Over-the-Top Wealth + Catty Family Battles = Perfect Escapism

Crazy Rich Asians is a hoot of a book that is so much fun that once I started it, I couldn’t stop reading. I picked it up because it has a fabulous cover and it got me with the opening pages – a hysterically annotated genealogy of the ridiculously powerful and outrageously rich Young, T'Sien, and Chang families who seem to, if not rule, at least run Singapore.

The story opens in London with the three soaking wet, cold and tired Young sisters and their children being denied access to the toney Calthorpe Hotel by an officious xenophobic hotel manager. How this conundrum is resolved is as fantastic as the moment in “Pretty Woman” when Vivian gets to go back into the store that rejected her the day before and say, “You work on commission, right? Big mistake. Big. Huge.”

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Faking It Till You Make It

Working in publishing, one sees as fair amount of imitation, both good and bad. Authors model their own work after the books they love, or those that they feel have sold well in the past. It sometimes leads to disaster, but often it is a pleasure to read and engage…

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A Book As Impossible to Describe as it is to Put Down

This holiday season, consider the shop girl.

She’s on her feet all day, circling the floor or standing behind the counter, appeasing indecisive old ladies, harried mothers with screaming children, impatient business men, lecherous supervisors. She’s repeating herself, stocking and restocking, bored, waiting, often temporary. She’s apathetic Therese working at the doll counter for the holidays in The Price of Salt, or lonely Mirabelle in Shopgirl, “selling things that nobody buys anymore.” She’s the hot lingerie sales clerk in Christmas Vacation, getting salivated over by a sweaty, breathless Chevy Chase.

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Book That Changed My Life

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So many books, so little time.

-Frank Zappa