Tag Archives: time

Staff Display: Squeezed for Time

Time 1 Time 3 Time 4 Time 2 Time 5

I find that as I get older I have less patience with books that are extremely long. Why are there so many words? Do we really need to talk so much? I never used to read short stories or short novellas, yet now find myself compelled to read more of this kind of literature.  Prose poetry (poetry written in prose instead of using verse but preserving poetic qualities) and flash fiction (fiction of extreme brevity) are two types of writing that I am particularly excited about.

Some recommended reading:

Diary of the Fall by Michel Laub

The Fall by Diogo Mainardi

A Distant Father by Antonio Skarmeta

All Days Are Night by Peter Stamm

Hard to Admit and Harder to Escape by Sarah Manguso

Pieces for the Left Hand by J. Robert Lennon

Mind of Winter: Poems for a Snowy Season by Robert Atwan

Moon Woke Me Up Nine Times: Selected Haiku of Basho by Matsue Basho

Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

Little Lumpen Novelita by Roberto Bolabo

Stranger by Albert Campus

Horoscopes for the Dead: Poems by Billy Collins

Collected Stories of Lydia Davis by Lydia Davis

Can’t and Won’t: Stories by Lydia Davis

Brazen Plagiarist: Selected Poems: by Kiki Dimoula

Best American Short Stories 2014 by Jennifer Egan

Art Of Living: The Classical Manual On Virtue, Happiness, And Effect by Epictetus

Ex Libris: Confessions Of A Common Reader by Anne Fadiman

This I Believe: Life Lessons by Dan Gediman

Faithful and Virtuous Night: Poems by Louise Gluck

Best American Nonrequired Reading 2014 by Daniel Handler

Best European Fiction 2013 by Aleksandar Hemon (editor)

James Herriot’s Favorite Dog stories by James Herriot

James Herriot’s Cat Stories by James Herriot

Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly: A Novel by Sun-mi Hwang

Woman Who Borrowed Memories: Selected stories of Tove Jansson by Tove Jansson

Gifts From The Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Gardener’s Son by Cormac McCarthy

One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill

Honeydew: Stories by Edith Pearlman

Binocular Vision — Short Story Collection Edith Pearlman

There Once Lived a Mother Who Loved Her Children, Until They Moved Back In: Three Novellas About Fam by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya

Heaven of Animals: Stories by David James Poissant

Crying of Lot 49: A Novel by Thomas Pynchon

Disquiet, Please! : More Humor Writing from the New Yorker by David, Remnick

Fur Person by May Sarton

Tenth of December: Stories by George Saunders

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary by David Sedaris

Dress Your Family In Corduroy And Denim by David Sedaris

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris

Whispering Muse: A Novel by Sjon

Pearl by Jon Steinbeck

Testament of Mary: A Novel by Colm Toibin

David Foster Wallace Reader by David Foster Wallace

Consider the Lobster: and Other Essays by David Foster Wallace

Ghost in a Red Hat: Poems by Rosanna

~ Lysbeth

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Customer Review: The Time Fetch


The Time Fetch

Amy Herrick

Algonquin Books


Available August, 2013

Every book has a certain magic about it, but this one had more; it basically
sizzled around its self like a magnet. I picked it up and didn’t put it down until
every word on all 307 pages had been read.

It started of a little slow, but after a few chapters it was pure fun. Every page
brought more breath-taking adventure and excitement, every page brought more
questions to my mind.

I loved the fact that something as ordinary as a rock was actually something as
abnormal as a “time fetch”, that once moved from it’s hiding place it would eat up
time! Edward’s strange philosophy — everything is just atoms, and nothing
is solid, nothing is worth caring about — confused me but also in intrigued me in a

Something that was also a plus, was that the four kids in the book, Edward, Feenix,
Danton and Brigit get in to some situations in their school time that I am quite
familiar with, which meant I could feel empathy for them as the story brought
the four together.

