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The Winter of Mixed Reads: Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

 

When I first read Michelle Zauner’s New Yorker essay “Crying in H Mart,” about dealing with the loss of her mother, I couldn’t get the cover of her 2016 debut album, Psychopomp, out of my head. It’s a candid shot of two women, the outline of a roof behind them against the backdrop of a dream-bright blue sky. The woman on the left, Zauner’s mother, is young, dressed in stylish 80s office casual, and frozen in a gesture of reaching out at the camera. It’s hard to tell if she’s smiling, though the woman next to her is laughing. It’s a visualization of Japanese Breakfast’s esthetic: sonically reaching towards the past, but with lyrics full of yearning.  

History is a Story

At this point most readers don’t think of history as “the exact factual record of what definitely happened in the past.” Though there are as many different ways to phrase the idea as there are people expressing it (“History is written by the victors,” for example), I think it’s generally agreed upon that what we call “history” is a group project filled with agendas, biases, contexts, compromises, and broad agreements, that strives to help the present and the future through a better understanding of the past. But what does that idea look like in practice?

A Touch of the Hand: A Metaphor for Fosse, Hilbig, & Krasznahorkai

Humans see patterns in everything, whether patterns are actually there or not. So, if you tend to read a bunch of books at once, like I do sometimes, patterns will emerge. You’ll start to see trends, conversations, and threads through some of the different books you’re reading. Sometimes pulling at these threads can reveal real substance, interesting connections between disparate works. Sometimes, well, sometimes we see the face of Jesus in a piece of toast.

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