Cover courtesy of Penguin Random House

“I recently finished reading ‘Symphony for the City of the Dead’ by M.T. Anderson and winner of several awards. This book was chosen by my book club and was based on the true story of Soviet-Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich, who used his musical talents to bring hope to the people of his country during the Nazi invasion of Leningrad in World War II. Reading this book during the pandemic brought about so many emotions that were unexpected as I compared our daily uncertainties from COVID-19 to those of the Soviet citizens facing their own distress and horrors during World War II. I found myself feeling a fear that I had never identified before as well as blessings for things I had always taken for granted. This well-researched book made me more willing to reach out and help others just as Shostakovich and his friends did at a time when everyone needed to dig deep to find their faith and to have courage.

“As the daughter of a World War II veteran, I have examined many aspects of the war and read first-hand accounts of my father’s personal journey which I compiled in a memoir (‘From Fledgling to Flyer’). Both of these stories have reminded me that optimism and persistence are essential ingredients for getting through difficult times. — MIMI GOUGH, Portland

Mainers, please email to tell us about the book on your bedside table right now. In a few sentences, describe the book and be sure to tell us what drew you to it as the pandemic and its ripple effects recede in Maine. Was it a need to escape, a need to dig deeper? Something else? Send your pick to [email protected], and we may use it as a future Bedside Table.


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