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Tag: 2013-2014

Go Big Read book discussions

Have you already finished A Tale for the Time Being? Are you disappointed that there’s more than a month to go until our author event on October 28? Have no fear!

Madison Public Library is partnering with Go Big Read to host book discussions throughout the community. All discussions are free and open to the public, with no pre-registration required; all you have to do is show up (and probably read the book first)! No matter where you live in Madison, odds are a library near you has a discussion coming up sometime soon.

This month alone, you could head south along Park Street to check out the discussion at Goodman Branch this Saturday. Or take the opportunity to hang out in the gorgeous new Central Library (side note, who’s going to Stacked! tonight?) on September 25 by participating in their evening discussion. And Meadowridge Branch is holding a discussion next Saturday.

October and November are chock full of MPL/GBR book discussions, too, as well as other events (Kanji-writing workshop, anyone?). If you want to check out your library’s discussion group or find one that fits in your schedule, visit our Events page.

Emotional Intelligence: Why discuss sensitive topics in an academic setting?

University Health Services

learning has an emotional base.” – Plato

our campus community comes together to read Ruth Ozeki’s novel A Tale for
the Time Being
, readers may be taken aback by the themes of suicide,
trauma, and mental illness. Sensitive topics, such as suicide, can evoke a wide
range of emotions. These themes also bring up the questions, “What is the value
of discussing such sensitive topics in an academic setting?” and “How can they
happen in emotionally safe and meaningful ways?”

intelligence refers to one’s ability to perceive, control, and evaluate
emotions. Building this intelligence is a crucial step in individual development.
Our feelings and emotions ultimately guide our thinking and actions, whether we
are aware of it or not. And, to get back to the question at hand, a key step in
developing emotional intelligence involves using emotions to promote thinking
and cognitive activity.

UW-Madison, we pride ourselves on providing a liberal arts education to our
students. The Wisconsin Idea promotes educational experiences both in and out
of the classroom. We hope that students leave our university with an
understanding of how their coursework is relevant to their lives and
communities. Emotional intelligence is an often undervalued aspect of a college
education that prepares people to navigate relationships and contribute to the
world around them.

an open dialogue in an academic setting communicates to students that these
issues are important to both emotional and intellectual development. Talking
about mental illness helps reduce stigma and makes it clear that UW-Madison
respects the very real and diverse experiences students bring to the classroom.

conversations about trauma or suicide are happening in academic settings,
students need to know that instructors value their feelings and wellbeing. Instructors
can do this by providing a trigger warning before reading sensitive material.
Without a warning, students may feel bombarded with difficult memories or
emotions, especially if they have personally had traumatic experiences. Their
sole focus will be dealing with their own reaction to the material, which may
interfere with their ability to engage academically. Instructors can also help
create a safe space in the classroom by establishing
ground rules for discussion and stressing the importance of using respectful language
and listening practices.
when discussing sensitive topics, instructors should know what resources exist
for any student who might feel triggered by the material. University Health
Services is available 24-hours a day if students need support processing their
emotions or have other mental health concerns. University faculty and staff can
also contact UHS at (608)265-5600, option 9 for after-hours mental health
crisis services.

a full list of mental health and suicide prevention resources, visit

Prevention Coordinator
Health Services

Guest Book Review: Thoughts from Louise Robbins

Guest Review:

I have just finished reading the BIG READ book: Ozeki’s A
Tale for the Time Being
Me: “I’m finished. I’m sad.”  
Patrick Robbins: “Did it have a sad
Me: “No. I’m sad there is no more to read.”

It’s a wonderful book with too many discussable themes to count.
Off the top of my head: the environment; technology and its uses; zen Buddhism;
war; bullying; the aesthetics and ethics of suicide; being and time; history
and memory; mutual construction of the writer and the reader. And none of these
weighty themes are pounded or expounded to oblivion. The characters—and the
settings—grabbed me and kept me spellbound. I found myself torn between jotting
notes in the margin and rushing headlong to the next page. The next page won.
I’m going to read it again.
A Tale for the Time Being joins two other books of the
last ten years on my list of favorites: The Poisonwood Bible and The
Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
I’m hoping to participate in some of the discussions. And you may find me sitting zazen.
Professor Emerita,
School of Library and Information Studies
*If you’d like to submit a review, please contact us! 

5,500+ Books in Under a Minute

More than 5,500 copies of  A Tale for the Time Being flew out the doors of the Kohl Center after Convocation.  Checkout this cool 60 seconds time lapse video of all those books leaving.

Also, keep an eye out for a special glimpse of Bucky.  Many lucky students received their book directly from him!

Note: Change the video quality to 1080p HD if this is fuzzy for you. 

*A special thank you to Dave Luke for producing this video.   

Ruth Ozeki on “Book Talk”

Haven’t yet gotten a chance to start this year’s Go Big Read book, A Tale for the Time Being? Or read it already, and want to learn more about the thought process behind the book? Author Ruth Ozeki recently sat down with Ryan Van Winkle, host of the “Book Talk” podcast, to talk about the book and how it got written. It’s a great interview; Ozeki is candid about writing, about inspiration, about the reader-writer relationship, and about all of the strange things that go into the creation of a story.

Author Ruth Ozeki

Whether you’ve already blazed through A Tale for the Time Being or need to have your appetite whetted, spend the afternoon with Ruth Ozeki!

