March 23, 2013

Take Me Away...to Thailand



Take Me Away Saturday

Take Me Away showcases fiction, nonfiction, and children's books that take place in a specific country and/or within a specific culture.  Take a trip in books!  Look for where we are going next and places we've traveled at the bottom of the post.


This week we are visiting the Asian country of Thailand, as it won the poll 2 weeks ago.
Click here to learn more about Thailand here and also at TourismThailand.

Here is a map of Thailand:



Famous Thai:

Model Christine Teigen is Thai-Norwegian. 
Tiger Woods is part Thai.
Actress Katelyn Pippy of Army Wives fame

Now here are some books about these cultures, organized into a variety of fiction, nonfiction, and children's books. *Note I am not an affiliate anywhere.

(P.S. There is a list of  the countries and cultures visited in past Take Me Away posts at the bottom of this post. Check them out and discover some good books to read and recommend some, too!)

FICTION SELECTIONS:


The Fear Artist (Poke Rafferty Thriller) by Timothy Hallinan

An accidental collision on a Bangkok sidewalk goes very wrong when the man who ran into Rafferty dies in his arms, but not before saying three words: Helen Eckersley. Cheyenne. Seconds later, the police arrive, denying that the man was shot. That night, Rafferty is interrogated by Thai secret agents who demand to know what the dead man said, but Rafferty can't remember. When he's finally released, Rafferty arrives home to find that his apartment has been ransacked. In the days that follow, he realizes he's under surveillance. The second time men in uniform show up at his door, he manages to escape the building and begins a new life as a fugitive. As he learns more about his situation, it becomes apparent that he's been caught on the margins of the war on terror, and that his opponent is a virtuoso artist whose medium is fear.




Unaccustomed Earth: Stories by Jhumpa Lahiri

These eight stories by beloved and bestselling author Jhumpa Lahiri take us from Cambridge and Seattle to India and Thailand, as they explore the secrets at the heart of family life. Here they enter the worlds of sisters and brothers, fathers and mothers, daughters and sons, friends and lovers. Rich with the signature gifts that have established Jhumpa Lahiri as one of our most essential writers, Unaccustomed Earth exquisitely renders the most intricate workings of the heart and mind.


The Big Mango by Jake Needham

From the Big Apple, to the Big Orange, to the Big Mango. It does have a kind of nutty logic to it. Bangkok is about as far as Eddie Dare can go without falling off the edge of the world, although at times Eddie wonders if that isn't exactly what he has done.


$400,000,000 is in the wind, the result of a bungled CIA operation to grab the Bank of Vietnam's currency reserves when the Americans fled Saigon in 1975. A few decades later, the word on the street is that all that money somehow ended up in Bangkok and a downwardly mobile lawyer from San Francisco named Eddie Dare is the only guy who may be able to find it.


The problem is that Eddie knows nothing at all about the missing money. At least, he doesn't think he does. But so many other people believe he's got an inside track that he and his old marine buddy Winnebago Jones figure it's worth a shot to head for Bangkok and try their luck.


But first Eddie and Winnebago have to battle the jagged netherworld of modern-day Thailand - a corkscrewed realm where big-time dealers tango with small-time hustlers, criminals on the lam mingle with politicians on the take, and the merely raffish jostle with the downright scary for center stage in the big leagues of weird.



If they can overcome all that - as well as outmaneuver a freelancing CIA man, a pack of angry Secret Service agents, and a ruthless Vietnamese intelligence woman - maybe they can find out what really happened back in Saigon all those years ago.


And where those ten tons of money are.


  Sightseeing by Rattawut Lapcharoensap

One of the most widely reviewed debuts of the year, Sightseeing is a masterful story collection by an award-winning young author. Set in contemporary Thailand, these are generous, radiant tales of family bonds, youthful romance, generational conflicts and cultural shiftings beneath the glossy surface of a warm, Edenic setting. Written with exceptional acuity, grace and sophistication, the stories present a nation far removed from its exoticized stereotypes. In the prize-winning opening story "Farangs," the son of a beachside motel owner commits the cardinal sin of falling for a pretty American tourist. In the novella, "Cockfighter," a young girl witnesses her proud father's valiant but foolhardy battle against a local delinquent whose family has a vicious stranglehold on the villagers. Through his vivid assemblage of parents and children, natives and transients, ardent lovers and sworn enemies, Lapcharoensap dares us to look with new eyes at the circumstances that shape our views and the prejudices that form our blind spots. Gorgeous and lush, painful and candid, Sightseeing is an extraordinary reading experience, one that powerfully reveals that when it comes to how we respond to pain, anger, hurt, and love, no place is too far from home.


