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Tag: Ruth Ozeki

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

“A Crucial Collaboration”: Ruth Ozeki on the reader-writer relationship

A Tale for the Time Being author Ruth Ozeki

If you’ve started reading this year’s Go Big Read book, A Tale for the Time Being, you’ve probably figured out that it’s not exactly an ordinary novel. The book’s two main characters, Ruth and Nao, speak to each other across distance both geographical and temporal; at the same time, they do their best to break out of the confines imposed on them as characters in a work of fiction. Ruth boasts more than a few similarities to the real-life Ruth Ozeki, and Nao is constantly aware that she is writing her own story, frequently appealing directly to the reader or calling into question her own motives and reliability as writer.

A Tale for the Time Being brings up a lot of questions about the relationship between the reader and the writer. In an essay for Poets & Writers, Ruth Ozeki recently explained her own understanding of this complicated relationship, and how it plays out in the separate-but-connected experiences of reading and writing. It’s an interesting essay, but I’m going to pull out my favorite part:

All meaning is created through relationship, which means all meaning is
relative. There is no one, single, definitive book. There is no one, single,
definitive author. And clearly there is no one, single, definitive reader,
either. There is only the exchange, the meaning that you and I, in any given
moment, make together, as your eyes scan these words and your mind makes sense
of them. And because we are always changing, the words you read today mean
something very different from those same words if read a month or a year from

If ever a book disproved the existence of “one single, definitive book,” “one single, definitive author” and “one single, definitive reader,” it’s A Tale for the Time Being. The entire book is built around the idea of exchange, the meaning created between two people—even, or perhaps especially, two people who will never meet. At its heart, A Tale for the Time Being is a book about the power of books.

If you haven’t started reading it yet—what are you waiting for?

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.