Skip to main content

December 2015


When I was at high school, I drew a picture of the shopping centre that was across the road from the school. It was one of those 80's-designed affairs with an empty open-air square in the middle; furnished with uncomfortable metal seats painted in faded primary colours, uneven cheap pavers and geometric planters full of thin, sandy soil, cigarette butts and the stringy brown remains of palm trees.  And of course there were empty shops. That's a given.  When I drew the shopping centre, I made the shop-front display windows completely black.  The colours I used were all dark, there was no people or movement.  I didn't think of it at the time, but my Art Teacher said it was a creepy drawing, there was no life to it, and there should be because it's a picture of a bloody shopping centre.  I don't know why I drew it like that, but that's how that place felt to me; it made me uneasy.  Shaun Tan's pictures and narratives make me uneasy in the same way.  I am not sure why, because his pictures are beautiful, and his words are a strange mix of poignant and funny. But reading this book made me sad and uneasy.  But I still really liked it.  Maybe I like feeling sad and uneasy.

A couple of his short narratives brought tears to my eyes.  His pictures are detailed and dark; frenzied in places and calm in others.  The Stick Figures short story, and accompanying pictures, is creepy creepy.  If you haven't seen any of Shaun Tan's art or read any of his work, you at least have to give it a go.  Give this book a go, it has a lot to say, and in a way that only Shaun Tan can say it.


Popular posts from this blog

Using librarian skills to uncover a network of dodgy shopping sites!

In all my posts over the years I'm not sure if I ever mentioned I am an avid steampunker.  Like many of my quirky fellow librarians, I love a good dress up and recently found myself searching for a great pair of boots to go with the Steampunk Aviator Superhero costume I'm assembling (trust me, it will work!).

One evening whilst idly thumbing through Pinterest I found a picture of these undeniably AWESOME combat-boot style boots.  I followed the link to the website ( and although it didn't look dodgy and offered PayPal, I am a cautious online shopper and always check the customer reviews first.  They were 1000% abysmal.  Like the kind of reviews that say SCAM, THEFT and CAN I LEAVE 0 STARS.  So despite loving the shoes, I was definitely not parting with my money on this occasion.

Fast forward a couple of months and I see an ad for Victorian-style cosplay boots in my Insta feed.  Did I mention that I am an avid steampunker?  Because seriously, these shoes…

It only takes a second (ment)

What the hell is a secondment?
Some people I have chatted to have no idea what I'm talking about (and I also discovered that some spell-check utilities don't even recognise the word) so I thought I would clear the confusion by ripping a definition straight from Merriam-Webster:
Definition of secondmentplural-s

: the detachment of a person (such as a military officer) from his or her regular organization for temporary assignment elsewhere.

So if you just substitute "library services officer" for "military officer" you have an explanation of my situation!

Being a qualified Librarian can take you in so many different directions. One of the reasons I chose the tag "Ambidextrous Librarian" was because I honestly had no idea which direction my career would go. I have worked in school libraries and the kids and teachers are absolutely fantastic, but the pay, conditions and options for career development aren't all that varied. I tri…

A Somewhat Risky Business

Working in a public library means I am surrounded all day by books (duh).  Books are such pretty things - there is a reason why publishers spend big bucks on cover design, and that's because we pretty much ignore the old "don't judge a book by its cover" and happily judegy-judge away.  We can't help it, bright and shiny things attract us!

So as I was standing at the circ desk the other day having a bit of a rest between patrons, I found my eyes drawn yet again to a book that was on display.  I had been gazing at it on and off all day, and I couldn't really make out the title but it was the dress that caught me, and the shiny peach converse trainers, and the pose, and the luxurious hair.  I decided that the universe was telling me I had to borrow it, even if I had absolutely no idea what it was about.  I took it home without even reading the blurb.

The book was titled "This is just my face; try not to stare" by Gabourey Sidibe, the actress who starr…