Co.ntext is a collaborative effort to bring themed book recommendations to our Co.mmunity. With our favourite book reader, reviewer and part-time bookseller from Littered With Books across the street from us, we hope you'll find meaning, value and perhaps respite from these monthly themed reading lists.
To grieve is to react to one’s loss; a mental or emotional suffering caused by loss or regret.
1. Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto
“Life can be so hard, but if a person hasn’t ever experienced true despair, she grows old never knowing how to evaluate where she is in life; never understanding what joy really is. I’m grateful for it.”
In two short stories, ‘Kitchen’ and ‘Moonlight Shadow’, Banana Yoshimoto features two groups of people and the ways they coped through grief. Losing someone you love is never easy but having support helps.
On grief, hope, support, perseverance, food and dreams
2. The Gods Will Hear Us Eventually by Jinny Koh
Angie, Anna, their parents & Nai Nai (grandmother) lived together happily in a humble apartment until one day Angie goes missing. Su Lai felt like her world has crashed with the sudden loss of her oldest daughter. For a period of time, the family put blame on one another which caused high tension in the household. If Anna never lied, will Angie avoid going missing?
On loss of loved one, family, some essence of an average Singaporean household
3. Ghost Forest by Pik-Shuen Fung
Following an unnamed main character in ‘Ghost Forest’, she reflects on her relationship with her family; specifically, her father. As she revisits memories of her father through the years, she struggles with unresolved questions and misunderstandings. Turning to her mother and grandmother for answers, she discovers her own life refracted brightly in theirs.
On grief, immigrant family and familial love.
4. Crying In H Mart by Michelle Zauner
A memoir recounting her life as a mixed race with a Korean mother and American father. Michelle opens up about losing her mother and how different life was moving forward. Grief isn’t a familiar feeling to some of us but through this memoir, Michelle sheds light on assuming the role of a caretaker—one that was originally her mother’s.
On loss of loved one to cancer, food, memories growing up with an Asian parent
5. The Way Through the Woods by Long Litt Woon
After losing her husband of 32 years to an unexpected death, Long Litt Woon heads off into the woods with mushroom hunters and learns about grounding herself; to see everything around as it is. This Nature experience was a healing experience for her as she rediscover a new meaning to live for through fungi.
On overcoming grief, meaning of life, wonders of nature
A few words from Sharm
As humans, to grieve is only natural. Some may have already experienced it and others may consider what it will be like when it happens—the day we lose someone who meant the world to us. With the books in this list, may it shed some light on the journey of mourning, a recollection of fond memories and a reminder that hope is a powerful feeling.
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Till the next one. x