There’s a quote from John A. Shedd that reminds me I need to embrace discomfort so I can reach my full potential: “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” Reading outside my comfort zone is my first step toward this goal.
As a children's librarian with a deep appreciation for children's literature, I pick up juvenile fiction more than anything else. But last October, I read a book meant for adults. I am so glad I did because this book opened my eyes to the world of classical music (a world I knew very little about) and kept me glued to the story the entire way through.
What book caught my eye? It’s “The Violin Conspiracy’’ by Brendan Slocumb, a music educator and orchestra musician raised here in Fayetteville. His debut novel was Good Morning America's Book Club selection for February 2022 and made Penguin Random House's list of “Must-Read Books of 2022.”
Set in rural North Carolina, “The Violin Conspiracy’’ follows Ray McMillian, a Black classical musician who dreams of becoming a professional violinist. Ray is committed to making his dream come true despite significant obstacles. Those obstacles include a lack of support, the theft of his beloved violin and systemic racism within the realm of classical music. Yet Ray’s enduring love for music gives him strength through it all.
What I like most about the book is Slocumb's excellent character development. I found myself emotionally connected to each of the characters, and I appreciated their interactions. One of the best things about reading fiction is connecting with characters on a level that makes the reader wholeheartedly invested in their story, and Slocumb's novel certainly delivers.
You’re invited to see Slocumb in person and hear him discuss his book and love of music at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Headquarters Library, 300 Maiden Lane in downtown Fayetteville. We are grateful he wanted to include Fayetteville on his book tour, and we are excited to welcome him home. Don’t miss out! Seize the opportunity to spend a Sunday afternoon with an incredibly talented author. Slocumb will sign copies of his book, which will be available for purchase.
This program is hosted by the Friends of the Cumberland County Public Library, Inc. For more information, visit cumberlandcountync.gov/library or call 910-483-7727.
Carla Brooks is the division manager for programming for the Cumberland County Public Library.