Crazy Rich Fun

I think I might need a little more fun in my life.  And by fun I mean fewer books with dead horses in them.

I always have fun when I read, but not all of my reading material is “fun.”  Insightful, yes.  Delightful, not always–at least not in a laugh-out-loud way. Don’t get me wrong.  I love what I read.  If I didn’t, I’d invoke my right not to finish.

A sampling of late:

  • A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson (the life and death of a WII fighter pilot, who promises God a life of kindness in exchange for any kind of life at all).
  • Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography of Laura Ingalls Wilder (I love me some Little House and I was on the wait-list for this book for months before my order was filled, but annotations automatically take the “fun” down a notch),
  • The Bronte Cabinet: Three Lives in Nine Objects (English professor wistfully explicates the belongings of three dead sisters and their wastrel brother).
  • And, for my book club, a variety of spiritual memoirs, usually involving death, infertility, or both

I used to read loads of fun books.  When I was young, everything was fun.  When I grew up a bit, I loved reading Chick Lit, especially if it was Brit Chick Lit.  Then I realized nothing could live up to Bridget Jones, not even, sadly, Bridget Jones (skip the third installment).

crazy rich

Yes, you can judge this book by its cover.

I made a first step towards more “fun” reading this weekend with Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians, which I devoured.  While I found the prose burdened with an occasional clunkiness that had the English teacher in me wishing for a red pen, I really, really enjoyed this frothy, jet set romp across southeast Asia.  Kwan’s descriptions of his characters, particularly their sartorial choices, took me back to my Babysitters Club days when Ann M. Martin would spend a paragraph describing Claudia Kishi’s dangling telephone earrings and leggings covered with images of flying cheeseburgers (this is how artistic tweens dressed in the late eighties/early nineties).  For Kwan’s characters, a pair of half-a-million dollar earrings is no big deal.  What could be more fun than conspicuous consumption?

Also, no horses were harmed in the course of this book.  There was a mutilated fish, but, you know, no biggie.

I am Laura Ingalls Wilder


I am Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I have been practicing since I was a Half-Pint.

My personal Laura-hood began on a childhood road trip during which took my family through a rural area.  In real life we traveled the road flanked by corn fields at night, and, of course,in Laura-life Pa would have already halted the wagon for the day and the horses would be long-settled.  There was something thrilling, though, about being someone other than myself, especially in the delicious dark of the backseat.

Likely not long after, my sister and I spent a summer devoted to the Little House television series.  That summer we were also absorbed by our dollhouses, and, in particular, a small doll who resided in said dollhouses.  She wore a ruffled peach dress, a petticoat, and pantalons, and her porcelain face was framed by yellow ringlets.  Naturally, she was our Nellie Oleson and a leading character in the live-action fan fiction we performed every summer morning.  She was wicked, and, to be honest, more fun to personify than the honest, earnest Laura.

I reached the apogee of my Laura-hood at age eleven, when I stepped out in prairie garb for Halloween: a gingham dress covered by a pinafore, braids, a lunch pail and slate, and a bonnet to protect my face from the unforgiving sun (photo forthcoming).  This costume required a fair degree of explanation, which was nothing new, the previous year having been the Year of Betsy Ross.  I was the sixth grader, who, if life as Laura didn’t pan out, planned to pursue a career in historical interpretation.  In costume, of course.

As an adult I have established homesteads across the country, I have been a teacher, I am a writer.  I am still Laura.

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