Randomness of life explored by One Book author

Ruth Ozeki’s book “A Tale for the Time Being” was chosen for One Book, One Mesa County 2014.

13book “A Tale for the Time Being” by Ruth Ozeki.

Add this to your list of things to be thankful for this season: 10 years of the One Book, One Mesa County program.

When you finish reading a great book, doesn’t it always go this way? You slowly close the cover, exhale, glance around and think, “Man, I wish there was someone to talk to about this book!”

You don’t want it to be over — the complex characters, clever phrases and surprising plot twists reduced back to flat ink on pulp paper.

If you’re lucky, you’re part of a book club and can relive the book all over again with fellow members.

If you’re really lucky, the book is the selection of One Book, One Mesa County, and you can share your reading experience with the entire county.

One Book, One Mesa County’s selection for 2014 is “A Tale for the Time Being” by Ruth Ozeki.

Mesa County Libraries, which organizes the annual countywide reading program, described the book this way:

“The novel is a powerful story about how reading, writing and the discovery of a journal connect two people who will never meet. The connection begins with a lunchbox washed up on a beach in the Pacific Northwest, suspected to be debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami. The lunchbox contains a diary written by a troubled Tokyo schoolgirl, and its finder, a novelist named Ruth, becomes obsessed with discovering the fate of the girl.”

Angie Allen, co-chair of the One Book, One Mesa County Selection Committee, said the book centers around “that idea of random things showing up in your life.”

The selection committee read more than 50 books in the past year.

From there, members selected five finalists.

Out of all that literature, how to choose The One — The Book likely to connect with such a broad spectrum of readers?

The No. 1 criterion, Allen said, is that “it has to be a book people want to talk about.”

And, practically speaking, the author also has to be available to speak during the spring for the author’s event.

The topic of the book also must lend itself to six weeks of related programming, said Lois Becker, co-chair of the selection committee and development director for the library.

Natural programming spinoffs from “A Tale for the Time Being” could include presentations on Buddhism, bullying, weather patterns, origami and meditation, Becker said.

The author, Ozeki recently led a group of 1,200 people in 8 minutes of silent meditation during a speaking engagement at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A resident of British Columbia and New York City, Ozeki is also a filmmaker and Zen Buddhist priest.

“A Tale for the Time Being” was a shortlist finalist for the prestigious 2013 Man Booker Prize. Ozeki’s other novels are “My Year of Meats,” published in 1998, and “All Over Creation,” published in 2003.

Ozeki will be in Grand Junction March 1 at the One Book, One Mesa County author event, the culmination of six weeks of panels, discussions, classes, demonstrations and other related events.

The Daily Sentinel has sponsored this community reading program from the beginning because we believe in the power of the written word, not only to inform, but to move, to elevate and to unify.

Start reading now so you’ll be ready for the book discussions. I can’t wait to have 147,848 people to talk to about the book! 

“A Tale for the Time Being” is available from Mesa County Libraries in print and audio CD formats. Limited copies are available in ebook and audio downloadable formats.

Local bookstores also will carry the novel.

The Barnes & Noble Bookfair will donate a portion of sales to support One Book, One Mesa County. If you use the Bookfair ID 1120364 when purchasing “A Tale for the Time Being” online at bn.com from Dec. 8–13 or in person at Barnes & Noble Booksellers on Dec. 8, a percentage of your purchase will support the program.

“A Tale for the Time Being” is in good company as a feted selection. Notable past selections include “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” by Jonathan Safran Foer, “Marley and Me” by John Grogan and “Bless Me Ultima” by Rudolfo Anaya.

Have news about local authors, bookstores, book clubs or writing groups? Email Laurena Mayne Davis at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Davis is the director of marketing and product development for The Daily Sentinel.


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