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  • [es-pree de less-ka/-iay] (idiom) A witty remark that occurs to you too late, literally on the way down the stairs. The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations defines esprit de l'escalier as, "An untranslatable phrase, the meaning of which is that one only thinks on one's way downstairs of the smart retort one might have made in the drawing room."


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April 13, 2006


Claire, is my friend and can be your friend, too! I don't know how I would live without and

Ramona The Pest and Henry Huggins were *my favorite* when I was little! Thanks for that link. Everytime I think of those books, I feel all warm and fuzzy.

When I was a kid, I was mainly camped out in front of my stereo with headphones on singing at the top of my lungs. Did that from 4th grade, till I moved out...

Did you know the Babysitters Club books are being adapted into graphic novels? Here's a link to the first one. The artist is a friend of a friend of mine. The idea is to try to get more girls to read graphic novels.

Claire, I wanted to add -- that in hindsight, I probably should've been camped out at the library more often -- that way today, I would know what some bloggers were writing about!

I swear I learn 10 new things a day since I started blogging. Google and Wikpedia are also my friends!

BG-- Sometimes I feel like I should be able to get a certificate in Google or Wikipedia, I'm on there so much! As it is, my friend Elaine likes to say that I'm getting my master's in the internet. (Which isn't too far off, but sounds so silly.)

Kristen-- Thanks for that link! I'll have to check that out!

I used to camp out at the local library after school, too! Actually, what was really "fun" in high school was my friend Hannah -- my permanent project partner-- and I would spend our ENTIRE Saturday at the downtown library, pouring over every imaginable, obscure book we could find on a given topic and then checking all of them out so that everyone else in our class (read: T. Gamble) wouldn't be able to use them! (Did you know in Buffalo the limit on books you can check out any given time is 50 per person? We learned this the hard way!) Wow-- that is like the antithesis of the purpose of a public library-- hoarding knowledge for personal us... oh well, it got us to start our projects early, didn't it?!! The "highlight" of our work day was our lunch break-- when we could take the train to the end of the "free ride" section at eat at the theater district McDonald's which had that Mac the Moon Man, or whatever he was called, "tickling the ivories" on a real player piano!!!!! Splendiforous, indeed!!

I have always had negative associations with libraries that can be pinpointed (or blamed) on my mother and the town I grew up in (although almost everything can be blamed on those two). For one thing, the library in our neighborhood looked and smelled like a dentist's office from the 1970s--faux wood, green carpeting, orange accents, abstract wire sculptures hanging from the office ceilings). One of the librarians there moonlighted as a Girl Scout troop leader whose nearly comatose state did not reveal an enthusiasm for life let alone books.

As a child, I felt as that learning the Dewey Decimal system was unnecessary because it was the librarian's job to find books for me. I used to walk up to her desk, tell her I was doing a report on Sikhism (yes, other 7th graders did their term papers on the occult or how to train puppies, I choose to do it on the Sikhs), and wait as she collected the appropriate books. Most of the books at the library were either extremely outdated (encyclopedias were consistently 3 years old), trashy murder mystery or romance novels, or donations by local weirdos (20 books on that prude Ann Bradstreet?). School was no better, as other students would steal the good books from the collection and claim they were "bought at the library sale."

In high school, I wanted my Mom to buy me SAT books so I could study for the big test, but she felt that they were too expensive and unnecessary. So, once again I went down to my local library. Their prep books were so old, however, they did not account for the new scoring system or the Quant/Comp math section! Without these, I was at a competitive loss! Needless to say, I learned my lesson and studied for the SAT IIs and APs at the cafe inside the Barnes and Noble (never purchasing the books, mind you).

In college, my library closed at the absurdly early hour of 1am, and I had many a fight when they tried to close up illegally early at 12:45. I need not have to explain how vicious things got near finals when an important book was put on reserve in the library (one book for 30 people). When I attempted to use the downtown Boston Public Library (check out their outrageously shitty hours here:, I came to the sad realization that the "obscure books" (read: the vast majority) were in the archives which required 30 minutes for retrieval and were not allowed to be removed from the building!! Thus, the BPL has $100 worth of my money in quarters pumped into the copy machine.

If I had more time, I would regale you all with the various libraries where I owe late fees and the different types of payment plans I have with each one (one plan consists of my middle finger in their face). I feel somewhat guilty about being anti-library, but I seek out other communal places that connect me with my fellow man (see Instead, I like to support my local independent bookstore ( and obnoxiously display my reading list on my bookcase. So, I will let John Ashcroft or Alberto Gonzales spy on other poor suckers who, while simply trying to do a solid report on the Sikhs, get mistaken for terrorists whose Muslim religion clearly teaches them a thing or two about army tactics.

I actually have no knowledge of the DDC, but am just used to how the books are organized (though I could not explain the differences in organization, just know that there is something weird going on with the LCC system). I think I'm just lucky to have lived down the street from a superior library. (It's actually the reason why we moved into that house. It was a block from the elementary school and an excellent public library.)

I'm sorry to hear the BPL sucks. I'm no fan of the CPL either, though it doesn't sound *that* bad!

Hi, Bird! The limit at my library was 10 books at a time! SO frustrating. That was about two days' worth of reading material during summer vacations when I was little.

Also, the library in Mitchell is closed on Sundays. I always joked that there must have been a blue law against reading. ;)

I have very fond memories of summers spent at the public library where I grew up. I seemed to read the same books over and over again -- the Little House books, Nancy Drew, the Andrew Lang fairy books. It amazes me now to think that I used to just walk by myself -- now it worries me just to let my children play in our own front yard.

Librarians, I think, tend to get used to WHERE in the stacks the various sections are, just like anybody -- "just to the left of the stairs, bottom shelf" -- I still have to stop and think, "Now, animals are in the 600s, horses 636-point-what-is-it, point-1," and such!

Thanks for popping by my blog, love the print you bought above.

I used to be a public librarian, I'm a librarian for a charity now. Although I don't know DDC off by heart when I moved up to Edinburgh I struggled using my local library because they had come up with their own scheme - everything feels like it's in the wrong place!

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