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Go Big Read seeks titles focused on inequality in America for 2015-2016 program

Have you read any great books lately? Do you think something you’ve read would make a great Go Big Read selection? Let us know! For the 2015-2016 academic year, we are seeking books with a focus on inequality in America:

America is often billed as a land of opportunity, but for many people there are barriers to accessing education, getting out of poverty, seeking justice and more.    

“The Go Big Read program will provide a communitywide opportunity to further discuss the ways in which unequal opportunities affect our society and impact our relationships with one another.”  -Rebecca Blank  

If you’ve recently read something that engages with the theme of inequality in America, we want to hear about it. The deadline to submit books for consideration is January 30, 2015, and we are accepting both fiction and non-fiction nominations. You can use this form to nominate titles, and read more about our selection criteria here, and also see if your favorite title is on our running suggestion list.

We can’t wait to hear from you!

Go Big Read seeks titles focused on service for 2014-15 program

Have you read any great books lately? Think something you’ve read would make a great Go Big Read selection? Let us know! For the 2014-2015 academic year, we are seeking books with a focus on service:

Here at home and around the world, people are called to serve their
countries, their communities and other missions. Some volunteer, some
are drafted, and others find themselves pressed into service by their
circumstances.

But what does it mean to serve? Who is compelled to serve and why?
And in what ways does it affect those who serve and the people around
them?

If you’ve recently read something that engages with the theme of service, we want to hear about it. The deadline to submit books for consideration is February 1, 2014, and we are accepting both fiction and non-fiction nominations. You can use this form to nominate titles, and read more about our selection criteria here, and also see if your favorite title is on our running suggestion list.

We can’t wait to hear from you!

Guest Post: How to Read a Book

A Tale for the Time Being invites us to read in a slightly
different way than many of us are used to. 
Not only does the book alternate between two narrators, but when we read
Nao’s diary, we’re reading it as annotated by Ruth, whose chapters are told from in the third-person voice.  It took me a while to realize that the
footnotes in Nao’s diary are written as though they were written by the
character Ruth, not the author Ruth.

If you’re interested in other approaches to reading, you may want to listen to
the November 24, 2013, edition of the public radio show To the Best of Our Knowledge.  The Nov 24 show is all about “How to Read a Book.” Hearing Billy Collins’ read his poem “Reader,” immediately made me think
of Tale.  There’s also an interview with an author who
wrote a novel which features another novel written in the margins of the book,
among other thought-provoking segments.

Beth Harper
Reference Librarian, Memorial Library

Interview with Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney

Did you miss seeing Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney discuss her book Kamikaze Diaries at Central Library on Tuesday? If so, don’t worry! Check out this interview with Professor Ohnuki-Tierney, filmed at the Virginia Festival of the Book in 2010.  

Kamikaze Diaries: Reflections of Japanese Student Soldiers is one of the texts used by Ruth Ozeki in her research for A Tale for the Time Being, and details the lives and deaths of Japanese students drafted as kamikaze pilots during World War II.

Thanks to Laurie Wertmer of the Memorial Library Reference Department for finding this video for us!

Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney at Central Library, 11/12

Kamikaze Diaries by Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney

If you attended Ruth Ozeki’s talk on October 28, you may have heard her mention Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney.  Ohnuki-Tierney wrote Kamikaze Diaries: Reflections of Japanese Student Soldiers and Kamikaze, Cherry Blossoms, and Nationalisms: The Militarization of Aesthetics in Japanese History, which Ozeki used for her research for A Tale for the Time Being.  In her interview with NPR, Ozeki says in reference to Cherry Blossoms:

It was a collection, a study of the diaries of the kamikaze pilots who had been conscripted from Japan’s top universities. So these were the young, bright minds of Japan, and these men, these young men, were beautiful writers. And they wrote these just heartbreaking letters and diaries….Many of them did not want to participate in this at all but, you know, the situation was hopeless — there was no option for conscientious  objection, for example — so they were forced into this, accompanied by an enormous amount of angst. And so I think the idea for those three characters came from this reading and studying that I was doing.

If you are interested in learning more about the experiences of the Japanese soldiers, Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney will be at the Central Library, 201 Mifflin St. on Tuesday, November 12 at 7:00 pm. Ohnuki-Tierney is the William F. Vilas Professor at the University of Wisconsin.

Lisa, Librarian at Madison Public Library – Central Library

The Power of Books

In
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
reading.
Ruth
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.
Nao
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.
            
Books
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.
Dana Kampa

UW-Madison student

A Tale for the Time Being is now available as an eBook!

Are you a Kindle person, a Nook person, or an iPad person? Penguin Books, publisher of A Tale for the Time Being, announced on September 25th that their eBook catalog is now available via OverDrive for free download to portable e-readers including Nooks, Kindles and iPads. The Wisconsin Public Library Consortium, which includes Madison Public Library and all South Central Library System public libraries, has added 25 copies of this year’s Go Big Read book to the WPLC digital library.

This eBook is available to read with the OverDrive Read browser reader, as well as most devices and Kindle. (Of note to Kindle users:  Penguin ebook titles are available for Kindle users via the USB sideloading only.)  Public library users may already be familiar with this process. If not, this OverDrive Help article covers it, or users can call their local library for help.

If you are not familiar with Overdrive, start here!

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.

Suggest a Go Big Read book for 2013-14!

Have you read any great books lately?

“Global connections” is the Go Big Read focus for the 2013-2014 academic year, and we’re taking suggestions starting now! (Fiction suggestions are highly encouraged.) To read more about the 2013-14 theme, check out this article.

The deadline to make your suggestion is February 1st, and you can use the form here. If you want to check and see if your favorite book has been nominated, take a look at the running suggestion list.

If you have any questions, shoot us an email: gobigread @ library. wisc. edu.

We can’t wait to see your suggestions!

Happy birthday, Marie Curie!

Madame Curie was born on this date in 1867, and would have been one hundred and forty-five years old today—pretty impressive!
Why not celebrate Marie’s birthday in true scientific fashion?  Head over to Memorial Library and spend a few minutes with the Marie and Pierre Curie exhibit in the lobby (just past the check-in desk).  Or wander over to Ebling to see Fallout: The Mixed Blessing of Radiation and Public Health, a fascinating exhibit currently on display in the gallery.  If you missed Lauren Redniss when she came to campus, you can watch her talk here.  Or, if you’d rather spend this gray day just curled up with a good book, you can always check out one of these great Marie Curie biographies in the library catalog.  (Or just re-read Radioactive—it’s always worth a second look!)
However you choose to celebrate, everybody here in the Go Big Read office wishes you a truly radioactive day!
Brooke Williams, GBR graduate student