My sister Caitlin turned 32 yesterday. In four days, she leaves for a solo trip to Hong Kong. It will be her last trip for a while. In a couple months, she’ll marry her American boyfriend and will be a Minnesotan housewife until she’s able to work. This is not the life I imagined for Cait, who up until a few years ago called herself a “freemale,” but “Uncle Tony” is good with my kids AND joins all my readalongs, so he’s worthy.
The hours of travel and coming months of desperate housewifedom mean that I must buy books for Cait’s birthday. But the upcoming move makes it impractical to buy physical books, so I’ve bought a couple Kindle gift cards and compiled these lists:
What to read in Hong Kong
- Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan: Satirizing the ultra-rich ABC (American Born Chinese) culture in the States, parts of this book are set in Hong Kong and it sounds like a perfect fluffy read for the airplane. Bet these guys don’t fly coach.
- Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper by Fuchsia Dunlop: Based on this review, and because Cait is a sometime food blogger, and this is sub-titled “A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China.” Might help her get ready for some Chinese food that doesn’t include chicken balls.
- The Piano Teacher by Janice Yee: Recommended by Doretta Lau (her own book. How Does a Single Blade of Grass Thank The Sun looks pretty sweet,) The Piano Teacher is another novel about rich people in Hong Kong, but sounds quite different from Crazy Rich Asians. It’s got some historical flavour.
What to read in Minnesota
- The Group by Mary McCarthy: A tenuous connection to Minnesota, as the author only spent part of her childhood there, but as Canadians we’re used to claiming anyone we can, so. This is also supposed to be the inspiration for Sex and the City.
- Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald: because I assume she’s read The Great Gatsby! (Right??)
- Main Street by Sinclair Lewis: Lewis is the first American to win the Nobel Prize for literature, so I guess he must be okay. I admit I know nothing about him. This book is set in Minnesota and is about a woman who moves to another city for her man, so it might be of interest.
Bonus: What to read when you’re getting married
- Love Letters of the Angels of Death by Jennifer Quist (my review): I want everyone who’s getting married, or is married, to read this book. It made me think about my marriage and the concept of marriage and other stuff.
- Freedom by Jonathan Franzen (my review): I make fun of Franzen often here on the blog, but this book is really good. It’s about ‘Murca and marriage and there’s a lengthy rant about the child free lifestyle that I know Cait will appreciate.
- The Bride Stripped Bare by Anonymous: okay, the author’s been revealed, but my edition is by Anonymous. Take this as a “here is what you shouldn’t do” guide to marriage. Disturbing and racy and one of the odder books I’ve read.
We will all miss Auntie Cait in this house, and not just for the free babysitting. She accompanies me to book events and joins me in readalongs and has taught me a lot about vegan cooking, among many other things. I will never repay her for all the drives she’s given me nor all the Maid of Honouring or Baby Showering, but I hope we can keep up with food and books even if it’s through Skype.