The author of two of my new favorite books was in town last weekend! Kevin Kwan of Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend fame held book signings and readings at Fully Booked‘s Bonifacio High Street and Alabang Town Center last August 15-16, 2015.
Crazy Rich Asians was published last 2013 but I only got to read it last year. I loved it so much that I read China Rich Girlfriend as soon as it came out. Crazy Rich Asians starts off with Rachel Chu, an American-born Chinese (ABC) economics professor who gets invited by Nicholas Young, her boyfriend and a history professor, to go with him to his best friend’s wedding and spend the summer in Singapore. What Rachel doesn’t know is that Nick just happens to be the scion of one of Singapore’s wealthiest families and the most eligible bachelor on the island. Once she gets there, it’s private jets galore, palatial homes, couture dresses and all the other trappings that come with being crazy rich, plus the requisite backstabbing, gossip, and meddling relatives. I can’t describe China Rich Girlfriend without spoiling the end of Crazy Rich Asians, but be rest assured that whatever outrageous antics the characters got into in the first book are multiplied a hundredfold in the second book. Because hey, there’s crazy rich and then there’s China-rich.
Side note: personally, I think the secondary characters make the books. Rachel may be the heroine but I found Astrid Leong’s (Nick’s cousin) story to be more engrossing. Sorry Rachel.
Danes and I arrived in BHS at 8am, ate breakfast, and lined up at 9am for the 10am registration and distribution of book passes. We ended up being #19 and #20 in the signing line, which wasn’t bad at all. The event started at around 2:15pm with a Q&A session with Kevin, moderated by someone from Fully Booked. Some interesting tidbits from the Q&A:
1. They’ve already started scouting for locations in Asia for the CRA movie (as they should be!). They’ve also started talking to actors who could be in the movie. (I’d love to see Ming-Na Wen and Gong Li take on the roles of the mothers but gawd, they look so ageless that I don’t think they’ll be cast. Can I get Shu Qi for Astrid please? Shu Qi is 39 but certainly looks younger than that.)
2. Everything in the books is real. Everything – except the characters and the plot – are real. That Boeing 747 in China Rich that’s fitted with a freaking koi pond? It’s real. Kevin said that he “doesn’t have an imagination” (ha!) so everything he describes in his books is something that he’s seen for himself. OH. MY. GOD. I had a follow-up question on how he even gets access to everything (since he said he’s seen everything he’s put in his books) but I was too shy to ask. Boo.
3. The series is planned out as a trilogy BUT the fate of the third book depends on how sales are for the second book. I hope CRG is doing really well!
Kevin then read part of a CRG chapter – the one where Kitty Pong steps into Hong Kong’s most exclusive Christian church for the first time. He does a great Corinna Ko-Tung but his Kitty Pong needs work. That doesn’t matter though as I still like him anyway 😛 The signing itself started at around 3pm. The line moved pretty fast so Danes and I finished at 3:30pm. I stayed in Fully Booked to finish some work so I got to see the event end. The folks at Fully Booked were nice enough to let me talk to Kevin again after he was done signing the books ordered online. Kevin was really nice about it too and I appreciated him taking the time to discuss the ending of CRG.
Thank you again to Kevin Kwan for coming over to the Philippines and to Fully Booked for making it happen!