Podcast #13: A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

A_Tale_For_The_Time_BeingWe made it!

That’s a wrap!  Call it a year!  Last year we finished recording the podcasts before the big announcement, but we were’t able to release them all to the world until after.  This year, we worked overtime to get them all done on time.  This is our final podcast, and if you’re a fan of anus, it’s a great one.

In this episode Aaron compares Nao to Darling, Jackie reveals what her supapowa is, Karli thinks Aaron is too obsessed with anus and isn’t afraid to let him know it, and Michelle shockingly admits for the first time ever that she thinks that The Luminaries should win the prize.



2013 Booker Conversations: The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

Booker_ConversationsThe 2013 Booker Conversations is a series of in-depth, spoiler-free discussions between BookerMarks bloggers about this year’s nominated titles.

Today, Aaron Westerman, Penny Kollar, and Michelle Williams partake in an in-depth spoiler-free discussion about Lhumpa Lahiri’s novel The Lowland.

Aaron is Opinionless. Except of course when it comes to books or movies. He’s the co-founder of Typographical Era where he blogs on a regular basis about the latest in translated literature, foreign cinema, and more.

Penny is 1/3 of the Literary Hoarders that works in research administration by day and dreams often of reading and working amongst books full time.

Michelle is an avid “reader” of books and a “rider” of bicycles. When she is not cycling you can catch her reading and when she is not reading, well, she is probably pedaling about somewhere. Her blog, A Reader and A Rider journals her reviews of literary fiction.

Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland tells the deeply moving story of two Indian brothers whose lives are forever changed by a tragic event that threatens to tear the very fabric of their family apart. It’s about how we get stuck, unable to shed the ties that bind us and leave the past where it belongs, but it’s also about misunderstanding and miscommunication, and what happens when lives are built around false assumptions.



Podcast #12: We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo

We_Need_New_NamesWe’re getting there!

This is the sixth podcast this year, and the fifth discussion dedicated specifically to chatting about one of the finalists.  That means we’ve got just one podcast left to eek out after this, and if you’ve been keeping track at home, you know that we’re doing it just like mama always said.  That’s right, when you’ve got the cat by its balls, you save it for last.

In this episode Aaron sings a little song he wrote about the book, Jackie reveals that she actually finished listening to it before the recording (!), Karli tries to get her geometry homework done, and Michelle shockingly admits for the first time ever that she thinks that The Luminaries should win the prize and that Life After Life should have at least made the longlist.


2013 Man Booker Shortlisted: We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo #5

We_Need_New_NamesRating: 3.5
We Need New Names
A Novel by NoViolet Bulawayo
2013 / 298 pages

Darling is a 10 year old girl from Zimbabwe. She and her family have been forced out of their home and now live in a shanty town (called “Paradise”). Her father has gone off to South Africa (to find work/money) and her mother is trying to scrape together what she can so they don’t starve while he is away. Since there is no longer a school to attend, Darling and her gang of friends (Bastard, Chipo, Godknows, Sbho and Stina) are free to spend their days waiting for the NCO truck to arrive with supplies and gifts. In the meantime they hunt for guavas, play intricate games (find bin Ladin, Country Game, War Lord) and get into mischief in the “white” section of town all while avoiding the men with the machetes. They are trying to make the best of what they have but it is hard when they have known a different life– before the bulldozers came; before 11 year old Chipo got a baby in her belly.


2013 Shortlisted: The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton #5

The_Luminaries_USRating: 3.5
The Luminaries
A Novel by Eleanor Catton
2013 / 848 pages

The Luminaries was a looooooooong book– a whopping 848 pages, at least 20 main characters and a complex structure featuring the phases of the moon, the alignment of the planets and the signs of the zodiac. It took me a while to read this one. There was detail up the wazoo– every ship in New Zealand was mentioned by name, every building or tent was described in full, every dirty fingernail was picked, every speck of gold dust was included as a main character– but essentially this was a pure mystery novel with a little bit of “magical realism” thrown in.


2013 Shortlisted: A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki #5

A_Tale_For_The_Time_BeingRating: 4
A Tale for the Time Being

A Novel by Ruth Ozeki
2013 / 432 Pages

Ruth Ozeki’s Man Booker Prize shortlisted title has been a favorite among BookerMarks members this year.  With such a richly layered and intricate plot, it’s difficult not to get sucked into this novel of hope, friendship, and family in the modern world.  Split between two narrators, A Tale for the Time Being introduces readers to Nao, a teenage girl living in Tokyo, and Ruth, a writer living on the Pacific coast of Canada.  Even though the two have never met, their lives are inextricably connected when Ruth finds Nao’s diary on the ocean shore, carefully wrapped and sealed within a freezer bag.  As Ruth reads Nao’s story, she develops a deep kinship and sense of concern for this Japanese girl.