Between the World and Me

Shared Reading Selection
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Between the World and Me
Ta-Nehisi Coates
Book cover

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.

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.


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


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

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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

Past Event Recordings