Monday, January 4, 2016

Between the World and Me; Ta-Nehisi Coates

Between the World and Me; Ta-Nehisi Coates
Spiegel & Grau - 2015

This is one of those books that I might have missed had it not been for several glowing reviews I came across recently.  Between the World and Me is one those rare books that is actually quite short but an extremely powerful book.

A memoir of sorts, written in the form of a series of letters by a father to his teenaged son, the author writes about his own life growing up as a black boy in a tough area of Baltimore. He later describes his experiences at Howard University in Washington, DC, referred to as "the Mecca", and then continuing on to present day.

Coates speaks of what it means to grow up living inside a black body. He speaks of the racial inequality in the US, which time and time again has resulted in the often unnecessary use of deadly force on the black man.  There is mention of many hot button deadly force cases that have been all over the news in the last several years, as well as the death of a personal acquaintance from Howard University.   The author touches on the past from days of slavery and segregation and the inequality upon Blacks through the years.

The story is very personal and though he doesn't answer the questions or issues raised, he certainly has opened the door for serious discussions on a variety of race issues including just how little has changed in the ways many black men are treated in this country.  It's a tough read at times, but, an important one.  Although there are no magic answers in this book, it seems like an excellent book to  introduced in high school curriculums. 


4.5/5 stars
(library book)

23 comments:

  1. I'm looking forward to this one - it sounds so good.

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    1. I sat down with this one and finished it 3 hours later. I didn't want to put it down.

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  2. One of my favorites from 2015! I definitely expect it to be on high school reading lists before this year is over.

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  3. This book sounds fascinating. I just added it to my "to read" list. Thanks for the great review!

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    1. I do hope it gets the wide readership that it deserves.

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  4. I've not heard of this author but this sounds like a good read. Great review, Diane!

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    1. Thanks Melody; it's getting lots of buzz for sure. Important material.

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  5. I don't normally go for non-fic, but so many bloggers and marketers have raved about this one. I'm really hoping to give it a try this year; maybe it will sway my dislike for non-fic.

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    1. Oh Kathy, I hope u do. I read mostly fiction but, I do love good memoirs or other NF with a message.

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  6. I've been seeing this one on a lot of favorites lists and really looking forward to reading it! Sounds like a powerful book.

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  7. I need to read this book but I am a little afraid. I want our world to be accepting of my Haitian grandson. The wish I have for him is that rascism will not hurt him. I don't want to tell him he must be doubly, carefully respectful of authority. He must be more careful of the way he dresses than other kids. Books like this one give you a walk in the shoes of people other than ourselves.

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    1. It's so sad really that young black me are treated so differently than white men (even the crazy white men don't face the same scrutiny) as black men. I hope your grandson can avoid the cruelty of the world.

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  8. I'm looking forward to reading this book this year. I've heard a couple of good interviews with the author and, like you, have read several very good reviews.

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  9. Thanks for the commentary on this book.

    There is a lot of buzz about it in both literary as well as social justice circles.

    I have been thinking of reading it and I likely will in the coming year.

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    1. I'll be curious to hear your thoughts down the road Brian.

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  10. I hope I finally get to this one sometime this month. I read a few pages of it and loved it.

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  11. Just got this on audio and am anxious to begin! I may have to have the book in hand, as well. I suspect there will be a lot of thought-provoking passages to mark.

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  12. I'm making my book club read this one this year - because suburban white ladies need to have their eyes opened!

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