The Women’s Center at NC State has announced “Little Fires Everywhere” as the focus of the Women's Center’s Summer 2020 Book Club. The novel, written by Celeste Ng, is a #1 New York Times best seller and was recently made into a Hulu original series, starring Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon.
According to a Women’s Center’s Student Programming Intern Juniper Nie, a fifth-year studying communication media and women’s and gender studies, the Women’s Center chose this book due to its correlation to current events.
According to Ng’s website, the novel centers around two suburban women and the tension that erupts between them when one threatens the status quo.
Previous titles read in these book clubs include“Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood” by Trevor Noah, “The Poet X” by Elizabeth Acevedo, “Proud: My Fight for an Unlikely American Dream” by Ibtihaj Muhammad and “The Body Is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love” by Sonya Renee Taylor.
Sierra Kabir, a third-year studying political science and Student Programming intern for the Women’s Center, explained the Women’s Center hosts book clubs each semester to help students get involved.
Kabir said the titles chosen for these book clubs are meant to align with current events or with things the University is trying to focus on. She cited the center’s choice of Trevor Noah’s “Born a Crime” in parallel with it being the first-year common reading book as an example of this. Nie said, while neither her nor Kabir had a direct say in what the book would be, it also is meant to relate to the Women’s Center’s mission statement.
“It was mainly our director's decision on choosing the book, but it correlates with the whole diversity and inclusion aspect that's in the mission statement for the Women's Center,” Nie said. “That goes for all of our books as well, and it bridges the gap between faculty and staff at NC State and students at NC State to have a conversation together.”
Students who registered by June 8 were given a copy of the title and were sent a link for the group’s Zoom. According to Kabir, students participating in the meetings can expect to meet five times in groups of approximately 10-12 other students in order for members to be able to participate in guided discussion about the section read. Nie said the meetings will begin June 24 at 1 p.m. and continue each Wednesday until July 14.
While the book’s topic correlates to current events, the Women’s Center plans their readings at least one or two, semesters in advance, said Kabir.
“The book idea was floating around way before everything nationally and state was happening. It wasn't like, ‘Oh, this is happening and we chose this book,’” Kabir said. “The book has been chosen for a while.”
Kabir explained, due to COVID-19, the Women’s Center is only able to facilitate a limited number of participants for this session, as there are fewer working staff members. However, both Kabir and Nie have been working with those at the center to ensure they are able to lead small group sessions well and in a highly respectful manner.
“I know that there has been a lot of chat about what the book is about, especially in this time, and just like, as a Women’s Center, we want people to know that we are taking a lot of caution when it comes to the book, and that what we are trying to do is respect everyone and uplift everyone,” Kabir said. “It's not going to be a space where there are arguments or where there is going to be disrespect.”
That being said, students who were unable to officially participate are still able to participate informally by reading the book or watching the show on Hulu. To learn more, students should visit the Women’s Center’s website.