Feb 11, 2013 9:22 AM Posts: 1
I’m organizing a group trip to Thailand May 18-29 for travelers from the Washington DC Area. I try to choose a book, fiction preferred, for all of our trips, so that we can pass the time while traveling and enjoy a book discussion during our trips.
I couldn’t find any novels written by Thais that are in English that seemed appropriate as a first-time introduction to read and discuss during a vacation in Thailand. I’m thinking of choosing the non-fiction Very Thai: Everyday Pop Culture since it has great reviews and explains lots of fun things you will see in Thailand.
Have any of you read this book and is it an appropriate/fun read during a trip to Thailand with a group book discussion?
Organizer, DC Global Adventurers
Feb 11, 2013 1:03 PM Posts: 3,560
Sorry I have not.
The one I just finished is a steampunk short story set in a future Thailand called Windup Girl.
Feb 11, 2013 3:26 PM Posts: 412
By some strange coincidence I met the author Philip Cornwel-Smith last Wednesday, and watched a presentation on the subject of his book.
He was interesting and engaging, its surprising just how much of Thai culture is imported from overseas. or is even a fairly recent invention. Thai things that were not invented till the mid 20th century include Pad Thai, using the greeting sawatdee and also the use of the wai as a greeting.
His book is about to be printed as an updated edition, the new version will be ready in approx one month and contains lots of updates. Worth getting, but also worth holding off for the new edition.
Feb 12, 2013 2:59 AM Posts: 233
I’ve got the book, it is interesting and will explain the inevitable WTFs when you get to the country (like “oh, money does grow on trees, or why toilet paper is on the table and not where it belongs) but I don’t think it is the sort of book you discuss before getting here
Feb 12, 2013 5:23 AM Posts: 63
it’s good for sure, I’d also definitely recommend Robert Cooper’s culture shock: Thailand and Alex Kerr’s Bangkok found
Feb 12, 2013 5:29 PM Posts: 540
It’s one of the best books on Thailand. It may be the best book on popular culture that you would run into on a trip. Enjoyable and written with affection for the country.
Feb 12, 2013 6:40 PM Posts: 873
IMO If not the best book it is certainly one of the best books on modern Thai culture in the English language; well informed and well researched with some references and a bibliography.
There are a lot of those who post on TT who really could do with reading it before they post.
My only criticisms are that it is published in an annoyingly small typeface and that it hasn’t to my knowledge had an updated edition published.
Feb 12, 2013 6:43 PM Posts: 412
The author addressed this when I met him last week. he said the new version coming out in a month will have a larger typeface.
Feb 12, 2013 11:42 PM Posts: 873
He may well sell me another copy then!
I’m the author of Very Thai. Thanks for the feedback. I’m glad you enjoy it.
The 2nd Edition of Very Thai is now out. I launched it at London’s 1st Southeast Asian Arts Festival in October.
It is 64 pages bigger, with four extra chapters (in a new section called Thaianess) and has over 200 new photos (out of nearly 600 pictures in total). I heavily rewrote it to cover the massive changes in Thailand in recent years.
This December you’ll start to see reviews and interviews coming out about the book. I’ll also be doing some talks, mainly in Bangkok. The next one will be at the National Museum, but it just got postponed due to the political rallies.
And yes, deeral, we increased the font size!
If you are interested in the subject, I’m about to relaunch the verythai.comwebsite, which will also have feeds from the #verythai hashtag threads on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. And there is a Facebook page on the book at Facebook.com/VeryThaiBook. So you can interact about the book, post your own pictures and hear about upcoming events.
Yes-bought it last week, I’m reading the second edition right now – I noticed the font size – better,
I still believe it is the best book on vernacular Thai culture and a must for anyone visiting, living in or in any way interested in Thailand. As you say there have been massive changes in Thailand over the last decade – and I’m hoping your book has kept pace
Are you speaking anywhere near Chonburi? – please PM me if you are or would like a gig.
So done the Facebook, twitter etc….where’s my T-shirt???
Lp’ers book recommendations for Thai culture plz…
I have some general knowledge and nit noi language skills..
What top FIVE social things have you learnt that are distinctly Thai ?
Lost in translation
the two most important:
joking aside, the basic are well know, don’t violate the head or air space above it.
visiting a wat/house of worship, dress as you would visiting you own house of worship.
the rest is basic courtesy you were raised on, hopefully, i was. respect elders, don’t argue, talk back and basically treat people like you want to be treated.
rule to survive…………you are a guest, don’t attempt to change anything, it is their house/country.
2 years ago
Very Thai – Philip Cornwel-Smith and John Goss – 2005
ISBN 974 9863 00 3
Probably the standard for any EL commentary on Thai culture.
I would like to think there is a new edition on the way