Monday, August 3, 2015

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates


I am highly recommending Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi not so that you can agree or disagree with him, but for you to read and try to understand his perspective of growing up as a Black man in America. All of our stories are important....

I must confess that I totally admire Coates for being what I call a “self-educated man.” He grew up in a house where he was exposed to books and then he later made the journey to Howard University to use their extensive library and the culture that the students brought to the University to educate himself. I admire that he took the time to read and study things that may or may not have been taught in his classes and used the wide array of cultures within the African American community in order to learn to think critically and to leave Howard without a degree but with a great education.

Coates can write, and he strings words together in a way that made this short book read like poetry at times: “In this way racism is rendered as the innocent daughter of Mother Nature, and one is left to deplore the Middle Passage or the Trail of Tears the way one deplores an earthquake, a tornado, or any other phenomenon that can be cast as beyond the handiwork of men.” Powerful right??

This book was painful to read at times such as when he talks about growing up in Baltimore, systematic racism, schools that are not liberating children, but on the other hand this book was also liberating when he states that “But you cannot arrange your life around them and the small chance of the Dreamers coming into consciousness. Our moment is too brief. Our bodies are too precious. And you are here now, and you must live - and there is so much out there to live for, not just in someone else’s country, but in your own home. The warmth of dark energies that drew me to The Mecca, that drew out Prince Jones, the warmth of our particular world, is beautiful, no matter how brief and breakable.”

I read this book twice, and it gave me so many things to think about such as race as a social construct, the purpose of school, the importance of traveling abroad, how vulnerable our bodies can be, how awful it must feel to be a man who can not provide for his family, a father’s ability to show love to his son, the power of questioning and on and on and on...

Look for blog posts where I will write about the many topics that I read about in this short book; I could write for months about this particular book.

Right now, this country is having very courageous conversations on Between the World and Me, so please read this book so that you can at least follow the conversations...

Happy Monday!

Next, I’ll be reading The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs.






6 comments:

Darkowaa said...

Yes, yes! I need to purchase this book. Have you read his 1st book, 'The Beautiful Struggle' ? I need them both! I've been watching and listening to interviews with Coates and I admire his bravery, honesty and outspokenness. I think we need more figures/writers like him in the community, especially now. Good review, it further affirms that I need to buy it soon :)

Jacqueline said...

Darkowaa, yes you must purchased this book. I didn’t know anything about his first book, but I downloaded it after I read your comment and will read it soon. I am a true fan of Coates, and yes we MUST tell our stories... They are needed now more than ever.

Trina Williams said...

Jackie, this post about the book really spoke volumes to me because you words have caused me to question, evaluate, and want to read even more. In addition to many other things I love about the book, the poetic style Coates uses seemed to bypass any logical response within but quickly traveled to my soul/heart, which impacted me at a faster rate than if it were written in prose. The book has set me on a course of self-discovery, which means I spend even more time in the library. LOL

I can't wait to read your other posts about this book and look forward to seeing how you reacted to the reading of Jeff Hobbs' book.

Jacqueline said...

Trinia, you want to read more??? You may need to put a bed in the library... But, for real, Coates’ writing style does add to the richness of the text. This book has also made me think about when I became Black conscious etc... There will be lots of more blogs as I try to make sense of this great book.

Check back for the post of Hobbs’ book soon.

Thanks for stopping by The Big Sea.

Trina Williams said...

Yep! I think the people at the library know me as if I were a member of their own family. LoL

Graham Hodges said...

There is much sadness to this book particularly because Coates comes from a great literary family and has succeeded so well in this world. He does cite many figures in black culture as succor from the storm, but overall his message that many whites in America are natural born killers of black people indicates that we are headed for another "nadir" period.

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