Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin


Sam Masur yells across a crowded subway platform to get the attention of a girl he once knew a long time ago, when they were both in hospital. He was recovering very slowly from a bad car accident and she at first because her sister was sick, then later for community service hours for time spent with Sam.

Sadie is studying video game design at MIT and Sam is a math student at Harvard. They work together on a game called Ichigo, which turns out to be a hit, and this kicks off their successful gaming work together, along with Sam’s roommate, Marx, an acting student who’s talent, it turns out, is as a video game producer.

Despite not knowing what the story was about when I started it, I loved this book. This was a love letter to video games. But it was also about the struggle of being a woman in the male-dominated video game world, disability, issues of cultural appropriation etc. Sam and Sadie were great, flawed characters. Their relationship which would often blow up from time to time, but I just couldn’t help but root for them.

“If this were a game, he could hit pause. He could restart, say different things, the right ones this time. He could search his inventory for the item that would make Sadie not leave.”

Zevin made the design and creation of a video game so absorbing and immersive that I wanted to be part of it. But it’s really due to the strength of her storytelling and character building that ties it all together. And she has created this brilliant, layered story that kept me going through these 401 pages and even wanting more.

I have to admit that I probably have too many games on my phone/tablet. I check in with In The Seom every day. I tried to play Animal Crossing: New Horizons on the kids’ Nintendo switch but decided that I would rather play the Pocket Camp version on my phone. I recently started playing Cookie Run Kingdom because of the BTS tie-up. Since my kids started playing that too, it’s a game the three of us play together. So while I can’t deal with the other games they love (Minecraft, Roblox etc), I kinda like playing Cookie Run Kingdom with them (they only get to play on Fridays and the weekends though!). Of course, as a parent, I can’t help but wonder about the effects of video games on their young minds. But that’s another discussion for another time. Do you play video games? What are your favourites?

Thoughts on: The Crane Wife; Septembers of Shiraz; The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

First of all, each of these books deserve a proper post, but with so little precious time to myself, I’m afraid they’re going to be lumped together. But this effort at some sort of reviews is thanks to my other (time-consuming) effort at updating my list of Books Read in 2014  and realising that almost nothing had been written about. And that’s kind of sad.
The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness
I’ve come to expect nothing but greatness – with a side of odd, but good-odd you know – from Mr Ness. His brilliant A Monster Calls was one of my favourites of last year. And with A Crane Wife, he adapts a Japanese folktale and turns it into a story set in modern-day England. An act of kindness (helping a hurt crane) leads to the entrance of a mysterious woman, an artist who makes the most extraordinary paper cuttings, a person who changes his life and the lives of the rest of the people around him. It’s a little romantic and whimsical, a lot dreamy and mythical, but still rooted in modern times. Delicately witty and fantastically sad, it’s a delight to read.


Septembers of Shiraz by Dalia Sofer

I hesitated over this for so long. Despite it’s rather ‘light and breezy’ kind of cover, it’s a heavy read, set partly in prison in Iran after the revolution, where rare-gem dealer Isaac Amin is held for being a spy for Israel (he is an Iranian Jew). His wife searches desperately for information about him. His son, studying in New York, struggles to find his own way through life while constantly worrying about his family in Iran. His young daughter tries in her own youthful reckless way to help him. Who can they trust? How can they leave their homeland? The sections written about Isaac and his daughter tend to be better reading than that of his wife and son. Bittersweet, semi-autobiographical, quite moving.



The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Ah the book that bookish people love. High expectations about this one! Very high! And it was quite delightful, in that sipping a champagne while having Sunday brunch kind of way. Despite the sad backgrounds (he’s a widower, she’s an abandoned child), a charming, effervescent book. Being bookish, I especially enjoyed the beginnings of the chapters where Fikry makes reading notes about books. He is a bookseller after all, and she – later in life – is a wannabe writer. Cute and sweet. If it had been an actual book instead of the library e-copy I was reading, I would have pat it fondly on its spine before putting it away.