"So my grandmother's father, who was a doctor in Pulaski, had his office in what was known as the Ku Klux Klan Building because it was where they had originally met, and it was a building that for a long time certain of their members would own. Until the early 1990s, the building bore a plaque commemorating its history as the 'Klan building,' without any particular concer, sadness or criticism. Likewise, my great-grandfather apparently never thought much of it; which is to say that the Klan, though he would never have joined, probably also didn't cause him to lose much sleep at night."
(From White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son by Tim Wise. It wasn't actually the closest book to me, but it was the closest book to me that wasn't a dictionary, Spanish dictionary, or thesaurus, and none of those would have provided quotes likely to be at all interesting.)
2) Quote from nearest CD insert:
"Down where your paint is cracking, look down your backstairs, buddy - somebody's living there and he don't really feel the weather. And he don't share your pleasures, no, he don't share your pleasures - did you see his eyes? Did you see his crazy eyes? You're so surprised he doesn't run to catch your ash. Everybody always wants to kiss your trash."
(From Lust for Life by Iggy Pop, not the mutilated David Bowie version.)
3) Quote from nearest piece of paper written on by you:
"Some people like purple. More people like blue. Write a single sentence that conveys this information and uses the word than. Make the sentence as short as you can while keeping it grammatically correct."
(Follow the instructions and I'll tell you whether you used correct grammar or not. If you really want to know.)
4) Quote from nearest piece of paper that was written to you:
"Hello! My name is Baxter the cat! Meow!! I am a talking cat. Mikie sent me your way to keep you company."
(From a postcard postmarked January 2004, still sitting on my desk almost two years later, because I am like that.)
5) Quote from something on your desk:
"Citrus Heights, CA 09-04-05
O'Brien Going After Cacciato 14.95
Murakami Sputnik Sweetheart 12.00
MacDonald Fall on Your Knees 15.00
Erdrich Last Report on the Miracles 12.95
SUB TOTAL 54.90
SALES TAX 4.25
(That was exciting, wasn't it? And you'd think a bookstore should know that subtotal is one word.)