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BANGKOK 14 December 2018 02:45
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desi

'must Have' Books On Thailand And Thai Culture

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The "Falcon of Siam" is probably one of the best books written about Thailand.

Other books that spring to mind are Chuck Wow's 'Losing the Plot' Stephen Leather's 'Private Dancer' and 'Atomised' by a French author whom I forget the name.

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I found "Thailand Fever" very useful.

im still finding it useful after almost 5 years, its great that you can point to a sentence that you can't explain and within seconds its understood, brilliant :o

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I am not sure if you are working in Thailand or just visiting?

Nevertheless, one of the most informative books (without doubt) I first read when I came to Thailand was 'Working with the Thais' by Henry Holmes.

If I had not read this during my initial 'massive learning curve' days I probably would have lasted 6 months here.

This is invaluable reading in making sense of everyday situations if you work here. But even if you don't there are passages that will help to explain and relate to some of the (seemingly) stranger day to day situations you might encounter.

Even today (12 years on) I still take a glance that this book from time to time.

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My recommendations:

Vatch's Thai Kitchen - Thai Dishes to Cook at Home. Vartcharin Bhumichitr.   Also Lists websites, oriental markets for where to buy ingredients if you live in UK.

World Food Thailand, the Food and the Lifestyle, Judy Williams. Beautiful photography/recipes, and discusses history of Thai cuisine in various regions of Thailand.

Firm Plus Focus on your Health - BNH Hospital Publication.  Lists food calories/kilojoules in both english and thai. Nuff said.

Lady Boys, Tom Boys, Rent Boys, Male and Female Homosexualities in Contemporary Thailand. Peter A Jackson/Gerard Sullivan. Series of case studies discussing the social and emotional difficulties experienced by minorities in Thailand.

Bangkok Blondes.  Bangkok Womens Writers Group.  This group promotes writing talent in women, collection of short stories and poetry by female writers who have lived or are living in Bangkok.  Pleasant read.

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Western books in Thailand are expensive. So, in my hunt for decent books on Thailand, I've been trying to keep to advised books. Some come tucked inside conversations on forums. Others from reading advice via blogs, or even other books.

These are books not just on history and/or culture, but to help ease day to day living in Thailand (at times BKK specific). Books that I'd feel comfortable advising other newcomers to buy (I have friends arriving within the year).

The list I have so far:

Thai Ways, by Denis Segaller

Inside Thai Society, by Niels Mulder

Thailand, a Short History, by David Wyatt

Very Thai, everyday popular culture, by Philip Corawel-Smith

Culture Shock Thailand, by Robert Cooper

Spiritual Abodes of Thailand, Barry Broman and William Warren

The Spirit Houses of Thailand, Peter Reichart and Pathawee Khongkhunthian

Bangkok, by William Warren

Bangkok then and now, by Steve Van Beck

The Bangkok Guide (Australian New Zealand Women's group)

Do's and Don'ts in Thailand, Kenny Yee and Catherine Gordon

Siam Smiles, by Hugh Watson

Heart Words, by Christopher Moore

101 Thai Forms

Purchased, but haven't read yet:

Siam Mapped, by Thongchai Winichakul

Bangkok Inside Out, by Daniel Ziv and Guy Sharette

Four Reigns, by Kukrit Pramoj

Reflections on Thai Culture, William J. Klausner

I have more, but they are not good enough to be listed here (usually bought at the airport when desperate for something to read).

Have I missed any of the top books on Thailand?

(Btw - I do have Wandering into Thai Culture, but don't remember enough of it to suggest it to friends...)

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Western books in Thailand are expensive. So, in my hunt for decent books on Thailand, I've been trying to keep to advised books. Some come tucked inside conversations on forums. Others from reading advice via blogs, or even other books.

These are books not just on history and/or culture, but to help ease day to day living in Thailand (at times BKK specific). Books that I'd feel comfortable advising other newcomers to buy (I have friends arriving within the year).

The list I have so far:

Thai Ways, by Denis Segaller

Inside Thai Society, by Niels Mulder

Thailand, a Short History, by David Wyatt

Very Thai, everyday popular culture, by Philip Corawel-Smith

Culture Shock Thailand, by Robert Cooper

Spiritual Abodes of Thailand, Barry Broman and William Warren

The Spirit Houses of Thailand, Peter Reichart and Pathawee Khongkhunthian

Bangkok, by William Warren

Bangkok then and now, by Steve Van Beck

The Bangkok Guide (Australian New Zealand Women's group)

Do's and Don'ts in Thailand, Kenny Yee and Catherine Gordon

Siam Smiles, by Hugh Watson

Heart Words, by Christopher Moore

101 Thai Forms

Purchased, but haven't read yet:

Siam Mapped, by Thongchai Winichakul

Bangkok Inside Out, by Daniel Ziv and Guy Sharette

Four Reigns, by Kukrit Pramoj

Reflections on Thai Culture, William J. Klausner

I have more, but they are not good enough to be listed here (usually bought at the airport when desperate for something to read).

