I picked up a novel off the shelf in the

fiction section of the library and peered at the cover.

A blurb promised “a riveting read with Tolstoyan sweep and

Dostoyevskian vitality,” which made me immediately put the book back.

I approached the circulation desk to check out another book.

The librarian had a thousand-watt smile, but there was something

cheerless about her all the same, one of those weird

disconnects that always send me rummaging through my own memories

of a disconnected childhood.  My rule is never to get

chatty with librarians.  I’ve learned to spike any budding conversations.


Paraphrases from the novel Blow the House Down by Robert Baer.