Reading Together Blog


“Powerful story that touches your heart, mind and soul.”

“Powerful and inspiring.”

“Powerful, well written.”

“So much in it. Powerful on many levels.”


These are five reader responses to Strength in What Remains. As I read through the first couple dozen surveys, I couldn't help but notice that “powerful” was the most frequent word used to describe the book.

A powerful book has great effect. The story or the way it’s told may cause us to remember it for a long time. It may create awareness, challenge assumptions increase knowledge, or strengthen conviction. And it may prick any number of human emotions. The responses to a powerful book are as unique as we are.

What makes a book powerful to you?


Tracy Kidder

It Has to Be True

At one time or another, we’ve all heard stories so amazing they make us say, “It has to be true. You can’t make that up.”

Some events and situations simply exceed our imagination because they fall outside what we have come to consider everyday possibilities.

Strength in What Remains is such a story. It is a biography that, at times, reads with the breathless pace of an adventure novel. At other times, the book causes us to reflect, not only on the conditions of Deogratias’ life and the people encountered in his remarkable journey, but on how we might respond in similar situations.

And we have Tracy Kidder to thank for that. In the hands of another writer, this true story might not be as believable, or even as bearable to read. It might have been preachy or maudlin or sentimental. It’s none of those things. In Kidder’s hands, Deo’s story inspires us.

In the months since Strength in What Remains was selected for Reading Together’s 2011 season, our committee of volunteers has been crafting a schedule of events to complement the book.  Coming soon will be a complete list of discussions and programs taking place from February to May. Mark your calendar for March 10 – that’s when author Tracy Kidder will visit Kalamazoo.

In the meantime, pick up your copy at a bookstore or library. Tell us what you think about the book by completing an online survey.


Strength in What Remains

Get Involved

We’ll be announcing the 2011 Reading Together title very soon. In the meantime, we’re looking to expand our network of community members.

Do you belong to one of these groups:

— high school students and teachers
— college and university faculty, staff, and students
— service clubs and community groups
— book clubs

If you’d like to be involved with next year’s Reading Together, send us an email.


Reading Together

The Program

Each year following book selection, a community steering committee develops a wide variety of programs, including films, concerts, exhibits, expert presentations, author visits, and more. Five weeks of events culminate with a visit by the Reading Together author during National Library Week.


One Book, One Community

What if the entire community read the same book at the same time? Reading Together invites people of all ages, from all walks of life, to read and then discuss important issues raised by a single book. Thousands of Kalamazoo County residents have participated in Reading Together.