Gustavus Adolphus College has selected Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates as the 2016-2017 Reading in Common book. Now in its 17th year at Gustavus, the Reading in Common program selects a book that is read by all members of the incoming first-year class over the summer before meeting with faculty members and student orientation leaders to discuss it during move-in weekend and New Student Orientation.
Between the World and Me pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son. Coates offers a powerful framework for understanding our nation’s complicated history of race relations, prejudice, and the continuing implications of the slave trade, Jim Crow laws, and economic inequality faced by people of color.
The book is Coates’s attempt to address these questions in the form of a letter to his adolescent son. He 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 that took place from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, and from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers who lost their children to police violence and gang activity. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reporting, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts the present, and offers a transcendent vision for the path ahead.
Between the World and Me is a #1 New York Times bestseller, winner of the National Book Award, finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and was named one of the 10 best books of the year by The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, and other notable publications. Coates is described by The New York Observer as “the single best writer on the subject of race in the United States” and Toni Morrison considers Between the World and Me to be “required reading.”
The Gustavus Reading in Common Committee will continue to design opportunities for the Gustavus community and the incoming class of 2020 to engage in discussion and reflection on the book and the topics of race, tolerance, and equality throughout the 2016-2017 academic year. Books for the Reading in Common program are chosen based on their literary quality, reading manageability and interdisciplinary nature. More information about the College’s Reading in Common program is available online.
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin