‘The Morning They Came for Us: Dispatches from Syria” by Janine di Giovanni

My rating: 4 stars

Janine di Giovanni has covered many wars throughout her career, and her experience writing about such a complicated subject is noticeable in The Morning They came for Us: Dispatches from Syria. This is a non-fiction book specifically about the brutality of the civil war that is tearing Syria apart. But, as she remembers the readers, this is a war that shares many characteristics with other armed conflicts, like the one that took place in the former Yugoslavia.

Throughout the book we are presented with stories from the places the author went to in Syria and snippets from conversations she had with its inhabitants, mixed with quite important general information about the civil war. There are various mentions of sexual violence being used as a war tactic to cause fear in the population, of cases of torture of opposition members by the officers loyal to the Assad regime, of how children suffer immensely during the war, both physically and psychologically, and of the divisions between the different ethnicities and religions.

At first, I thought that the book should have featured right at the beginning a chapter dedicated to the inception of the war, how it all started with peaceful demonstrations (slogans, marching, chanting), which then gained a more violent nature. Such information is presented throughout the book connected with people’s stories, though, and that ends up working quite well, at least for someone who is already familiar with what happened in Syria through the news. Continue reading

Bookish Resolutions for 2017

2017 is here and I have established a few goals I would like to achieve this year both regarding my reading habits and this blog.

  • I will try to read graphic novels again. I have never been much of a fan, not even when I was a child, since having to read the text on the speech balloons annoyed me. However, there are graphic novels so beautifully illustrated that I am ready to give them another chance.
  • I want to read more non-fiction, because this is something I almost haven’t done since I finished my studies. Last year I read one book that was non-fiction, but unintentionally so, as I thought it to be a fictional story when I bought it. This year I’m even considering to take part in non-fiction November.
  • There aren’t many short story collections among my read books and I will endeavour to change that. I am currently reading Dubliners by James Joyce and will definitely read more short stories this year.
  • I have never established a goal regarding the number of books I wanted to read during the year. But in 2017 I thought about challenging myself and try to read 25 books. This may seem a small number of books for many, but for me it would be the highest number of books I would have managed to read in a year.
  • Finally, I will try to publish twice a week on this blog – on Tuesdays and Fridays – like I managed to do last week.

What are your resolutions for 2017? Tell me in the comments!