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June book of the month: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. Join author webchat Tuesday 26 June at 9pm

(95 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 01-Jun-18 17:25:12

Our June book of the month has been described by one of the mn book bloggers as: "without a doubt one of the best books I have read this year" and another says: "My life was put on hold until I had finished the very last word. I gorged on this novel and greedily devoured every single page." Reece Witherspoon has already snapped up the rights, so join us in reading this now.

Author Celeste Ng will be joining us for a webchat on this thread on 26 June when she'll be answering questions about the book and you'll have the opportunity to discuss with other readers. Find out more about the book, read - or listen to - an extract and find out what the Mumsnet bloggers have to say about Little Fires Everywhere

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 06-Jul-18 11:58:35

Thanks to everyone for joining this brilliant webchat with Celeste Ng last week. Congrats to: Starlight36, Belo, Majesticwhine, ButDoYouAvocado, VanderlyleGeek, Celama, FernieB, SallySwann, MamaCbear, Impostersyndrome and littlerose12345 who have each won a copy of next month's book: ]] by Gill Simms. We'll be in touch by PM to let you know how to claim your book. We're launching July b.o.m on slightly later date of 12 July and the author webchat will take place in early September.

Finally if you're looking for further inspiration for your summer hols, do have a look at our Summer Reads recommendations. Happy Reading !

Irishgurl Thu 28-Jun-18 11:14:17

I did enjoy the book. Would it really be possible to take a baby from USA to Canton without a passport? This seemed so far fetched. And the baby monitor was always on. I'm sure the parents would have woken up. A bit of a jarring end to an otherwise great read.

littlerose12345 Wed 27-Jun-18 09:21:08

Thank you for a lovely webchat!

MajesticWhine Wed 27-Jun-18 00:03:37

@ClaireTMumsnet
Please can you possibly get rid of the strike throughs on Celeste Ng's posts because it looks like they were unintentional.
Thanks

Caffeinesolution Tue 26-Jun-18 22:03:36

Thanks so much for a brilliant webchat! I'm already excited for your next book. Best wishes.

CelesteNg Tue 26-Jun-18 22:02:25

ClaireTMumsnet

Sadly we're almost at the end of our hour - it's flown by and a huge thank you to Celeste for answering our questions so fully and thoughtfully. It was great to hearing about the inspiring objects you surround yourself with when writing (I particularly liked the Colson Whitehead quote cross-stitch example).

One final question from us - which book do you think everyone should read this summer?

Thanks to everyone who joined us this evening, and I hope you all enjoyed the chat as much as we did at MNHQ!

Ooh, tough question. No book works for everyone, so how about this: challenge yourself to pick up a book outside of your usual comfort zone. A classic you never got around to reading, a book of poems if you think you hate poetry, a graphic novel or a YA book if you usually read literary fiction... anything beyond what you usually reach for. You don't even have to finish it, but trying new things is a good way to stretch your brain. And who knows, maybe you WILL like it!

Thanks so much to everyone for your questions and for reading!

xo
celeste

impostersyndrome Tue 26-Jun-18 22:01:57

I’m glad you think Izzy will be fine. I felt so sorry for her, not understanding why her mum treats her so unfairly. I thought you portrayed her finding refuge with Mia immensely satisfying.

ButDoYouAvocado Tue 26-Jun-18 22:01:55

I think youre quite right. I loved the book and read it almost in one sitting. Very best wishes for your future projects!

CelesteNg Tue 26-Jun-18 21:59:59

ButDoYouAvocado

Is Mia someine you could be friends with?

Hi ButDoYouAvocado! I think so, yes. There's a lot to love about her and I think she'd be a friend who would give good advice when I needed it. She's definitely not perfect, but then, who is?

Regardless of whether readers want to be friends with the characters, though, as a writer I always hope the reader will understand my characters--even if they don't agree with them or like them. For me, that's my job: not to make you like the people I describe, but to let you see them as individuals, complicated and flawed just as all humans are.

VanderlyleGeek Tue 26-Jun-18 21:59:54

Celeste, you are clearly a woman of taste and refinement! grin

CelesteNg Tue 26-Jun-18 21:57:58

VanderlyleGeek

Re a third Ohio book: I hear the Cincinnati area has its charms. wink

They do have excellent chili! wink

ClaireTMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 26-Jun-18 21:57:37

Sadly we're almost at the end of our hour - it's flown by and a huge thank you to Celeste for answering our questions so fully and thoughtfully. It was great to hearing about the inspiring objects you surround yourself with when writing (I particularly liked the Colson Whitehead quote cross-stitch example).

One final question from us - which book do you think everyone should read this summer?

Thanks to everyone who joined us this evening, and I hope you all enjoyed the chat as much as we did at MNHQ!

CelesteNg Tue 26-Jun-18 21:57:33

FernieB

Thanks for answering my questions Celeste.

What are you working on now? Can you tell us anything about it? And where do you write?

Hi FernieB! I've been traveling all over doing book events, so I haven't been writing much. But I have a little break from travel this summer and am just starting to work on a new novel. It's in the small-green-seedling stage at the moment but hopefully will start coming together.

I write in my office in my house, usually--see above for a more detailed description--but sometimes, if I need a different vibe, I write in the Cambridge Public Library (a wonderful space), or in a few local coffee shops that I love.

