2017 Common Reading Announced

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates is NC State’s 2017 Common Reading Program selection.

Copies of Between the World and Me, chosen by the students, faculty and staff comprising the Common Reading Selection Committee, will be distributed to all new first-year students during New Student Orientation prior to the fall semester. Between the World and Me will also be the focus of Convocation on Monday, August 14, 2017 at Reynolds Coliseum to welcome the Class of 2021.

Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me confronts the social construction of race and the role it has played in our nation’s past and present, while seamlessly interweaving a personal narrative that demonstrates how our collective history as a country can have personal implications for individuals in our society. Framed as a letter from father to son, Between the World and Me lays bare the struggle of an individual to understand his lived experiences in the context of systemic inequalities, most notably racial and social class inequities, which have not been well-addressed in our society. A personal story of awakening through introspection and experience, Between the World and Me underscores the power of a collegiate environment to empower and challenge the exploration of one’s own identities and values.

According to Penguin Random House Publishing, “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.”

Darby Orcutt, Chair of the 2017 Common Reading Selection Committee, noted that “Coates’s intimate working out of his own identity within the larger, and often invisible, forces and frameworks of American culture and history will hopefully inspire students who are themselves at a point in their lives of questioning and crafting their own sense of who they are. At a larger level too, this book should foster important conversations across subjects and disciplines on very timely issues, encouraging and assisting us as a campus community to grow in our understanding of ourselves and others.”

“Reading Between the World and Me will challenge our campus community to open their minds and broaden their understanding of others’ experiences and views,” said Provost Warwick Arden. “This book reflects NC State’s values of integrity in the pursuit of knowledge, respect for cultural diversity, and freedom of thought and expression.”

In praising Between the World and Me, noted writer Toni Morrison wrote, “I’ve been wondering who might fill the intellectual void that plagued me after James Baldwin died. Clearly it is Ta-Nehisi Coates. The language of Between the World and Me, like Coates’s journey, is visceral, eloquent, and beautifully redemptive. And its examination of the hazards and hopes of black male life is as profound as it is revelatory. This is required reading.”

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Between the World and Me, a finalist for the National Book Award. A MacArthur “Genius Grant” fellow, Coates has received the National Magazine Award, the Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism, and the George Polk Award for his Atlantic cover story “The Case for Reparations.” Coates is also the writer of the Black Panther comic book series for Marvel and recently completed a highly touted interview with former President Barack Obama.

The Common Reading Engagement Committee invites members of the NC State community and beyond to become engaged by:

  • joining us for an initial meeting on Wednesday, March 15 at 11:00am in Talley Student Union, room 3223,
  • incorporating the text into fall and spring semester courses (to request a review copy of the text, please visit: go.ncsu.edu/crpreviewcopy),
  • submitting ideas on other active engagement opportunities via the Common Reading email at common-reading@ncsu.edu, and
  • engaging the conversation via social media using the hashtag #onepackonebook.

Information about how to engage with Between the World and Me and the Common Reading Program (updated in the near future), as well as submitting nominations for future years can be found by visiting https://newstudents.dasa.ncsu.edu/commonreading/.