Having known nothing but kindness among librarians, this striking description of a martinet guarding his books almost at the point of a gun is memorable.  Hard to relax and tuck in to your chosen tome, if you’re being glowered at by the gamekeeper.

‘Readers are forced to satisfy their curiosity right there in the director’s office, under his personal supervision, and books that are placed on that satrap’s table take on a taste of pink pheasant’s meat, bitter quails, musky venison, and cunning hare.’

Source: Osip Mandelstam, Journey to Armenia, trans. Sidney Monas (London: Notting Hill Editions, 2011), p. 89

Paper image: creativemarket.com

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