How many books are there?” said Masklin.”Hundreds! Thousands!””Do you know what they’re all about?”Gurder looked at him blankly. “Do you know what you’re saying?” he said.”No. But I want to find out.””They’re about everything! You’d never believe it! They’re full of words even I don’t understand!””Can you find a book which tells you how to understand words you don’t understand?” said Masklin.Gurder hesitated. “It’s an intriguing thought,” he said.
Did the men steal the papers?" Reynie asked, fearing her response.No, because they are fools," Sophie said bitterly. "They demanded to see the papers, and when I did not answer fast enough -- they were very frightening, you see -- they hurt me so that I was not awake. . . . When I opened my eyes they were still trying to find the papers. They did not understand how we organize the library, you see. They were angry and creating a bad mess. . . . The police were coming and the men decided they must leave. I shouted at them as they left: 'It is a free and public library! All you had to do was ask!
You've read half the books in this house? This whole house?" "Well, approximately half." Sticky said. "To be more accurate, I suppose I've read more like" - his eyes went up as he calculated - "three sevenths? Yes, three sevenths." "Only three sevenths?" said Kate, pretending to look disappointed. "And here I was prepared to be impressed.
...on a number of occasions this book has made reference to magic, and each time you've shaken your head, muttering such criticisms as "What does he mean by 'magic' anyhow? It's embarrassing to find a grown man talking about magic in such a manner. How can anybody take him seriously?" Or, as slightly more gracious readers have objected, "Doesn't the author realize that one can't write about magic? One can create it but not discuss it. It's much too gossamer for that. Magic can be neither described nor defined. Using words to describe magic is like using a screwdriver to slice roast beef."To which the author now replies, Sorry, freeloaders, you're clever but you're not quite correct. Magic isn't the fuzzy, fragile, abstract and ephemeral quality you think it is. In fact, magic is distinguished from mysticism by its very concreteness and practicality. Whereas mysticism is manifest only in spiritual essence, in the transcendental state, magic demands a steady naturalistic base. Mysticism reveals the ethereal in the tangible. Magic makes something permanent out of the transitory, coaxes drama from the colloquial.
How can one person be more real than any other? Well, some people do hide and others seek. Maybe those who are in hiding - escaping encounters, avoiding surprises, protecting their property, ignoring their fantasies, restricting their feelings, sitting out the pan pipe hootchy-kootch of experience - maybe those people, people who won't talk to rednecks, or if they're rednecks won't talk to intellectuals, people who're afraid to get their shoes muddy or their noses wet, afraid to eat what they crave, afraid to drink Mexican water, afraid to bet a long shot to win, afraid to hitchhike, jaywalk, honky-tonk, cogitate, osculate, levitate, rock it, bop it, sock it, or bark at the moon, maybe such people are simply inauthentic, and maybe the jacklet humanist who says differently is due to have his tongue fried on the hot slabs of Liar's Hell. Some folks hide, and some folk's seek, and seeking, when it's mindless, neurotic, desperate, or pusillanimous can be a form of hiding. But there are folks who want to know and aren't afraid to look and won't turn tail should they find it - and if they never do, they'll have a good time anyway because nothing, neither the terrible truth nor the absence of it, is going to cheat them out of one honest breath of Earth's sweet gas.
Well,' said Can o' Beans, a bit hesitantly,' imprecise speech is one of the major causes of mental illness in human beings.'Huh?'Quite so. The inability to correctly perceive reality is often responsible for humans' insane behavior. And every time they substitute an all-purpose, sloppy slang word for the words that would accurately describe an emotion or a situation, it lowers their reality orientations, pushes them farther from shore, out onto the foggy waters of alienation and confusion.'The manner in which the other were regarding him/her made Can O' Beans feel compelled to continue. 'The word neat, for example, has precise connotations. Neat means tidy, orderly, well-groomed. It's a valuable tool for describing the appearance of a room, a hairdo, or a manuscript. When it's generically and inappropriately applied, though, as it is in the slang aspect, it only obscures the true nature of the thing or feeling that it's supposed to be representing. It's turned into a sponge word. You can wring meanings out of it by the bucketful--and never know which one is right. When a person says a movie is 'neat,' does he mean that it's funny or tragic or thrilling or romantic, does he mean that the cinematography is beautiful, the acting heartfelt, the script intelligent, the direction deft, or the leading lady has cleavage to die for? Slang possesses an economy, an immediacy that's attractive, all right, but it devalues experience by standardizing and fuzzing it. It hangs between humanity and the real world like a . . . a veil. Slang just makes people more stupid, that's all, and stupidity eventually makes them crazy. I'd hate to ever see that kind of craziness rub off onto objects.
