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Library announces One Book selection

Sharon Sullivan
ssullivan@gjfreepress.com
Ruth Ozeki is author of "A Tale for the Time Being" — the One Book, One Mesa County book selection for 2014.
Submitted photo | Free Press

It’s almost time for that community-wide conversation about a book, and the themes that emerge from reading it.

Mesa County Libraries announced its 2014 One Book, One Mesa County selection earlier this week: “A Tale for the Time Being” by Ruth Ozeki.

The story is about reading, writing and the discovery of a journal that connects two people who never meet. A writer named Ruth finds the journal inside a lunch box that washes ashore in the Pacific Northwest. Ruth becomes “obsessed” with discovering the fate of the journal’s owner, a 16-year-old troubled Tokyo girl. The lunch box and its contents are suspected debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami.

The story touches upon “quantum mechanics, Zen meditation, computer science, climate change and the nature of being,” according to a library news release.

Ozeki will visit Grand Junction March 1 to discuss her book at the 10th annual One Book, One Mesa County author event.

Members of the One Book committee read roughly 50 books over the course of a year before choosing “A Tale for the Time Being,” committee co-chair Angie Allen said.

“We look for a good fit for the community; something fabulous we can talk about and discuss,” she said.

The committee also looks for interesting themes to explore; this book has weather (the 2011 tsunami figures prominently), Japanese food and culture, and Buddhism, Allen said.

It wasn’t until the dozen committee members had chosen the book and signed a contract with Ozeki that they learned the novel was one of six titles short-listed for the Man Booker Prize.

“In my opinion, it’s the biggest book prize in the world,” Allen said.

Other past One Book selections became bestsellers, or were made into movies, she said, citing “Bless Me Ultima,” by Rudolfo Anaya and “Rules of Civility,” by Amor Towles.

Special library programming will begin in mid-January, culminating with the author visit at the Grand Junction High School auditorium in March.

Book discussions will be held at each of the branch libraries. A larger literary panel event will take place at the Central Library, where participants will discuss imagery, depth and writing techniques, Allen said.

“It’ll be like a big giant book-club night,” she said.

The library typically carries more than a 100 copies of the One Book title once the events begin in January, said library spokesman Bob Kretschman. Several copies are currently available.

In addition to being an award-winning novelist, Ozeki has made films that have been broadcasted on PBS, and screened at the Sundance Film Festival, the Museum of Modern Art, the Montreal Wold Film Festival and the Margaret Mead Film Festival.

Ozeki is also a longtime meditator and Zen Buddhist priest. She is affiliated with the Brooklyn Zen Center and the Everyday Zen Foundation and edits the Everyday Zen website. She splits her time between British Columbia and New York City.


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