Williams Reads

Williams Reads

Williams Reads is a common reading experience—a campus-wide book club that helps the community deepen and celebrate our understanding of diversity. Each year, it is one of the earliest ways connections are forged among Williams students, staff, faculty, and the surrounding community. First-year students have already read this year’s Williams Reads book, Crescent, a novel by Diana Abu-Jaber. Programming focused on the book continues throughout the fall and early spring semester, with author Abu-Jaber visiting campus on September 24.

Crescent is about Sirine, a chef at a Lebanese restaurant in Los Angeles, and her relationship with food, her developing love affair with an Arabic literature professor, and her identity as an Arab American. “There are a lot of immigration issues in the book,” explains history professor and Williams Reads committee co-chair Leslie Brown. “Issues about why people leave the places they leave, and how they end up in the places they do.” Brown explains the committee chose this book in order to highlight those themes in what she sees as incoming students’ first formal opportunity to engage with one another on an intellectually substantive level.

Williams Reads events throughout the year include an Arab-American themed film festival, a WCMA at Night event, an all-campus dinner, and college-wide discussions of the book during Claiming Williams, early in the spring semester. Because of the central role food plays in the novel, there will be Middle Eastern food—some of it prepared from the recipes in the book—at every Williams Reads event.

“I think this is going to be the best yet of Williams Reads,” Brown says. “There are so many interconnections, so many ways we can link to the book.”

Follow this link for more information about Williams Reads and related events.