Have I missed any of the top books on Thailand?

(Btw - I do have Wandering into Thai Culture, but don't remember enough of it to suggest it to friends...)

One of the better books I've read on Thailand and its culture is A Child of the Northeast by Kampoon Boontawee. A must read.

ThaiSquire

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I am not sure if you are working in Thailand or just visiting?

I'm here permanently (unless something strange happens). But like others here, I have friends visiting as well as moving to Thailand for work.

Before I moved to BKK, I knew about the Bangkok Guide because I was a member of this forum before arrival (googled to find out the best place to learn about living in Thailand and this was it). I bought other books on the advice of this forum.

A group of my friends/work colleagues (three families + a single) are arriving in the spring for work. They do not utilize the internet (as far as I know), so I wanted to compile a reading list from those on the ground.

This is the list so far...

101 Thai Forms

A Child of the Northeast, by Kampoon Boontawee

Atomised

Bangkok, by William Warren

Bangkok 8, by John Burdett

Bangkok Inside Out, by Daniel Ziv and Guy Sharette

Bangkok Blondes

Bangkok Haunts, by John Burdett

Bangkok People, by James Eckardt

Bangkok Tattoo, by John Burdett

Bangkok Then and Now, by Steve Van Beck

Buddha in the Landscape

Culture Shock Thailand, by Robert Cooper

Do's and Don'ts in Thailand, by Kenny Yee and Catherine Gordon

Elephants in Thai life and legend

Firm Plus Focus on your Health

Four Reigns, by Kukrit Pramoj

Genders and Sexualities in Modern Thailand

Good Food Guide Bangkok, by Roseline NgCheong-Lum

Heart Words, by Christopher Moore

Inside Thai Society, by Niels Mulder

Knofs Thailand (guidebook)

Lady Boys, Tom Boys, Rent Boys, Male and Female Homosexualities in Contemporary Thailand, by Peter A Jackson/Gerard Sullivan

Letters from Thailand by Botan

Lonely Planet Bangkok

Losing the Plot, by Chuck Wow

Money Number One, by Neil Hutchison

Monsoon Country, by Pira Sudham

My Thai Girl and I, by Andrew Hicks

Phra Farang, by Phra Peter Pannapadipo

Private Dancer, by Stephen Leather

Reflections on Thai Culture, William J. Klausner

Siam Mapped, by Thongchai Winichakul

Siam Smiles, by Hugh Watson

Spiritual Abodes of Thailand, Barry Broman and William Warren

Thai Hawker Food, by Clive Wing

Thailand, a Short History, by David Wyatt

Thailand Confidential, by Jerry Hopkins

Thailand Fever

Thai Ways, by Denis Segaller

The Bangkok Guide (Australian New Zealand Women's group)

The "Falcon of Siam"

The Spirit Houses of Thailand, by Peter Reichart and Pathawee Khongkhunthian

Vatch's Thai Kitchen

Very Thai, everyday popular culture, by Philip Corawel-Smith

Who am 'I' in Thai?, by Voravudhi Chirasombutti and Anthony Diller

Working with the Thais', by Henry Holmes

World Food Thailand, the Food and the Lifestyle, by Judy Williams

For moving to Thailand (BKK as a base), these are my top picks to get into the flow of the country quickly...

Inside Thai Society, by Niels Mulder

Thailand, a Short History, by David Wyatt

Thai Ways, by Denis Segaller

The Bangkok Guide (Australian New Zealand Women's group)

Very Thai, everyday popular culture, by Philip Corawel-Smith

Working with the Thais', by Henry Holmes

Agree? Disagree? More to add?

And even though I haven't read either, I believe Thailand Fever or Private Dancer would also be advised (?)

All, thank you for your help (and please keep them coming). I'm not sure about my friends, but my bookshelf is going to get quite full...

Edited by desi

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I am not sure if you are working in Thailand or just visiting?

I'm here permanently (unless something strange happens). But like others here, I have friends visiting as well as moving to Thailand for work.

Before I moved to BKK, I knew about the Bangkok Guide because I was a member of this forum before arrival (googled to find out the best place to learn about living in Thailand and this was it). I bought other books on the advice of this forum.

A group of my friends/work colleagues (three families + a single) are arriving in the spring for work. They do not utilize the internet (as far as I know), so I wanted to compile a reading list from those on the ground.

This is the list so far...

