An unexpectedly raucous and illuminating memoir set in a Southern California public library. For most of us, librarians are the quiet people behind the desk, who, apart from the occasional “shush,” vanish into the background. But in Quiet, Please, McSweeney’s contributor Scott Douglas puts the quirky caretakers of our literature front and center. With a keen eye for the absurd and a Kesey-esque cast of characters (witness the librarian who is sure Thomas Pynchon is Julia Roberts’s latest flame), Douglas takes us where few readers have gone before. Punctuated by his own highly subjective research into library history–from Andrew Carnegie’s Gilded Age to today’s Afghanistan–Douglas gives us a surprising (and sometimes hilarious) look at the lives which make up the social institution that is his library.