Reading Together Blog

Appreciating Kidder

About fifty dedicated readers braved the cold to attend the first Reading Together program of 2011, “Appreciating Kidder”.

Bill Combs, WMU professor emeritus of English, examined all nine of Kidder’s books with particular emphasis on Strength in What Remains. He described them as narrative nonfiction - a true story written in a style more closely associated with fiction with plot structure and character development to make the story as compelling as possible. That’s a good description of Kidder’s style.

I’m just about through rereading Strength in What Remains. I don’t often reread books, but I want to be ready for all the programs and events and have the book clearly in mind. I’m now inspired to read as many of his other books as possible before his visit here on March 10.

Reading Together 2011 is off to a strong start!


Photo: Kevin King


Reading Together 2011


“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