Review: Between the World and Me

November 15, 2015 Uncategorized 29 ★★★★★

Review: Between the World and MeTitle: Between the World and Me
Author: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:five-stars

Summary: This was one of the most eye-opening, intellectually engaging books I’ve ever read.

If I’m honest, I’ve been putting off reading this book for ages. I’ve been nervous to pick it up both because I knew it wouldn’t be a “fun” or a light read and because I feel there’s a lot of room for me to put my foot in my mouth reviewing it. However, I’ve heard great things about it and think it’s an important book to read, so I decided to use the push from Nonfiction November and pick this up. To paraphrase the book summary, this is a book written as a letter to the author’s son attempting to answer questions about what it means to be a black man in America through his experiences and thoughtful commentary.

As expected, this was a tough read. It’s a deceptively short book that’s the heaviest thing I’ve read all year. When I wasn’t reading this book, I was thinking about it. It’s the only book I’ve ever written in. Sometimes the language was so beautiful or a sentence felt so revelatory to me that I had to underline it or write my response in the margins with an excessive number of exclamation points. I wanted to re-read it and think about it more even as I was reading it for the first time.

Allison at The Book Wheel wrote in her review about all the emotions this book made her feel and I experienced a similar range of responses – anger, sorrow, helplessness, guilt. Those emotions have stuck with me and left me wondering where to go from here. I know I’m not the author’s intended audience, but I’m deeply appreciative of his book for making me think about issues I should be thinking about already. I feel my words are inadequate to describe this book, so I can only recommend you read it yourself. If you don’t believe me, there’s a review from Rick Riordan on goodreads that explains why this book is so important more eloquently than I ever could.

29 Responses to “Review: Between the World and Me”

    • DoingDewey

      I’m glad! I’m not sure quite how to describe reading this, since it’s far too heavy for the word fun, but it was incredible and challenge and I’m glad I had the experience of reading it.

  1. Heather

    I definitely plan to get to this one soon. I know it will be tough, but important reads are something I prioritize. Thanks for the honesty in your review!

    • DoingDewey

      I can’t believe I didn’t pick this up earlier, given how long I’ve had it on my shelf. I think I need to start prioritizing important reads more than I do right now!

    • DoingDewey

      I read Beloved in high school and I don’t think I understood it very well. I’d like to revisit it or something else of Morrison’s in hopes I’d get more out of it now.

  2. Naomi

    I already knew I would be reading this sometime, but your review just renewed its urgency. Your review is great, and, wow, Riordan’s is too – thanks for the link!

    • DoingDewey

      Thanks Naomi 🙂 I was a little sad I found Riordan’s review before writing mine because I knew I couldn’t write anything as good as his! But I thought it was really fun to read a review by an author I like, especially of a book that wasn’t within the same genre that he writes in.

  3. susan

    Nice thoughtful review Kate. I too have been putting off the title as too heavy but your review of it — makes me want to go for it. thanks

    • DoingDewey

      Thanks Susan! I’d definitely recommend giving it a chance. Even though it was heavy and not precisely a fun read, I enjoyed reading it and thought it was a great experience. I also realized that for the review, I could just talk about how it made me feel and what I thought of it as a book, without saying more than I was comfortable about the content.

    • DoingDewey

      I’d definitely try to convince yourself to pick it up soon. It is actually a pretty short read, so even though it was a tough read, it wasn’t too hard to fit it in during the times I was up to something challenging. And it was definitely worth it 🙂

  4. Megan

    This was beautifully written and thought-provoking book. I listened to the audio version, read by the author, and it was phenomenal. I found myself sitting in my parked car because I couldn’t stop listening.

    • DoingDewey

      I thought it was incredible too. I’d really like to revisit it as an audiobook, because I’m sure it would be even better read by the author.

  5. Marisa @ The Daily Dosage

    I don’t even know if I can do a decent review. It took me longer to read this short book than some 500 page books I’ve read over the years. I love how you said “It’s a deceptively short book that’s the heaviest thing I’ve read all year.”

    • DoingDewey

      It definitely took me longer to read than most books this length would! I felt as though I really had to be able to devote my full attention to it in order to read it and I read more slowly because it required so much thought.

  6. Shay

    I keep a little reading notebook where I write down interesting quotes and my thoughts on a book, and I swear I copied down like 10% of this one.

  7. Allison @ The Book Wheel

    Oh, so many emotions! This book still punches me in the gut every time I think about it and it’s one of those “you must read this to be a human being” books that I recommend to everyone. I’m so glad you read it.

    • DoingDewey

      Exactly! It’s one I’d recommend anyone read too. It’s one of the very few books I’ve finished and immediately wanted to re-read.

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