the prototype of the modern thinker is that he was the first thoroughly educated, widely read, highly intelligent American who didn't know what to think. He moved from theory to theory." -- P.J. O'Rourke in The Atlantic Monthly

"While clothes with pictures and/or writing on them are not entirely an invention of the modern age, they are an unpleasant indication of the general state of things . . . I mean, be realistic. If people don't want to listen to you what makes you think they want to hear from your sweater?" - Fran Leibowitz

"Lying is too much trouble. You have to make sure to taste each word before letting it off your tongue. I hate that. It's hard enough making people understand without lying." -- Jonathan Carroll, Kissing the Beehive

"She discovered that the fastest way to know a man was through a few hours in bed with him. That way you knew his secret face and frequently he let his guard down." -- Jonathan Carroll, Kissing the Beehive

"The Library didn't only contain magical books, the ones which are chained to their shelves and are very dangerous. It also contained perfectly ordinary books, printed on commonplace paper in mundane ink. It would be a mistake to think that they weren't also dangerous, just because reading them didn't make fireworks go off in the sky. Reading them sometimes did the more dangeous trick of making fireworks go off in the privacy of the reader's brain." -- Terry Pratchett, Soul Music


 [kristin buxton]  [quotes