In Kevin Kwan’s China Rich Girlfriend, the sequel to Crazy Rich Asians, lifestyle consultant Corinna Ko-Tung takes on the daunting task of transforming the scandalous former soap-opera star Kitty Pong into a high society darling. She doles out hilarious and scarily comprehensive advice for the social climbing Kitty, including which car she can drive, which church she should attend, what cosmetic procedures she’s allowed to have and how she must change everything about her wardrobe (“I know the average outfit in your wardrobe costs more than a semester of tuition at Princeton, but it makes you look like a community college during summertime: NO CLASS.”).
In the middle of her “Social Impact Assessment”, however, there’s a fun little Easter Egg: Corinna prepares a reading list for Kitty, telling her:
“In order to distinguish yourself, you must either have one
hell of a good stock tip or learn to become a scintillating conversationalist.
Beauty fades, but wit will keep you on the invitation lists to all the most
That’s sensible advice - however, if you’ve read enough interviews with Mr. Kwan, you may realize that Corinna’s reading list is also the list of authors and works that inspired and influenced the Crazy Rich Asians series. Not only is this a lovely treat for fans, it would probably make a really fun reading challenge (which I fully intend to do btw - I’m calling it the Kitty Pong reading challenge). I mean, is there a single book in this list that doesn’t sound completely awesome? Corinna even sets out the rules: you have to complete one book per fortnight, with the exception of Trollope, where you are allowed three weeks per book. The books are to be read in the following order:
Snobs, by Julian Fellowes
The Piano Teacher, by Janice Y. K. Lee
People Like Us, by Dominick Dunne
The Power of Style, by Annette Tapert and Diana Edkins*
Pride and Avarice, by Nicholas Coleridge
The Soong Dynasty, by Sterling Seagrave
Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen [SIC]
D.V., by Diana Vreeland
A Princess Remembers: The Memoirs of the Maharani of Jaipur,
by Gayatri Devi
Jane Austen – complete Works beginning with Pride and
Edith Wharton – The Custom of the Country, The Age of
Innocence, The Buccaneers, The House of Mirth (must be read in strict order –
you will understand why when you finish the last one)
Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray
Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
Anthony Trollope – all the books in the Palliser series,
beginning with Can You Forgive Her?
* The Power of Style is indeed out of print, just like Corinna says, but isn’t hard to find in second hand bookshops and websites like Abebooks. (I just ordered a copy from a second hand bookshop in São Paulo).
The toys are actually quite nice! The big ones were 20$ and the average outfit was between 15-20$ so if you’re looking for “cheap” compared to build a bear , eh, not really. But what is cool is they do combos. A big toy and outfit was 27$.
The mini toys also had a huge selection of outfits but less than the big ones
They have a crap load of different characters and outfits. A much bigger selection than BaB but you won’t find officially licensed stuff here. They did have a large selection of TY beanie boos, babies, and buddies.