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review 2017-07-10 04:44
Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder
Strength in What Remains: A Journey of Remembrance and Forgiveness - Tracy Kidder

This is a readable but mediocre book that gets a lot of praise because it’s about an impressive person and a tragic topic. Deogratias grew up in rural Burundi with few advantages, but made it to medical school, until he got caught up in the genocide in Rwanda and Burundi in 1993. A friend helped him flee to New York City, where despite a job delivering groceries he found himself homeless at first, until making friends who helped him get back on his feet. He then went to college and medical school in the U.S., and returned to Burundi to set up clinics for people with no access to health care.

 

This book reminds me of Ashley’s War, in that both are about people and subjects that absolutely deserve a book, but their authors sell them short. Kidder’s writing feels superficial throughout. From early on I had the impression that he was drawn to Deo but never really understood him (or perhaps Deo wasn’t willing or able to open up to the extent an author would need to write a biography that appears to be based mostly on his own disclosures), and so was able to relate the facts but only on the surface level. This becomes even more apparent in the second half of the book, when Kidder accompanies Deo on one of his trips back to Burundi. They visit numerous memorials and sites from Deo’s past, and Kidder describes how Deo reacts, but in the end we get more of Kidder’s feelings about the trip than Deo’s.

 

Though this is primarily a biography, we do get some information about the genocide in Rwanda and Burundi as well, along with a brief overview of the countries’ history. Though, again, this feels superficial, it’s an adequate starting point and is interesting for a reader with relatively little knowledge of the area. Especially interesting is Deo’s theory that the genocide was made possible in large part by structural violence – that when everyday life is full of fatal illness and injury, hunger, violence at home and at school, and little opportunity to improve one’s lot in life, people perceive the value of their own lives as low and therefore value others’ even less. Also interesting is the fact that, although westerners reading about the genocide assume Hutu and Tutsi are clearly definable ethnic groups, the reality seems to be anything but; these are apparently social groups more than anything else, and it appears Deo isn’t alone in being unable to tell the difference.

 

At any rate, this is a very readable book, not a bad choice for those who are interested in the topic. (It’s also worth pointing out, for those unsure about whether they can handle a book about genocide, that only one 35-page chapter is all about that; most of the book is about Deo’s life before and after, and about Kidder spending time with Deo and the people who helped him in New York.) But I’m underwhelmed by Kidder’s writing and likely won’t recommend this to others.

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review 2017-05-01 00:00
Death's End (Remembrance of Earth's Past)
Death's End (Remembrance of Earth's Past) - Cixin Liu All kinds of weird, all kinds of wonderful.
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review 2017-04-16 00:00
Doctor Who: Remembrance of the Daleks & Prisoner of the Daleks (Barnes and Noble Collectible Editions)
Doctor Who: Remembrance of the Daleks & ... Doctor Who: Remembrance of the Daleks & Prisoner of the Daleks (Barnes and Noble Collectible Editions) - Ben Aaronovitch,Trevor Baxendale Interesting and entertaining stories.
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review 2017-03-09 18:29
Remembrance (Heart Lines #1) by Heather Hildenbrand
Remembrance: (New Adult Paranormal Romance) (Heart Lines Series Book 1) - Heather Hildenbrand

Remembrance by Heather Hildenbrand is a unique and entertaining start to the Heart Lines series.  Two years before the story began; Samantha Knight underwent a trauma that caused her to lose her memory.  She is no longer the outgoing individual she used to be.  Instead, she is paranoid and scared.  Supernatural hunter, Alex Channing, is slowly dying after being bitten by a werewolf.  His sole hope is for a cure that only Samantha could give him, if she could remember.  This contemporary PNR takes place in California.  It is suitable for New Adults.

 

Heather Hildenbrand did a wonderful job writing this book.  The character development was skillfully crafted.  I could sense Sam’s frustration at not remembering what happened to her.  You felt her confusion.  She discovers significant things about herself and what transpired to her throughout the story.  Alex has a secret and is harboring a lot of guilt.  He is a worthy hero who is brave, determined, and protective.  I enjoyed both main characters; they are multi-dimensional and complex. 

 

REMEMBRANCE was mysterious and full of twists.  The plot was well-executed.  REMEMBRANCE moves quickly and is thought-provoking.  There are occurrences in the story that are eye-opening.  The ending left me anxiously awaiting the next book from the series.  I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.

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review 2017-02-25 15:51
Review: Death's End (Remembrance of Earth's Past Book 3 of 3)
Death's End (Remembrance of Earth's Past) - Cixin Liu,Ken Liu

This was the final book in the Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy that began with The Three-Body Problem.  Reading the trilogy was an interesting and mostly fun experience.  

 

The story didn’t at all go where I had expected based on the end of the second book.  I think, if I’d let things simmer in my head for a day or two before jumping into the third book, my natural “yeah, but what happens when…” thoughts would surely have led me to guess one of the main catalytic events and better predict some aspects of the story.  I’m glad I didn’t let it sit, though.  It was more fun to just stay on the ride and let the rollercoaster jostle me around and surprise me.

 

For me, this book was the fastest-paced out of the three and it had some of the coolest ideas to read about.  One thing that contributed to its faster pace was the beginning.  The first two books took a few pages to hook my attention, but this one sucked me in immediately because it confused me.  The story itself made sense but, at first, I had absolutely no idea how it related to the trilogy.  Trying to guess how it would all tie in kept me fully engaged.  There were a few slow spots here and there in the middle but, for the most part, the various twists and turns in the story held my interest well. 

 

I would caution that this trilogy doesn’t wrap everything up with a neat bow and a happily-ever-after ending.  In a story where I become really invested in the characters, this kind of an ending would be more bothersome to me.  This story, on the other hand, is much more about the ideas and the plot.  Because of that, I was content with the ending and thought it was very interesting.  I’m glad this series was translated to English and that I had the opportunity to enjoy it.

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