" I would like a question answered today," said Tiffany. "Provided it's not the one about how you get baby hedgehogs," said the man. "No, "said Tiffany patiently. "It's about zoology." "Zoology eh? That's a big word, isn't it." "No, actually it isn't," said Tiffany. "Patronizing is a big word. Zoology is really quite short."
William groaned. It was Vimes. Worse, he was smiling, in a humourless predatory way."Ah, Mr de Worde," he said, stepping inside. "There are several thousand dogs stampeding through the city at the moment. This is an interesting fact, isn't it?"He leaned against the wall and produced a cigar. "Well, I say dogs," he said, striking a match on Goodmountain's helmet. "Mostly dogs, perhaps I should say. Some cats. More cats now, in fact, 'cos, hah, there's nothing like a, yes, a tidal wave of dogs, fighting and biting and howling, to sort of, how can I put it, give a city a certain . . . busyness. Especially underfoot,because - did I mention it? -they're very nervous dogs too. Oh, and did I mention cattle?" he went on, conversationally. "You know how it is, market day and so on, people are driving the cows and, my goodness, around the corner comes a wall of wailing dogs . . . Oh, and I forgot about the sheep. And the chickens, although I imagine there's not much left of the chickens now.
You see," said Colon, "thieves are organized here. I mean, it's official. They're allowed a certain amount of thieving. Not that they do much these days, mind you. If you pay them a little premium every year they give you a card and leave you alone. Saves time and effort all around.""And all thieves are members?" said Angua."Oh, yes," said Carrot. "Can't go thieving in Ankh-Morpork without a Guild permit. Not unless you've got a special talent.""Why? What happens? What talent?" she said."Well, being able to survive being hung upside down from one of the gates with your ears nailed to your knees," said Carrot.
That was a dhlang!" he said. "An evil spirit! The peasants down in the valleys hang up charms against them! But I thought they were just a superstition!""No, they're a substition," said Susan. "I mean they're real, but hardly anyone really believes them. Mostly everyone believes in things that aren't real. Something very strange is going on. Those things are all over the place, and they've got bodies. That's not right. We've got to find the person who built the clock - ""And, er, what are you, Miss Susan?""Me? I'm...a schoolteacher."She followed his gaze to the wrench that she still carried in her hand, and shrugged."It can get pretty rough at break time, can it?" said Lobsang.
He waited a moment, as they walked side by side through the camp, and then asked, 'Sir, if there's something we can't handle how do we handle it anyway?' She either grunted or laughed from the same place that grunts came from. 'Sawtooth wedges and keep going, Beak. Throw back whatever is thrown at us. Keep going, until. . .' 'Until what?' 'It's all right, Beak, to die alongside your comrades. It's all right. Do you understand me?' 'Yes sir, I do. It is all right, because they're my friends.' 'That's right, Beak.
Anyway, it's like with bikes,' said the first speaker authoritatively. 'I thought I was going to get this bike with seven gears and one of them razorblade saddles and purple paint and everything, and they gave me this light blue one. With a basket. A girl's bike.''Well. You're a girl,' said one of the others.'That's sexism, that is. Going around giving people girly presents just because they're a girl.
A book has been taken. A book has been taken? You summoned the Watch," Carrot drew himself up proudly, "because someone's taken a book? You think that's worse than murder?"The Librarian gave him the kind of look other people would reserve for people who said things like "What's so bad about genocide?
Hello, little girl," he said, which was only his first big mistake. "I'm sure you want to know all about hedgehogs, eh?""I did this one last year," said Tiffany.The man looked closer, and his grin faded. "Oh, yes," he said. "I remember. You asked all those... little questions.""I would like a question answered today," said Tiffany."Provided it's not one about how you get baby hedgehogs," said the man."No," said Tiffany patiently. "It's about zoology.""Zoology, eh? That's a big word, isn't it.""No, actually it isn't," said Tiffany. "Patronizing is a big word. Zoology is really quite small.
