Sunday, 24 April 2016

Books about Bangkok history and sightseeing

Books about Bangkok history and sightseeing


22 Walks in Bangkok: Exploring the City's Historic Back Lanes and Byways (Kenneth Barrett)
Valuable source.

A walking tour Bangkok (G.Byrne Bracken)
Valuable source. 9 walking tours in 1st edition (2003; currently 3rd edition 2016 available).

The must see sites in Bangkok (Exim Bank)
A very valuable source, highly recommended. Unfortunately out of print, available only second hand if you are lucky.

Bangkok off the grid (Andrew Douglas)
I praised this book here:

Bangkok found Reflections on the city (Alex Kerr)
Haven't read it yet. 

Update 14feb2017, read the book and took several notes:

15 typo เขตศาลหลักหลักเมือง (the district names on the street signs that show chapter number and name are not real, some of them are meant as a joke, however educated Thai friend confirms this one is a typo)
28 Victory Monument 50 m tall?
36 two kings in mid-19th century
37 (about sum chalerm phrakiert - decorative arch)
40 "mildewed cement" the author seems to have an obsession with biological growth on cement, see p 207 as well
43 Shwedagon Pagoda with gold from San Franciso, bought 1871 by King Mindon (could only find little corroboration on internet, and that just says the parasol on top was donated by King Mindon)
72 (about working with Thais)
107 (about win motersai)
137 sawasdee - swastika perfectly balanced arms
151 (Anna Leonowens about Thai character)
154 (rare use of the word "riven")
166 words for "gold" in Thai:
As the Eskimos are said to have a dozen words for "snow", so the Thais have many words of saying "gold." There is kham, as in the town Chiangkham ("city of gold") in northern Thailand, where my partner Khajorn hailed from, thong (derived from the Chinese word for bronze), and urai (as in my friend Taw's restaurant, called Ruen Urai ("House of Gold"). Other words for gold feature in the names of cities: Suphanburi and Kanchanaburi both mean "city of gold."
174 (about the artist whose picture is on cover)
183 "phim sen (camphor)" is wrong, it should either be "karabun การบูร (camphor)" or "phim sen พิมเสน (borneol)"
207 "concrete structures that quickly blacken with mold in the damp tropical climate"
212 "krajiab (rosella), a carnivorous purple flower" -> roselle, and is it really carnivorous?
228 (about gay life in Bangkok)
229 chommanat tree in himapan:
One of the many legends associated with Himmaphan has it that inside the forest there is a magical Chommanat tree, whose blossoms are so intoxicating that all who inhale them must immediateley go off and have sex with whatever is closest at hand. That's what gave birth to the cross-beings found in Himmaphan: bird-monkeys, lion-snakes, angel-beasts, and so forth.
235 Chatuchak plant market wed and thu. Fri antiques.
238 I don't understand the following sentence, there is problem with grammar or words missing:
After weeks and months of attending the Friday vigils, I found that thoughts of pots burrowed inside and went unconscious - I'd have a revelation about a northern Thai jar while in the shower or at the supermarket.
263 son et lumiere - wrong accent (here without accent)
265 "learn how to cook, how to make flowers" How can you make flowers? Maybe the author meant "arrange"?
266 "The plusses and minuses" (I didn't know the plural of plus)
273 "ageing", but elsewhere "aging" (don't remember page)
275 about Europeans:
MR Chakrarot remarks, "In the Traiphum cosmology, there are Arabs to the west, and Chinese to the east. To the north are a race of crayz people so advanced that they don't need to work. They live to be 900 years old, and if they need something, they simply go to a magical tree and wish on it. I think it's an old lampoon on you Europeans."

Verdict: recommended!

Mysterious Bangkok (Exciting Thailand Volume 1)
I spoke with a publisher who knows the author, there is no volume 2 in preparation. (The yellow post-it on the corner is to reduce wear and tear when reading.)

Bangkok Days (Lawrence Osborne)
"Far more than a travel book, Bangkok Days explores both a little-know, extraordinary city..." 

I was hoping to find information that might be of use to me, but I didn't.

I didn't like the style it is written in, but a friend who used to teach English literature likes it. But even my friend admitted it contained several errors.

p144 "the world's longest road" referring to Sukhumvit
(Sukhumvit at 488 km isn't even Thailand's longest road; that would be Phetkasem at 1,274 km)
p160 "like magnetic disturbances that alter a few molecules deep inside your liver" Only someone who has no idea about physics or biology can write such nonsense.
p214 "The sky has a neon tinge here, soft and elastic." It's grammatically correct, but makes no sense to me.
p260 Loha Prasat "and it was one of the three "metal palaces" in Buddhist lands (the other two, by legend, were in India)." one in India, one in Sri Lanka
I shudder at the thought how many more errors, in areas I am not knowledgeable, this book contains.

If anyone is interested, I can sell the book for 80 Baht (half the price I paid), and even that would be 80 Baht more than I think it's worth.

Tip Führer Bangkok
Ein Reiseführer über die Stadt der Engel
In German. A valuable source, highly recommended. 

If readers know more books, please comment.

Not on picture 
Tour Bangkok Legacies: 
new discoveries of old treasures
Seems to be available
only as e-book, the articles on their website are excellent. 

There might be more e-books.

I posted about books and brochures about Bangkok waterways and Bangkok museums separately.

eBook: 101 Things To Do In Bangkok Is a good book, but does not fall into the subject of this post.

notes for a future separate post, Books for all of Thailand history and sightseeing:
Bizarre Thailand (Jim Algie) haven't read it
Bangkok Weekend Drives (The Nation) valuable source
To Thailand with love - A travel guide for the connoisseur haven't read it

A Guidebook to Offbeat Thailand ebook only Recommended, I reviewed it here:

Copyright 2016 ChristianPFC

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