101 Thai Forms

A Child of the Northeast, by Kampoon Boontawee

Atomised

Bangkok, by William Warren

Bangkok 8, by John Burdett

Bangkok Inside Out, by Daniel Ziv and Guy Sharette

Bangkok Blondes

Bangkok Haunts, by John Burdett

Bangkok People, by James Eckardt

Bangkok Tattoo, by John Burdett

Bangkok Then and Now, by Steve Van Beck

Buddha in the Landscape

Culture Shock Thailand, by Robert Cooper

Do's and Don'ts in Thailand, by Kenny Yee and Catherine Gordon

Elephants in Thai life and legend

Firm Plus Focus on your Health

Four Reigns, by Kukrit Pramoj

Genders and Sexualities in Modern Thailand

Good Food Guide Bangkok, by Roseline NgCheong-Lum

Heart Words, by Christopher Moore

Inside Thai Society, by Niels Mulder

Knofs Thailand (guidebook)

Lady Boys, Tom Boys, Rent Boys, Male and Female Homosexualities in Contemporary Thailand, by Peter A Jackson/Gerard Sullivan

Letters from Thailand by Botan

Lonely Planet Bangkok

Losing the Plot, by Chuck Wow

Money Number One, by Neil Hutchison

Monsoon Country, by Pira Sudham

My Thai Girl and I, by Andrew Hicks

Phra Farang, by Phra Peter Pannapadipo

Private Dancer, by Stephen Leather

Reflections on Thai Culture, William J. Klausner

Siam Mapped, by Thongchai Winichakul

Siam Smiles, by Hugh Watson

Spiritual Abodes of Thailand, Barry Broman and William Warren

Thai Hawker Food, by Clive Wing

Thailand, a Short History, by David Wyatt

Thailand Confidential, by Jerry Hopkins

Thailand Fever

Thai Ways, by Denis Segaller

The Bangkok Guide (Australian New Zealand Women's group)

The "Falcon of Siam"

The Spirit Houses of Thailand, by Peter Reichart and Pathawee Khongkhunthian

Vatch's Thai Kitchen

Very Thai, everyday popular culture, by Philip Corawel-Smith

Who am 'I' in Thai?, by Voravudhi Chirasombutti and Anthony Diller

Working with the Thais', by Henry Holmes

World Food Thailand, the Food and the Lifestyle, by Judy Williams

For moving to Thailand (BKK as a base), these are my top picks to get into the flow of the country quickly...

Inside Thai Society, by Niels Mulder

Thailand, a Short History, by David Wyatt

Thai Ways, by Denis Segaller

The Bangkok Guide (Australian New Zealand Women's group)

Very Thai, everyday popular culture, by Philip Corawel-Smith

Working with the Thais', by Henry Holmes

Agree? Disagree? More to add?

And even though I haven't read either, I believe Thailand Fever or Private Dancer would also be advised (?)

All, thank you for your help (and please keep them coming). I'm not sure about my friends, but my bookshelf is going to get quite full...

Working with the Thais', by Henry Holmes

This book is invaluable, if you are working in LOS. Single best book on the list, in my opinion, for the challenges of working here. (Don't bother bringing up "Bridging the Gap". That doesn't even come close)

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Working with the Thais', by Henry Holmes

This book is invaluable, if you are working in LOS. Single best book on the list, in my opinion, for the challenges of working here. (Don't bother bringing up "Bridging the Gap". That doesn't even come close)

I haven't read Working with Thais' yet, but after reading the review, it seemed a must have for the short-list.

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Very Thai, everyday popular culture, by Philip Corawel-Smith

This book rocks! Easily in the top 3 books to pick up if moving to Thailand. I don't know what the other two are. Seems to be hard to get a hold of these days. MAKE THE EFFORT :o

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Other books that spring to mind are Chuck Wow's 'Losing the Plot' Stephen Leather's 'Private Dancer' and 'Atomised' by a French author whom I forget the name.

Sorry, not flaming you, but I think these books are at best ... average.

The Chuck Wow book is poorly written/edited ... I didn't bother finishing it.

'Private Dancer' is a book many people rave about. But for anyone who has spent a year or two in Thailand with their wits about them .. I can't believe it really tells them anything new. But well written .. best of your bunch of three.

Sorry, I think 'Atomised' is depressing, nihilistic slop. More pertinently here, it contains nothing to help someone seeking to understand Thailand from the inside.

Now, the 'Thailand Fever' book by Chris Pirazzi and Vitida Vasant is another story. Full title: 'Good medicine for Thailand fever - A Road Map for Thai-Western Relationships'. Essential reading for a westerner getting involved with a Thai lady. Good for the lady, good for the falang.

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Inside Thai Culture - Niels Mulder

Absolutely Invaluable

Indeed, going back to the original edition entitled Everyday life in Thailand: An interpretation published in 1985, a true survival guide, especially for those not living in the ex-pat ghettos or modern housing estates. This book saved my life once back in the late 1980s when that life had a credible threat made against it. I owe this man a drink.

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The Chuck Wow book is poorly written/edited ... I didn't bother finishing it.

With a pseudonym like that, I question your judgment in even bothering to open the pages.

An author that nobody has mentioned yet is Acaan Pasuk Phongpaichit, as all of her books are worthy reads.

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With a pseudonym like that, I question your judgment in even bothering to open the pages.

Do you now, you curmudgeon you? :o

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