Common Book

About the Common Book

Each year, the Common Book brings students, staff, and faculty together to read and discuss a selected text with the goal of enriching our campus and community's engagement and awareness of diversity and equity. The common book for Fall 2017-Spring 2018 is Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between the World and Me, a New York Times bestseller.

"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 reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?”

Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’ attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares 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."

Enter the NHCC Common Book Competitions:

  • Connect with your community
  • Earn honors credit
  • Add to your resume
  • Win cash prizes
    • $100 for 1st Place
    • $50 for 2nd Place
    • $25 for 3rd Place

Contest Categories and Details

Spoken Word

Argumentative Speech

Important Dates

Submissions Due: April 2, 2018
Finalists Notified: April 4, 2018
Event Date: April 11, 2018 in the Black Box Theatre (CC242)

  • Spoken Word Competition: 12:30 p.m. - 2 p.m.
  • Argumentative Speechs: 2:30 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Helpful Information

For more information about these contests--including judges ballots, tips for creating an entry, and instructions for entering the contest--you should enroll in the D2L website for the competitions.

Attend Common Book Club

You are invited to Common Book Club discussion from 2 p.m. - 3 p.m. on Wednesdays in CLA 118. During these sessions we read aloud and discuss Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between the World and Me. This is a great way to connect with your community and to come up with ideas for entering one (or both) of the Common Book Contests.

One of the beautiful things about this book is that you can jump into it at any point and there's a multitude of insights and ideas to explore. Thus, it's okay if you haven't read it before or if you haven't attended previous discussions. There's no need to prepare, and you don't even need a copy of the text. If you can only come for part of the session, that's fine too.

Publish Your Writing in Realities

Realities is a non-fiction collection of writings that are narratives of significant life-encounters crossing cultural boundaries. As such, the publication accepts for consideration accounts from NHCC students from International and United States cultures. It’s published once a year in the spring semester. Writers of all levels are encouraged to participate.

This year Realities is dedicating a section of their publication to this year’s Common Book. Please submit your own personal letter inspired by Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me. NHCC students who submit a letter to Realities will be entered in a drawing to win a $25 gift card to the bookstore, a NHCC tee-shirt, a lanyard, and more.

Contact Information

Kaelie Farrah
English Faculty & Common Book Coordinator

Kelly Lundquist
English Faculty