Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Supposedly F. Scott Fitzgerald said “the rich are different from you and me” and Ernest Hemingway replied “Yes, they have more money.”  This mythic conversation never took place. Fitzgerald remained transfixed on the rich and his classic The Great Gatsby elevated the role wealth played in achieving the American Dream.  As for Hemingway, he was less interested in money and more interested in a good insult. But what about we readers in the declining days of summer?  Those interested in reading about the rich can find some fun books at the Monrovia Public Library.

One of the hottest recent bestsellers is The Primates of Park Avenue written by Wednesday Martin. A Ph.D. in Cultural Studies and a career as a journalist gives her the heft to study the lives of well-to-do Manhattan mothers who must compete for supremacy and hold on to their status as if they are in the jungle. Part anthropology and part a humorous look at the lives, clothes and real estate of the rich, this is for readers who enjoy some good dishing. 

Kevin Kwan took over some territory usually occupied by chick lit in Crazy Rich Asians, a satirical and hilarious novel about extraordinarily rich Chinese who live in Singapore. When New Yorker Rachel Chu accompanies her boyfriend on a trip to meet his parents, little does she know just how wealthy the family is and to what lengths they will go to make sure she is a good match for their son. In the sequel that just came out, China Rich Girlfriend, Ms. Chu is now engaged to the heir to the conspicuous consumption fortune and the wild decadence continues.

 Let’s finish in our own backyard, if your backyard is on the Westside. Among the Mansions of Eden: Tales of Love, Lust and Land in Beverly Hills is a very readable history of Beverly Hills and its development from farm land to millionaire homes, but it is also a gossipy and fun look at its eccentric residents.

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