Shared Reading


The Walker College of Business Shared Reading Initiative brings students, faculty and staff together to read and discuss a work on social and/or environmental justice. Ideally, the selected work will broaden student perspectives, open up important conversations and highlight ways business can help achieve the  UN Sustainable Development Goals. The shared reading book is selected by the office of Global and Civic Engagement, with input from the Inclusive Excellence Liaisons and/or the Sustainability Steering Committee.


Faculty/Staff Reading

Faculty and staff read the selected book over the summer. Faculty are encouraged to incorporate the book into their courses for the following academic year. 

Student Reading

The following academic year, business students read the selected book and attend a book discussion, either as part of their academic courses or as an optional personal enrichment activity.

2021-22 Book Selection


Coates, Ta-Nehisi. Between the World and Me. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2015.

Book Access

Walker College of Business faculty, staff and students can sign-up to receive a free copy of the book. Contact Meredith Pipes at to request a copy.  

Limited access to e-book and audio formats and to hardback editions are available through the Appalachian State University Belk Library.

The Between the World and Me documentary, based on the book, is available to watch through the Appalachian State University Belk Library.

Shared Reading Events

Join the conversation! 

Spring Shared Reading Book Discussion - April 12, 2022, 4-5:30 pm, 201A Price Lake Room(PSU) Venue Change!

Registration Link 

Add to Google Calendar

In a uniquely formatted book discussion, Lamont Sellers, director of intercultural student affairs at Appalachian State University, will lead a conversation on the book "Between the World and Me." Written by Ta-Nehisi Coates as a letter to his teenage son, the book is a powerful exploration of what it means to be Black in the US. The conversation is geared toward students who have participated in the Shared Reading Initiative, but is open to all interested students, faculty and staff.

Lamont Sellers, Director of Intercultural Student Affairs


Robert Carlisle, Director of Student-Athlete Development
Dontrell Parson, Director of Graduate Admissions
Jawoin Williams, Coordinator, University Housing



Interested but want to find out more? Contact Meredith Church Pipes at

Book Summary

In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?

Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.