“Sometimes you put off reading a book you’ve been wanting to read because you think it might just be too hard to deal with right now. And, by hard, I mean sad. ‘Crying in H Mart’ has been on my reading list since I first read the article in the New Yorker that spawned the book. The author, Michelle Zauner, is best known as the singer, songwriter and guitarist of Japanese Breakfast. I got to see her with my (then) 11-year-old in 2017 at the State Theatre when she opened for another band, and was instantly obsessed with her dreamy, moody music. Her memoir, about caring for her mother after her cancer diagnosis came out, in 2021. The book feels so intimate and immersive and – like her music – charged with energy. I guess it makes perfect sense that someone who can tell a story via lyrics and music might also turn out to be a good writer.

“It’s a story that deals with mothers and daughters, the way generations challenge each other, and how we can struggle with our heritage and identity. One of the best parts is the discussion of food, and how it can express feelings we have and, sometimes, substitute for the words we can’t say. As the child of immigrants, who is myself taking care of my mother in her last chapter, I thought this might be too much. Instead, I found sustenance in its honesty. Of course, I cried. But, it wasn’t too much. It really was just perfect.” —STELLA HERNANDEZ, Portland

Mainers, please email to tell us about the book on your bedside table right now. In a paragraph or two, describe the book and be sure to tell us what drew you to it. We want to hear what you are reading and why. Send your selection to pgrodinsky@pressherald.com, and we may use it as a future Bedside Table.

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