A Tale For the Time Being Buddy Read

Hey! So due to technical difficulties with scheduling, collaboration, and laziness, I have decided to make my read along somewhat unconventional. I haven’t seen Selina post anything about the book recently, so I am loosening the guidelines. I have read to the halfway point of the book, so I thought it was time for an update.

I have recorded my favorite quotes so far, and here they are.

“Are you a male or a female or somewhere in between?.”

“It made me sad when I caught myself pretending that everybody out there in cyberspace cared what I thought, when really nobody gives a shit. And when I multiply that sad feeling by all the millions of people in their lonely little rooms, furiously writing and posting to their lonely little Pages that nobody has time to read because they’re all so busy writing and posting, it kind of broke my heart.”

“Throughout history, Japanese have always appreciated suicide. For us it is a beautiful thing that gives meaning and shape and honor to our lives forever. It is a method to make out feeling of alive most real.”

“Basically,
where you go to high school affects where you’ll go to university,
which decides what company you’ll work for,
which decides how much money you’ll make,
which decides who you’ll marry,
which decides what kinds of kids you’ll have and how you raise them,
and where you’ll live and die,
and whether your kids have enough money to give you a classy funeral,
which decides whether you will become a hungry and vengeful ghost.”

I will have one or two more updates for this buddy read.

Happy reading,
Mariel

A Tale for the Time Being: Chapters 1-10

My friend thenerdypuffer.worpress.com and I are doing a buddy read! Here is what I thought of the first 10 chapters.

url

Overall Thoughts

Also, I’ll be in Japan until the beginning of August, so I’m gonna be taking a sort of mini hiatus. Since this book is borrowed from a friend, I don’t want to take it with me, but I will try to photograph some of Japan to enhance my posts since this book is about Japan.

Chapters 1-5: Starting the book, I still don’t know what to think. Ruth’s perspective is quite well-written and detailed, but I find it slightly dull to read. Nao’s perspective, while vibrant and interesting, changes style quite a bit. She starts out writing in a straightforward tone, but her second entry discusses various sexual perversions, and I’m still trying to figure out her personality. I’m not currently in the mood for contemporaries, and I’m having some trouble concentrating on books in general at the moment. Also, while all the Japanese words are interesting, I think it would be faster and easier to read if the characters were included and the meaning was recorded in the footnotes instead of the other way around. I can read small amounts of Japanese, so it’s easier for me this way.

Chapters 6-10
It’s getting easier to see the characters’ personalities. I can tell that Nao is a smart and inquisitive girl. She seems kind of sarcastic and has a wry sense of humor. Ruth is kind of harder to analyze because her part of the story is told in third person. She seems thoughtful and reserved. I really like that she was curious and patient enough to actually read the diary she found instead of throwing it away. Overall, both narratives have touched on interesting and deep themes. Being closer to Nao’s age, I have an easier time connecting to her character, but it is quite interesting to read about Ruth. Her determination to find out more about Nao’s life adds more depth to the story. Also, that article on suicide was really dark, and then the book gets really deep.

Nao
Nao is definitely an interesting and very complex character. I can definitely sense her moods as her writing styled and subjects change. She references different philosophical and scientific concepts and really seems to understand most of the world around her. The only thing she can’t do well is interact with new people. She moved from the US to Japan and feels really insecure about herself. She is alienated by her classmates, which I think caused her cynicism.

 

Interesting Quotes

“Are you a male or a female or somewhere in between?”

-Nao

Even at such a young age, Nao is able to understand the concept of gender spectrum better than many grown adults. I also just think the phrasing of this sentence is really nice.

 

“I caught myself pretending that everybody out there in cyberspace cared about what I thought, when really nobody gives a shit. And when I multiplied that sad feeling by all the millions of people in their lonely little rooms, furiously writing and posting to their lonely little pages that nobody has time to read because they’re all so busy writing and posting.”

-Nao

 

 

I thought this quote was really interesting, especially as a blogger. It’s sort of true, and Nao really demonstrates the ability to think about the big picture and create moods while still explaining things somewhat objectively.

I will link Selina’s post here once she writes it. To make it interesting, I am writing more about Nao, and she’s writing her thoughts on Ruth. Also, the two of us seem to have very different interpretations of the book so far, so it might be interesting to read both of our posts.

I hope to post as much as possible while in Japan, but don’t expect much!
-Mariel

Buddy Read Announcement

One of my best friends Selina @ The Nerdy Puffer and I are doing a buddy read! We will be reading A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. This book first caught our eyes when it won an award at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. We will read 5 chapters a day, and each chapter is a change in POV. We will record our daily reactions and commentary, as well as in-depth reviews when we have finished. I am really looking forward to reading this book! It took so much self-restraint to keep from reading this all in one sitting, so I hope it’s worth the effort. 

 

Here is the trailer for the book:

Stay tuned for an initial reaction to the cover and the trailer!