Between the World and Me

2 of 7
Between the World and Me
176 pages; Spiegel & Grau

The winner you may never have heard of—but need to read

Ta-Nehisi Coates' piercing contemplation of race in America, winner of the National Book Award in nonfiction, starts out from a place of righteous fury and never lets up. "Last Sunday the host of a popular news show asked what it meant to lose my body," he begins, sparking a discussion on the many ways black men and women have been treated cheaply. Coates is a rigorous student of America's long history of racism, from slavery to lynching to redlining. ("In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body—it is heritage.") But Coates keeps you turning the pages because he's so willing to get intimate and personal about the subject, never more so than when he describes the death of a close friend who was killed by a police officer who mistook him for a criminal. His book is a brutal and poignant message about how far we have yet to go to achieve equality.
— Mark Athitakis