Slate Discusses Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi CoatesAdd this to your podcast playlist. Slate‘s Audio Book Club convenes this month to discuss Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me (RH/Spiegel & Grau; OverDrive Sample).

Written as letter to his teenage son about racism in America, it continues to draw attention and debate. One of the ten selections on this year’s NBA Nonfiction longlist, it is also once again holding the #1 spot on the NYT Hardcover Nonfiction Best Sellers list (it hit the list at #1 during its first week on sale and stayed there for three weeks before dipping to the #2 spot for five weeks).

Jamelle Bouie (Slate’s chief political correspondent), Meghan O’Rourke (Slate’s cultural critic), and Katy Waldman (Slate’s “Words” correspondent) engage in a conversation on what they all agree is a searing and demanding experience that forces readers to struggle with Coates’s multiple indictments.

Describing the book as a mix of memoir, polemic, and literary essay that evokes Richard Wright and James Baldwin, the three panelists struggle themselves to come to grips with Coates’s essential message, his slippery take on hope and the iffy possibility for justice.

They praise the book’s lyrical, literary power, agree that it is forcefully animated and rigorously demanding, and call it a book without answers that they each recommend to readers.

The Audio Book Club will take on Andy Weir’s The Martian (RH/Crown) in October. NASA is a fan, claiming the book has already “saved the entire the entire space program.” It is currently #1 on the NYT Paperback Trade Fiction Best Sellers list after 46 weeks.

The film version debuts Oct. 2, starring Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain.

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