Reading Challenge 2020: June

Lately, I’m having a harder time keeping track of what day it is, let alone what the date is. It hit me today that tomorrow is the last day of July (what?) and therefore I NEEDED to get this post written today so I can share my monthly wrap-ups tomorrow.

June Challenge: “Re-read a book you read in school”

Book: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Rundown: This book is a letter from Coates to his adolescent son, in which he weaves stories from his own journey through life with his responses to big questions that revolve around what it is like to inhabit a Black body in the United States. He shares his experiences growing up, going to “The Mecca” of Howard University, and some of his experiences of adulthood. All throughout, the question of “What does it mean to be Black?” runs throughout, and he addresses racism, inequalities, and the “plunder” (his word) of the Black body.

“The entire narrative of this country argues against the truth of who you are.” –Ta-Nehisi Coates

Between the World and Me

My thoughts: When I first saw the reading challenge prompt for June, I knew immediately that this was the book I was going to choose. I read it in my grad school program and I still maintain that reading this book was one of the few aspects of my program that mattered (besides student teaching). As Toni Morrison says, on the bottom of the cover, “This is required reading.” This is required reading ESPECIALLY if you are white (or, as Coates says, if you think you are white). It is challenging, (in a “good” way—if you want to do the work you have to be ready to be challenged) eye-opening, and heart-breaking. I had many moments of confusion, anger, frustration, and anguish. It showed me how much work there is to do, and gave me more understanding of the part I play, and how I can do better. Coates is an excellent storyteller and shares his reality, his knowledge, and his stories eloquently and succinctly.

Recommendation: Listen to Ms. Morrison: this is required reading. I recommend having a physical copy of this book (this will not be the only time I reread this) but if you can, also listen to this as an audiobook. Coates narrates it, and as I’ve said before, there is something immensely powerful about listening to the author sharing their work.

Tomorrow, I’m going to be going crazy and posting TWICE. Hopefully haha. Keep reading! 🙂

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