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 Magicians has been renewed for a third season by Syfy, the cable network announced Wednesday.
The network has picked up the drama series for another 13-episode season to follow the currently airing second season. Season 3 will premiere in 2018.
A Universal Cable Productions series, The Magicians centers on Quentin (Jason Ralph), a brilliant grad student chosen to attend Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy, a secret upstate New York university specializing in magic.
Quentin and his 20-something friends soon discover that the magical fantasy world they read about as children is all too real when they unwittingly invite a malevolent entity from the other side into their world. Stella Maeve, Olivia Taylor Dudley, Hale Appleman, Arjun Gupta and Summer Bishil also star.
The Magicians is based on Lev Grossman’s series of bestselling novels. John McNamara, Sera Gamble, Chris Fisher serve as executive producers alongside Groundswell Productions’ Michael London and Janice Williams.
The show airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Syfy, with the season finale to air on April 19.
HBO is moving full steam ahead with its telepic on the explosive 1991 Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Clarence Thomas.
Rick Famuyiwa is on tap to direct “Confirmation.” The pic revisits the national debate over race relations and sexual harassment sparked during the hearings when law professor Anita Hill testified about her experiences with Thomas. Kerry Washington is to star as Hill.
“Erin Brockovich” scribe Susannah Grant penned the script and will exec produce with Washington, Michael London and Janice Williams. ABC Signature Studios is producing with London’s Groundswell Prods. banner. Production is expected to begin in early summer.
Famuyiwa is coming off a strong showing at this year’s Sundance fest with his feature “Dope,” which sold to Open Road and is set for release on June 19.
Yvonne Strahovski to Co-Star in ABC’s ‘Astronaut Wives Club’
ABC’s upcoming Astronaut Wives Club is staging a Chuck reunion.
Chuck alum Yvonne Strahovski has booked a series regular role on the drama from Fake Empire’s Stephanie Savage and Josh Schwartz, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
The 1960s-set drama tells the real story of the women who stood beside some of the biggest heroes in American history during the height of the space race. The drama marks the first pilot Savage has written since she co-created The CW’s long-running Gossip Girl with Schwartz. The project is based on Lily Koppel’s best-selling novel published last summer. Janice Williams brought the project to Groundswell. Odette Annable, JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Dominique McElligott, Desmond Harrington and Bret Harrison star.
Strahovski, who is awaiting word on whether the 24 franchise will continue on, will play Rene Carpenter, who is married to Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter. A mother of four, she’s strong and upfront and enjoys the limelight but is and ready to use it for personal gain. She enjoys being center of attention and is the only one of the wives singled out for her own magazine cover.
Astronaut Wives, which was picked up straight to series with a 10-episode commitment, was originally intended to air in the summer. The drama was pushed back to midseason. Lone Scherfig will direct.