A sweeping novel called A Tale For the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki is the 2013-2014 Go Big Read choice at UW-Madison. Thousands of students and community members will read A Tale For the Time Being and discuss its myriad themes.
Reviews of Ozeki’s thought provoking book abound, but this from UW-Madison’s retired School of Library and Information Studies’ Emeritus Professor, Louise Robbins is a good place to start.
“I have just finished reading the [GO] 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 ending?” Me: “No. I’m sad there is no more to read.”
“It is 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. I’m going to read it again. It joins two other books of the last ten years in 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.”
Though A Tale is not as overtly connected to the health sciences as were 2012-2013’s Radioactive by Lauren Redniss or The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot, there are two topics that have bearing on health; meditation and suicide. Two groups that are useful at UW in that regard are: the Integrative Medicine Group at UW Health and the University Health Sciences which has a 24 hour suicide prevention hotline at: 608-265-5600 (select option 9)
A Tale for the Time Being is being read and discussed in a few health sciences classes. If you would like a copy for class, ask for one at the 2nd floor service desk in Ebling Library. Ruth Ozeki will be speaking on campus on October 28th. Visit here for details and to look at the GBR blog.
Photo of 2nd year Nursing Student, Whitney Sterling (’14) by Ebling’s Amanda Lambert.