Between the World and Me

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  • About the Book:

    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.

    About Michelle Parker:

    Michelle Parker got her start as a ski racer at her home resort of Squaw Valley, California. By age 15, she realised her passion was freeskiing, not racing. She competed in slopestyle and halfpipe at the US Open and X Games for a few years, but eventually she decided to switch gears from the park to big mountain terrain.

    She signed up for a mountain guide training program in Haines, Alaska and started taking her tricks to the backcountry. Michelle, now one of the ski industry’s most versatile female skiers, has appeared in over a dozen ski films and in 2013, she won Best Female Performance at the Powder Video Awards and at the International Freeski Film Festival for her segment in Matchstick Productions’ Superheroes of Stoke.

    “It’s a goal of mine to feel confident and comfortable in big mountain terrain,” she says. “I’m excited to continue to broaden my athletic ability in skiing and become even more well-rounded.” Michelle is now giving back to the ski industry that’s given her so much: she’s on the board of the High Fives Foundation, which helps injured athletes and she helped launched a women’s avalanche safety clinic.

    Why Michelle Chose This Book:

    In May of 2020, I picked up quite a few books to gain a different perspective on living in the United States. Ta-Nehisi Coates vividly paints a picture of living in America as a black man by writing a letter to his teenage son which makes up the pages of Between The World and Me. He explains to his son the "racist violence that has been woven into American culture"which gives the reader the opportunity to understand and learn about the realities of being Black in America.

    This first hand account is beautifully written and certainly helped me to gain a new perspective on my path to educating myself on what we can do, individually and as a community, to become a better society in the fight for equality and justice.

    After reading Between The World And Me, I read Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, another page turning book from the perspective of a black immigrant. Both books are highly recommended.