Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being,
both Nao and Ruth (the character) show their changing views on life through
their relationship with books. I
have also learned how to better connect with fellow students and staff through
is a novelist who moves from New York City to Vancouver Island with her husband
and mother. She initially
struggles with the move, as is illustrated by her dependent relationship on
books. Ruth feels a connection to
her home through her books.
However, this tie begins to wither with time. Ozeki writes, “Recently, however, she had started to notice
that the damp sea air had swollen their pages and the silverfish had taken up
residence in their spines. When
she opened the covers, they smelled of mold. This made her sad.”
The degradation of her books mirrors her creeping misgivings about
moving to “Desolation Sound.” Ruth
is again comforted and intrigued when she discovers Nao’s diary. After finishing the journal, her husband
Oliver asks whether she is happy, to which she responds, “Yes, I suppose I
am. At least for now.” Readers are led to believe that
although Ruth is now settled in her new home, she is still motivated to
continue writing and living.
is young girl living in Tokyo.
Ruth learns her story by reading her diary, which is in a “hacked” book
by Proust. The more Ruth reads in
Nao’s diary, the more readers get to know her, discovering that she is really a
complex character with many burdens.
We learn Nao is suicidal and only wants to live long enough to write
down her grandmother Jiko’s story.
By the end of the story, both characters have come a long way. My favorite passage in the book was the
last paragraph when Nao decides to continue writing. She expresses a new keenness to learn, and it seems as
though her ambition has been restored.
Readers can only hope this means a new beginning for Nao.
are used throughout the novel to help characters transition in both places and
states of mind. I have also
learned how books affect my life in my own experiences at UW-Madison. I came from a small town in northern
Wisconsin, and moving to a large school was a big change. The Go Big Read book has helped me feel
welcome in such a different place by connecting me with other students. Also, like Ruth, I brought a couple of
books from home as a comfort in a new place. When I was speaking with one of my professors, I mentioned
how I had brought The Great Gatsby
with me. This is one of his
favorite books and we ended up talking in length about it. I realize I have undergone a
transformation, just as Ruth and Nao did.
Books are no longer just a comfort to me; they are a way to connect with
others. I am now more confident
and social in light of this transformation. I enjoyed learning these characters’ stories and look
forward to applying the lessons they learned to my life.
|Lens on the Collection: Click to expand|
the UW-Madison library system also offers students a dizzying array of movies. Some
are popcorn classics, box-office hits widely known and loved worldwide. Yet library patrons are likewise able to
access thousands of film titles that didn’t set any box-office records but are
perhaps more thought-provoking than their more famous compatriots. Certainly, movies should entertain, however the
best entertainment expands your outlook, and gives insight to the perspectives
of people from different cultures and mindsets. With such a wide selection of
films at our disposal, how does one sort through the vast, sometimes dispersed
holdings to select the right film for the right situation?
Hise Hall, is here to help. Each
semester, the Learning lab selects a new theme for its Lens on the Collection series, highlighting several related films
from its extensive foreign film collection to provide patrons with a focused
guide to the Learning Lab’s film holdings.
This Fall, Lens on the Collection
focuses its attention on twelve feature films meant to complement Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being, this year’s Go Big Read selection. Ozeki’s novel delves deep into the troubles
confronting contemporary Japanese culture, teenage angst, and the difficulty of
forging meaningful relationships in the fast-paced modern world. As fans of foreign cinema are no
doubt aware, many of these themes have already been explored by talented filmmakers
from around the globe: think of the work
of Leos Carax, Michel Gondry, and Bong Joon-ho in Tokyo; Sofia Coppola in Lost
in Translation; Eric Khoo in Tatsumi,
to name just a few examples.
thought-provoking works of art in their own right, our hope is that by pairing
and partnering these works, book and film, we can help provide the broader
campus audience a fuller appreciation of the themes these works raise. By
combining these different forms of media, we believe that readers and viewers will
be better able to consider the troubles of modernity, the challenges facing
contemporary Japan, and the problems we all wrestle with as individual human
year’s Go Big Read, and head into the
weekend wondering what to do for a bit of entertainment, don’t settle for the
umpteenth re-watching of Twilight or Harry Potter. Dig deeper for something
you haven’t seen before, something more thought provoking, something out of
your comfort zone. You just might uncover a new favorite and challenge your
perspective in the process.
space, audio and video playback equipment, computers, and an extensive media
collection of thousands of DVD/video materials from over one hundred different
foreign languages. Past and current Lens on the
Collection posters and selections can be found online or on the poster board in front of the Learning Lab in Van
Hise Hall. To check out movies from the Lens on the Collection, visit our
friendly staff at the LSS Learning Lab, or order them online at www.library.wisc.edu.
Varsity Hall was full to the brim on Monday night—literally, as we had to turn people away at the door! If you were one of the unlucky few who got there after all the seats were full, or if you were unable to make it to Ruth Ozeki’s talk at all, have no fear. An archived video of the author event is now available on the Go Big Read website (and embedded below!). A transcript of the video, as well as closed captioning, will be made available as soon as possible. Enjoy!
Go Big Read welcomes Ruth Ozeki to Union South tonight, October 28th, at 7 p.m. No tickets are required and doors open at 6 p.m. The event will also be streamed live on the web, and you can find that link on the Go Big Read home page (http://www.gobigread.wisc.edu/).
If you want a preview, Anne Strainchamps of the Wisconsin Public Radio show “45 North” recently interviewed Ozeki, and the engaging, half-hour interview is now archived online (http://www.wpr.org/shows/ruth-ozeki/).
Hope you can join us in person or online!
