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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Quiet, Please by Scott Douglas

Back to the library with this one. I was excited to find Quiet, Please: Dispatches from a Public Librarian by Scott Douglas at my local library. This seems to be right up my alley (as it seems to be up many of yours.) I find myself mostly annoyed by it, and 127 pages in I've throwing in the towel.

The biggest problem is that Douglas doesn't seem to enjoy his job. I'm fine with a little ambivalence towards your career, but he seems to actively dislike it. He finds it boring. He doesn't talk about the books. He doesn't really talk about the library patrons. What he does is make fun of the other librarians. There isn't a single co-worker who isn't bitter, jealous, stupid or crazy. He really seems to dislike librarians as a group, and doesn't consider himself to be one of them. It's full of random footnotes and the font is such that I can't even find the little superscript number half the time. I like footnotes. I love Mary Roach's use of them in Bonk and Stiff! These are similar, but he doesn't pull it off as well. The narrative jumps around in time, and there are these weird passages that have nothing to do with anything thrown into the middle of chapters. Douglas says in the beginning that he added these because people's attention spans are more geared towards little sound bites. It seems to me that he threw them in because he thought they were interesting but couldn't find an appropriate spot for them anywhere.

If my time was unlimited I'd probably read it all, but it's not, so I won't.


  1. Yup--too many other good books out there. I am more compelled to finish if I own the book, but other than that, no thank you!

    Hope your next one is better.

  2. The building I work in is actually the library for the university I work for and I have to tell you, librarians (as a whole) are quite odd. Now, I know there are exceptions and quite a few book blogger librarian types that are not, but the ones I am talking about are in a class all their own. What he describes, as much as it sounds like a gripe is probably reality! LOL.

  3. Life is too short to waste it on so-so books. I had to give up a book I really wanted to like earlier this month. It just wasn't happening for me. If you have to push yourself to read it, it isn't worth it.

  4. A librarian who doesn't talk about books? I wouldn't read it either.

  5. I've always wanted to work at our library. I think I will pass on this book, thanks for the review! Shawna

  6. Ha! I really thought I'd get some "I can't stand not to finish a book!" comments.

    Shawna, definitely skip it. not your thing AT ALL.


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