The interview runs approximately 40 minutes, and you can listen to it for free here.

If you haven’t yet gotten your hands on a copy of A Tale for the Time Being, check out our website for information on how to access the book.

Suicide Prevention: Go Big Read to Partner with UHS and ASK.LISTEN.SAVE.

In “Tale for the Time Being,” Go Big Read author Ruth Ozeki explores themes of trauma including sexual assault, bullying, and suicide. We are working hard to develop resources for anyone who needs support.

Program staff have met with campus experts affiliated with University Health Services to plan resources for students, faculty, staff, and community members who want advice and support, and those materials are being finalized.  The student organization ASK.LISTEN.SAVE. is also planning to get involved. Until we get those finalized, here are a few key resources.

ASK.LISTEN.SAVE. is a suicide prevention organization at UW-Madison

The National Suicide Prevention hotline number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

University Health Services (UHS) has a 24-hour crisis line (608-265-5600, option 2 for counseling services or option 9 for 24-hour mental health crisis services for students). 

Feel free to contact us with suggestions, questions, or connections with the experts.  We are glad to have expert advice to help us foster thoughtful discussions about difficult issues.

Sarah McDaniel
Program Manager, Go Big Read

Here comes the sun!

The weather is warm, the trees are green, the streets are full of frantic undergraduates trying to move futons out of their apartments and into U-Hauls, and this past weekend, thousands of students (excuse me—graduates!) crossed stages at the Kohl Center and all over campus. It feels like summer is finally here!

Summer at the Terrace, 1976. Courtesy of UW-Madison Digital Collections.

Summer means a lot of different things in Madison: evenings at the Terrace, Babcock ice cream on a hot afternoon, Bratfest, lounging in the grass on Bascom Hill, Wednesday evening concerts at the Capitol, early Saturday mornings browsing the farmers’ market, a road trip to see a favorite band play Summerfest. It also means that now is a great time to catch up on all of the things nobody has time for during the academic year. Maybe you’ll take a sailing class with Hoofers. Maybe you’ll see Star Trek: Into Darkness five times. Maybe you’ll take up yoga. Maybe, like me, you’ll finally make an effort to watch past the first season of Downton Abbey (I know, I know!). 

But you know what you definitely should do? Check out this year’s Go Big Read book, A Tale for the Time Being! Even Oprah agrees: O Magazine named the book one of “Four Books You Can Devour in One Long Weekend” (and what is summer if not basically one very long weekend?). So make the most of your summer and devour our 2013-14 Go Big Read pick. You won’t regret it!

This is just one of the stellar reviews awarded to A Tale for the Time Being. You can find more reviews, as well as news about the program and interviews with the author, on our website. There are copies of the book in the campus library system as well as the Madison Public library system. Enjoy!

Go Big Read 2013-14 Book Selection!

It’s a big day in the Go Big Read office! Our official announcement was made public at 9:00am, and since then we’ve been watching all the buzz on Twitter and Facebook. By now, you’ve probably heard the news: the 2013-14 Go Big Read selection is A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki!

Ozeki is a critically-acclaimed author whose previous books include the bestselling My Year of Meats and All Over Creation. She is also a Zen Buddhist priest, whose unique perspective plays an important role in the unfolding of her latest work.  

Author Ruth Ozeki

A Tale for the Time Being begins when a battered Hello Kitty lunchbox washes up on the shores of a remote island off the coast of British Columbia. The odd package is picked up by Ruth, a writer struggling to find inspiration in her rural surroundings. Opening the lunchbox, she discovers a diary inside, written by a sixteen-year-old Japanese girl named Nao, whose own surroundings—the culture and subculture of Tokyo—could not be more different than Ruth’s desolate island. Ruth, and the reader, is soon swept into Nao’s story…

The Seattle Times calls A Tale for the Time Being “a dazzling and humorous work of literary origami,” while the Washington Post describes it as “a narrative shimmering with the conviction that art and faith lead us to truths beyond the reach of reason alone.”

You can read the official press release here, and can find more information about the book—including news, reviews, and interviews with the author—on our website. If you have any questions, shoot us an email: gobigread @ library. wisc. edu.

Last chance to make a 2013-2014 Go Big Read suggestion!

What is she reading? (That mouse wants to know, too!)

This week is your last chance to nominate books for the 2013-2014 Go Big Read program! Final nominations are due by midnight on Friday, February 1st. So don’t delay! If you’ve read something great lately (or even if you’ve read a whole bunch of “something greats”), we want to know about it. Head over here to make your submission! We’re especially excited about the prospect of reading a work of fiction in 2013.

Just for inspiration, here’s a sneak peek of what you might be reading next year…

Beyond the Beautiful Forevers, Katherine Boo
Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell
Flight Behavior, Barbara Kingsolver
Half the Sky, Nicholas Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn
A Hologram for the King, Dave Eggers
Little Bee, Chris Cleave
The Motorcycle Diaries, Ernesto Che Guevara
Please Look After Mom, Kyung Sook-Shin
The World Until Yesterday, Jared Diamond

…but these are only a handful of the awesome nominations we’ve received. If you’d like to see everything that’s been nominated, check out the running list. Did your favorite book make the list? If not, it’s time to take matters into your own hands and send us your suggestion!