In the beginning the four hardly even talk, but when they figure out that they
would not be able to save their world from disintegrating without one another’s
help, they hold together even at the toughest times.

There’s something for everyone in The Time Fetch, there is mystery, fantasy,
adventure, and some science. I would recommend it to anyone who likes books at all.

~ Helena, age 11

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Staff Review: A Tale for the Time Being

9780670026630One of the best things about  my first year at college was discovering the university libraries. I quickly settled on a favorite, and it wasn’t the beautiful old main library in the campus center, although I loved all of them (I don’t think I’ve ever met a library I didn’t like). Rather it was the library on the agricultural quad, with its utilitarian looks. The stacks were housed in a nine-story central tower, with study carrels tucked into the corners of each floor. The quietness was almost palpable and I rarely saw another person the higher in the stacks that I climbed. Sometimes I would wander through the stacks, perusing the titles, sometimes pulling one out for a closer look.  Just doing this gave me an almost giddy feeling, as though by random chance I might stumble across some forgotten tome holding the key to everything. At times I felt like a 20th century alchemist searching for a modern day philosopher’s stone — I know how pretentious this sounds, but don’t you remember how being 18 years old felt?

As the years have passed, I have given up searching for the answer to everything in dusty old books, and that feeling of giddiness is a lovely memory, but I have never lost my sense of wonder and curiousity about how the world works.

Every week it seems there are new scientific discoveries, and while they provide new answers, they raise yet more questions. For some time now I have felt that the field of quantum mechanics just might be the modern-day equivalent to the answer to everything, if only I could actually understand it. I am not a physicist, however. So I’ve read a few of those nifty “Very Short Introduction” guides that Oxford publishes; I’ve looked through Mr. Tompkins and Alice in Quantumland; and I’ve even read a graphic guide to quantum theory. And occasionally the fog I seem to wander through lifts briefly: I feel a glimmer of understanding. But when I try to articulate my “aha” moment, it just slips away.

Making analogies makes difficult concepts easier for me to understand, and one of my favorite analogies is to visualize quantum mechanics as a library — within the universe of each book, all the events are occurring simultaneously. It’s only when you pick up a book to read it that time moves in a linear fashion.

And then along comes Ruth Ozeki’s new book, A Tale for the Time Being, just in the nick of time! It may be the closest I ever get to understanding the basic concept of quantum mechanics. This book is a story told within the framework of quantum time. The two main characters, Nao and Ruth, never meet. Although their stories are told simultaneously, they occur at different times. Nevertheless, the two characters communicate with each other. Nao is a schoolgirl who lives in Japan prior to the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, and Ruth is a writer who lives on an island off the western coast of Canada. Nao puts her journal in a Hello Kitty lunchbox, which Ruth finds when it washes up on her island. Nao says that she is a “time being”, which she takes from a Buddhist poem with the words “for the time being” repeated in every line; we use this common phrase so often, to mean “for the present”, “for right now”, or “until further notice”, but Nao interprets them to mean that we are all time beings living somewhere in time, whether it is in the present, the past, or the future. Nao writes her journal as though she is speaking to whoever is reading it, and Ruth doesn’t want to finish reading it because she is afraid to end it and lose touch with Nao. Nao writes that she will commit suicide soon, and Ruth doesn’t want this to happen, even though it may have already happened. Ruth, who at one point declares that “writing is the opposite of suicide”, is suffering from a bit of writer’s block.

But wait, there is more: Zen Buddhism, Japanese popular culture, bullying, the dark legacy of Japan’s role in WW2, the special relationship between grandparents and grandchildren, island life, writing and literature, science, and philosophy. There is also sadness and joy and hope and love and humor. This is not a book I wanted to finish quickly.

I like to think of my books as my own personal quantum universe, my library of multiverses happening all the time right in my own house. A Tale for the Time Being is one place I will return to time and time again.

~ Lysbeth

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