We're dealing here," said Vimes, "With a twisted mind.""Oh, no! You think so?""Yes.""But... no... you can't be right. Because Nobby was with us all the time.""Not Nobby," said Vimes testily. "Whatever he might do to a dragon, I doubt if he'd make it explode. There's stranger people in this world than Corporal Nobbs, my lad."Carrot's expression slid into a rictus of intrigued horror."Gosh," he said.
He shrugged. - They're just people - he said. - They're just doing what people do. Sir.Lord Vetinari gave him a friendly smile.- Of course, of course - he said. - You have to believe that, I appreciate. Otherwise you'd go quite mad. Otherwise you'd think you're standing on a feather-thin bridge over the vaults of Hell. Otherwise existence would be a dark agony and the only hope would be that there is no life after death. I quite understand.
Small animals are a great problem. I wish God had never created small animals, or else that He had made them so they could talk, or else that He'd given them better faces. Space. Take moths. They fly at the lamp and burn themsleves, and then they fly right back again. It can't be instinct, because it isn't the way it works. They just don't understand, so they go right on doing it. Then they lie on their backs and all their legs quiver, and then they're dead. Did you get all that? Does it sound good?""Very good," Grandmother said.Sophia stood up and shouted, "Say this: say I hate everything that dies slow! Say I hate everything that won't let you help! Did you write that?
I don't see the use of reading the same thing over and over again,' said Phillip. 'That's only a laborious form of idleness.'But are you under the impression that you have so great a mind that you can understand the most profound writer at a first reading?'I don't want to understand him, I'm not a critic. I'm not interested in him for his sake but for mine.'Why do you read then?'Partly for pleasure, because it's a habit and I'm just as uncomfortable if I don't read as if I don't smoke, and partly to know myself. When I read a book I seem to read it with my eyes only, but now and then I come across a passage, perhaps only a phrase, which has a meaning for me, and it becomes part of me; I've got out of the book all that's any use to me and I can't get anythning more if I read it a dozen times. ...
His habit of reading isolated him: it became such a need that after being in company for some time he grew tired and restless; he was vain of the wider knowledge he had acquired from the perusal of so many books, his mind was alert, and he had not the skill to hide his contempt for his companions' stupidity. They complained that he was conceited; and, since he excelled only in matters which to them were unimportant, they asked satirically what he had to be conceited about. He was developing a sense of humour, and found that he had a knack of saying bitter things, which caught people on the raw; he said them because they amused him, hardly realising how much they hurt, and was much offended when he found that his victims regarded him with active dislike. The humiliations he suffered when he first went to school had caused in him a shrinking from his fellows which he could never entirely overcome; he remained shy and silent. But though he did everything to alienate the sympathy of other boys he longed with all his heart for the popularity which to some was so easily accorded. These from his distance he admired extravagantly; and though he was inclined to be more sarcastic with them than with others, though he made little jokes at their expense, he would have given anything to change places with them.
I had no illusions about you,' he said. 'I knew you were silly and frivolous and empty-headed. But I loved you. I knew that your aims and ideals were vulgar and commonplace. But I loved you. I knew that you were second-rate. But I loved you. It's comic when I think how hard I tried to be amused by the things that amused you and how anxious I was to hide from you that I wasn't ignorant and vulgar and scandal-mongering and stupid. I knew how frightened you were of intelligence and I did everything I could to make you think me as big a fool as the rest of the men you knew. I knew that you'd only married me for convenience. I loved you so much, I didn't care. Most people, as far as I can see, when they're in love with someone and the love isn't returned feel that they have a grievance. They grow angry and bitter. I wasn't like that. I never expected you to love me, I didn't see any reason that you should. I never thought myself very lovable. I was thankful to be allowed to love you and I was enraptured when now and then I thought you were pleased with me or when I noticed in your eyes a gleam of good-humored affection. I tried not to bore you with my love; I knew I couldn't afford to do that and I was always on the lookout for the first sign that you were impatient with my affection. What most husbands expect as a right I was prepared to receive as a favor.
All right," said Susan. "I'm not stupid. You're saying humans need... fantasies to make life bearable."REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE."Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little—"YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES."So we can believe the big ones?"YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING."They're not the same at all!"YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET—Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME...SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED."Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what's the point—"MY POINT EXACTLY.