CelesteNg Tue 26-Jun-18 21:56:09

SallySwann

Thank you Celeste for such a lovely novel. The best ones are always the ones you don't want to end and thus was one such. I felt really sorry for Izzy throughout until it was clear that she really did set the fire. Did you imagine her finally catching up with Mia I wonder?

Hi SallySwann, that would be telling, wouldn't it? I will say this: I'm sure she and Mia will be in touch again, and I'm also sure that Izzy will be fine in the end. smile

SometimesTheSmallestThings Tue 26-Jun-18 21:55:55

Thank you so much for answering - it’s so lovely to have a chance to talk to you after reading, such a great opportunity to hear so many thoughts on your writing. I have also not read Everything I Never Told You but it’s next on my list!

CelesteNg Tue 26-Jun-18 21:55:32

Oops, I left off the last Mumsnet question!

The room where I wrote Little Fires Everywhere: I have a spare bedroom in my house that I use as an office, and I write there most days. It's on the third floor of my office, so it's quite quiet and I look out through the treetops onto our little quiet street. The walls are sage green and I have a lot of quirky and inspirational art hung up to keep me motivated.

Some examples: a painting I made that's a quote from Annie Dillard's book "The Writing Life"--each letter is represented by a blob of a different color paint, so if you know which color means which letter, you can decode the whole quote. A cross-stitch a friend made me with a quote from Colson Whitehead: "Be Kind, Make Art, Fight the Power." Another cross-stitch from a friend that says "Don't argue with idiots. You're not the f*ckface whisperer." A map of Shaker Heights, which is still hanging up from when I wrote Little Fires Everywhere. On my desk: A glass octopus knickknack, a few seashells, a squishy foam donut, a bowl holding fountain pens, including one I got in Germany when I was 16. My typewriter. Everything in the office has a personal meaning for me, and it makes me happy to be in there, so I can get my writing done!

ButDoYouAvocado Tue 26-Jun-18 21:55:09

If the story of May Ling was in the news today whose side would you be on?

ButDoYouAvocado Tue 26-Jun-18 21:54:27

Is Mia someine you could be friends with?

CelesteNg Tue 26-Jun-18 21:51:21

ClaireTMumsnet

Good evening!

Welcome Celeste Ng! We're delighted that you're able to join us at the Mumsnet Bookclub to talk about Little Fires Everywhere, which we've been reading over the last month.

We've already received some questions so we'll hand over to you.

Could we also ask you the Mumsnet questions that we put to all of the authors who join us:

What was your favourite childhood book?

What was the last book you bought someone as a gift?

And the last book you received?

And finally - can you describe to us the room where you wrote Little Fires Everywhere?

As we're winding down, it's a good time to get to the traditional Mumsnet questions!

I was a total bookworm as a kid--my bookshelves were crammed full, and then another layer of books in FRONT of those! So it's hard to pick just one, but some of the books I read over and over were the Wizard of Oz series, the Narnia books, the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and everything by Roald Dahl. I still have most of my books from childhood, actually, and I'm starting to read them with my son, who's 7. He's already a huge Roald Dahl fan.

The last book I bought someone as a gift--hm, I haven't bought it yet but am planning to get my son the new illustrated version of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, for his birthday soon. We're reading The Chamber of Secrets together right now and he's already eager for the third.

The last book I received--this is embarrassing, but I buy SO many books for myself no one ever dares give me any, because I usually already have it! The last book I bought myself was Notes of a Native Son, by James Baldwin--I couldn't find my copy from college, so I bought a new one.

VanderlyleGeek Tue 26-Jun-18 21:49:08

Re a third Ohio book: I hear the Cincinnati area has its charms. wink

Celama Tue 26-Jun-18 21:49:02

Thanks for such a full answer Celeste - I hadn’t thought about that aspect of having more to prove with a second book; you’ve really set yourself up now for your third!

FernieB Tue 26-Jun-18 21:48:16

Thanks for answering my questions Celeste.

What are you working on now? Can you tell us anything about it? And where do you write?

SallySwann Tue 26-Jun-18 21:45:55

Thank you Celeste for such a lovely novel. The best ones are always the ones you don't want to end and thus was one such. I felt really sorry for Izzy throughout until it was clear that she really did set the fire. Did you imagine her finally catching up with Mia I wonder?

CelesteNg Tue 26-Jun-18 21:45:46

MrsSchadenfreude

Oh yes, that’s true about Switzerland! I have family there and my aunt can’t flush her toilet after 10.00 pm in her apartment block. No car washing on Sundays, or barbecues, or mowing the lawn either. We’re much more chaotic here wink although my block has a notice giving “silent hours” no-one pays much attention!

She... she can't flush her toilet after 10pm? Please don't tell Shaker Heights; I don't want them getting any more ideas!

CelesteNg Tue 26-Jun-18 21:45:05

SallySwann

It is interesting that you partially grew up in Shaker Heights. Is it as "perfect" as you portray and are there plenty of Richardson type families there?

Hi SallySwann! Shaker Heights is definitely not "perfect"--but I think the people who live there believe that it could be a perfect community if everyone just tried hard enough. I find that kind of idealism both admirable and terrifying. It's such a laudable goal, perfection, but taking idealism to extremes can be rather dangerous.

I will say that at almost every single reading I've done--even one in Munich, Germany!--there's been someone in the audience from Shaker Heights or who knows it well. They always tell me that they think I captured the town pretty accurately. And, incidentally, they always tell me they're pretty sure they know the Richardson family. wink

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