Skip to main content

Musical Words


The other day my favourite bookshop (Readings) opened a new branch in a mega mall in Doncaster.  I'm not usually one for mega malls, but I felt the need to go and support Readings and basically give myself an excuse to browse and buy books (accompanied by another Librarian friend, of course).

One of the books I bought was Music and Freedom by Zoe Morrison.  It so happens that this title just won the Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction for 2016.  Totally justified win, it has to be said.

I am a Librarian.  I am a mediocre musician.  I love all things creative that centre around words and sounds, so this book spoke to me in spades.  But spades of what?  Spades of discomfort and rage.  Spades of melancholy and infuriation (is that even a word).  Spades of happiness and hope.  Spades of curiosity.  A wide spectrum of spades.

I would suggest that you start reading this book with the author's biography.  Zoe Morrison is no slouch.  She is evidently one of those sorts who annoyingly combine talent and intelligence and drive and all sorts of other positive attributes in one convenient package.  But to me, her biography acts as the bedrock on which the story sits.  You can see how her experience and knowledge of the major themes allows the narrative to take on a level of realism and desperation, making it wholly more engaging (and enraging, and mesmerising, and compelling).

The one thing I loved the most about reading this book, though?  Spotify.  As a classical music dunce, what the hell is the rising baseline of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto 2 in C Minor?  Thank you, Spotify.  Now I can listen to the music as it is being described on the page, which adds a unique and beautiful facet to the narrative and lifts the story beyond mere words on a page.

I won't really go into the details of the plot, I find book reviews which just discuss plot thoroughly boring.  What I will tell you is how the story made me feel.  It made me feel all of those emotional adjectives described above.  It made me feel like I need to go out immediately and create music and write words.  It made me think of the smell, sounds and dry air that permeate Australian country towns.  It made me think of my neighbour's grand piano.  It made me think of psychological manipulation, grey walls, grey sky.  It made me think of all sorts of things - it's still making me think.

Should you read it?  Yes.  


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…