GHOSTS OF READY REFERENCE #4: $2, 4 ½” x 5 ½”, copied, 54 pgs.

Apr 08, 2011

This is the best zine I’ve read in over a year, easily. I like this so much that I plan on ordering ten copies to give out to my friends! When’s the last time I could say that about a zine? It’s been a long time. This zine is written by a guy named John who works as a reference librarian, and the entire thing (other than a brief and thoughtful intro and conclusion) is just conversations he’s had with various customers asking reference questions so bizarre that it makes me wish I was a reference librarian. Like a question about who decides the length of time between a yellow and red light and a vague question about getting sexual favors from young girls in Yugoslavia and (by the same customer) a similarly confusing question about Ralph Waldo Emerson. I’m not even going to give away the rest of this exchange. That’s how amazing it is. Other questions include, “Can you tell me what is so special about Israel?” and (I’m condensing the question here) “Is Ramses buried in an abandoned stadium named the Memphis Pyramid?” John also writes about the characters who call the library day after day (or hour after hour), and he’s not a dick about it. About half of the zine is devoted to phone conversations between him and a man who appears to have some combination of physical and mental illness, and John manages to pull off a description of their conversations that’s both hilarious and sympathetic. I know most people don’t bother to buy zines anymore, but you really should send two bucks to the address below and get yourself a copy of this. This is what a zine should be. –Maddy Tight Pants (R. John Xerxes, 10 Inca Lane #2, SF, CA94115)

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