A mixed bag of books in 2009
you ever wondered just how a book comes to be reviewed? For many books, it
does depend upon how aggressively the publisher (or distributor) markets the
book. Part of the marketing is to send copies to known reviewers with
credible media outlets, and I am pleased to report that Chiang Mai Mail
is regarded very highly in that regard. I can also assure that any book
sent for review is read, and reviewed.
Of course, there are times when there are no books sitting on the reviewer’s
table, and on those occasions we wander across to Bookazine, whose friendly
staff will sometimes recommend a particular new book (and we thank them very
much), or sometimes a book just happens to catch the reviewer’s eye. “Andy
Warhol” (ISBN 978-3-7913-3814-9, Prestel Publishing 2007) was one of
those, and it turned out to be an excellent overview of the life of one of
the world’s more controversial artists. A controversy that is still going
today, long after his death.
Was Warhol an artist, or just a marketer? As he was also so busy dreaming
up his next self-promotion, the coloring of his pictures was often left to
others, and his mother forged his signature! Warhol is even quoted as
saying, “Sex and parties are the only things you have to show up for in
The best reference book this year was “1000 Events That Shaped the World”
(ISBN 978-1-4262-0314-5, National Geographic) which practically weighed down
the shelves. At B. 1,350 for this hard cover reference book, I suggested
you buy it. History never goes out of fashion. A beautifully presented
book. Get it for your children if nobody else.
Where novels are concerned, Bangkok ex-pat Christopher G Moore is hard to
beat and “The Corruptionist” (ISBN 978-616-90393-3-4, Heaven Lake
Press, 2010) is a wonderfully suspenseful read. In many ways, this is a
‘brave’ book. There are many characters who are immediately recognizable,
despite the usual disclaimers. If this book were translated into Thai
language, I would suggest Christopher Moore should catch the first plane out
of the Kingdom. Another riveting read from Christopher G Moore and one you
should not miss. Available at all good bookstores for B. 499. Get it.
“The Missing Years” (ISBN 9-7818-770-5877-6, Rosenberg Publishing,
2009), written by Chiang Mai expat Stu Lloyd, details the experiences of
Captain Pilkington, a POW in WWII from Changi prison in Singapore to
Hellfire Pass in Thailand. This book records a major milestone in the
history of WW II. Very powerful and emotionally wringing. Worth looking
Another book from the champion of the Esarn poor, Pira Canning Sudham, was
an updated version of “The People of Thailand”, with the subtitle “The
Damned of Thailand” and with a small addition “The Kingdom in
Conflicts”. Having previously written Tales of Thailand,
Monsoon Country and The Force of Karma, and being from a poor
family himself he is qualified to write on the subject. Available at B. 395
at Bookazine, compulsory reading for anyone who wishes to understand Esarn
and its people.
Another full year of reading is ahead.