Go Big Read
screen what Nao, in A Tale for the Time Being, experienced in her
school. The film follows a few children as they endure abuse by their
classmates on the bus, in the halls and on the playgrounds of their
schools. It portrays the pain and shame, and the hopelessness they feel
as their teachers, school leaders and even parents fail to protect
them. It shows the pain of the parents who try to help their children
and fight to get stubborn administrations to move towards protecting
them. And it shows the torment of parents of children who despaired and
took their lives.
it was able to portray the pain these children feel and make clear how
suicide feels like the only option.
film fortunately ends on a positive note. In honor of one of the
children who committed suicide, one father teaches himself about the
internet, gets on Facebook and joins a movement to stop bullying.
Called Stand For The Silent, the group encourages children to befriend a
bullied child, and offers education and tools to children and schools
to help the bullied.
If you are interested in seeing Bully and hearing the reactions of others, come to the Central Library, 201 W. Mifflin St. on Wednesday, October 23 at 6:30 pm.
After we view the film, a supportive, thoughtful discussion will be
moderated by Susan Simon of WISC-TV3 News Team (WISC-TV3 has been
sponsoring a Time for Kids Buddy project to encourage kids to be a
buddy, not a bully). Amy Bellmore, PhD, UW Associate Professor of
Educational Psychology and Dr. Joanna Bisgrove, Family Medicine Physician from DeanCare will join us for the discussion.
Blog post written by:
Lisa M., Librarian atMadison Public Library- Central
*Poster for Bully.
Would you like to ask this year’s Go Big Read author a question about her book, her writing process, etc.?
Ruth Ozeki’s October 28th lecture at Varsity Hall, Union South, is
free and open to the public. The event will begin at 7 pm (doors open at
6 pm) and no tickets are required. We hope you’ll attend and invite
anyone you know who might be interested.
Due to the large scale of the Varsity Hall event, some of the question and answer period will be moderated. Questions should be suggested in writing by October 23rd. The moderator will select a representative set of questions and ask them to Ozeki at the event.
If you would like to suggest a question, please post it as a comment to
this blog post. Please also consider including your name and some very
brief information about yourself (e.g., your major, unit, etc.).
* Please note that blog comments are moderated so there may be a delay of
up to 24 hours between submitting your question and seeing it appear on
Have you heard the good news? Our Go Big Read pick has been nominated for the 2013 Booker prize! We’re so proud of Ruth Ozeki and A Tale for the Time Being (and, we must admit, a little pleased with ourselves for having made a good choice!).
Why do you think A Tale for the Time Being should win? In this video, Guardian editor Richard Lea makes his case for the book. Do you agree with him? Are there other reasons you enjoyed the book? We want to hear your thoughts!
Good luck to Ruth Ozeki and A Tale for the Time Being, and congratulations on this prestigious nomination!
Being,” many heartbreaking issues in young Naoko’s life are explored. Nao, a 16 year-old schoolgirl living in
Tokyo, documents her life in a diary.
novelist named Ruth, finds a barnacle-encrusted freezer bag washed up on a
beach off the coast of British Columbia.
Ruth opens the freezer bag to find Nao’s life inscribed in an old book,
along with a watch and some letters. We are taken into Nao’s world as Ruth
relives her life through the washed up diary.
experienced a sexual assault perpetrated by some of her classmates. These classmates videotaped the assault
and stole her underwear. They then
posted both online, seeing what the highest bid for her underwear would
be. Before Nao even had a chance
to begin healing from her traumatizing sexual assault, she was forced to relive
it over and over again in a public forum.
story in the book displays something that is far too common in our society:
re-victimization. This term refers to the experience of a survivor being
victimized or traumatized after the original trauma.
all survivors of sexual assault experience re-victimization by watching how
much their underwear is being auctioned off for, or by seeing how many views
their sexual assault has gotten online.
However, almost all survivors do have to endure countless rape jokes,
triggering images or scenes on TV and in movies, and degrading song lyrics on a
daily basis. Re-victimization can
be experienced through the criminal justice system, friends, family, and social
the statistic currently at 1 in 4 women being sexually assaulted before they
graduate college, many of us feel helpless and overwhelmed. What can you, merely 1 in 42,820
students at UW-Madison, do to help end the epidemic of sexual assault? The answer may sound simpler than you
think: be a good person. Most of
us are not the perpetrators initially victimizing someone, but we can all do
our part in ensuring survivors are not re-victimized.
conscious of what you say, post online, or laugh at. It matters. With
statistics showing that sexual assault and dating violence affect countless
women in our society, a survivor or a loved one of a survivor will most likely
be negatively affected by what you post or say. If what you are about to say
could be emotionally traumatizing to a survivor, either do not say it or include
a trigger warning before you do.
Soon, this will come as second nature. When other people see you not laughing at a harmful rape
joke, or including a trigger warning before you post an article to Facebook,
that makes a statement about what is and is not acceptable today.
resources that the campus and community provides. If someone discloses to you, you will be prepared to help
them find the resources that are best for them.
hurtful, don’t be afraid to voice your opinion to them. A famous quote from Martin Luther King
Jr. states, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the
silence of our friends.” Will the
confrontation be awkward at first? Maybe.
Will it be worth it? Definitely.
UW-Madison majoring in psychology, and getting certificates in entrepreneurship
and criminal justice. She has
worked as the Violence Prevention Project Assistant at EVOC since her freshman
Faculty from the English Department and the Asian American Studies Program will offer perspectives on A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki. Speakers include: Timothy Yu,
Associate Professor of English and Asian American Studies and Director,
Asian American Studies Program; Leslie Bow, Professor of English and
Asian American Studies; Morris Young, Professor of English; and Jan
Miyasaki, Lecturer in Asian American Studies.
Go Big Read