 Cross Currents by John Shors

Thailand's pristine Ko Phi Phi island attracts tourists from around the world. There, struggling to make ends meet, small-resort owners Lek and Sarai are happy to give an American named Patch room and board in exchange for his help. But when Patch's brother, Ryan, arrives, accompanied by his girlfriend, Brooke, Lek learns that Patch is running from the law, and his presence puts Lek's family at risk. Meanwhile, Brooke begins to doubt her love for Ryan while her feelings for Patch blossom.
In a landscape where nature's bounty seems endless, these two families are swept up in an approaching cataclysm that will require all their strength of heart and soul to survive...


Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon

Anna Leonowens, a proper Englishwoman, was an unlikley candidate to change the course of Siamese (Thai) history. A young widow and mother, her services were engaged in the 1860's by King Mongkut of Siam to help him communicate with foreign governments and be the tutor to his children and favored concubines. Stepping off the steamer from London, Anna found herself in an exotic land she could have only dreamed of lush landscape of mystic faiths and curious people, and king's palace bustling with royal pageantry, ancient custom, and harems. One of her pupils, the young prince Chulalongkorn, was particularly influenced by Leonowens and her Western ideals. He learned about Abraham Lincoln and the tenets of democracy from her, and years later he would become Siam's most progressive king. He guided the country's transformation from a feudal state to a modern society, abolshing slavery and making many other radical reforms. Weaving meticulously researched facts with beautifully imagined scenes, Margret Landon recreates an unforgettable portrait of life in a forgotten extotic land. Written more than fifty years ago, and translated into dozens of languages, Anna and the King of Siam (the inspiration for the magical play and film The King and I)continues to delight and enchant readers around the world.



NONFICTION SELECTIONS:


Quick and Easy Thai: 70 Everyday Recipes by Nancie McDermott

Now busy home cooks can bring the fantastic flavors of Thai cuisine into the kitchen with a simple trip to the grocery store. Nancie McDermott, experienced cook, teacher, and author of the best-selling cookbook Real Thai, presents this collection of 70 delicious recipes that focus on easy-to-find ingredients and quick cooking methods to whip up traditional Thai. With recipes like Crying Tiger Grilled Beef, Grilled Shrimp and Scallops with Lemongrass, Sticky Rice with Mangoes, and Thai Iced Tea, along with McDermott's highly practical array of shortcuts, substitutions, and timesaving techniques, anyone can prepare home-cooked authentic Thai meals -- as often as they like.




The King Never Smiles: A Biography of Thailand's Bhumibol Adulyadej by Paul M. Handley

Thailand’s Bhumibol Adulyadej, the only king ever born in the United States, came to the throne of his country in 1946 and is now the world’s longest-serving monarch. The King Never Smiles, the first independent biography of Thailand's monarch, tells the unexpected story of Bhumibol's life and sixty-year rule—how a Western-raised boy came to be seen by his people as a living Buddha, and how a king widely seen as beneficent and apolitical could in fact be so deeply political and autocratic.




Buddhist Temples of Thailand by Joe Cummings

The Buddhist Temples of Thailand explores the Buddhist temple s historical position in Thai culture and the dynamic role it continues to play in everyday life. The kingdom s best-known sites and rare gems, such as Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok and Wat Phumin in Nan, are brought to life through expert text and more than 200 commissioned photographs.




  A Fighter's Heart: One Man's Journey Through the World of Fighting by Sam Sheridan

In 1999, after a series of wildly adventurous jobs around the world, Sam Sheridan found himself in Australia, loaded with cash and intent on not working until he’d spent it all. It occurred to him that, without distractions, he could finally indulge a long-dormant obsession:  fighting. Within a year, he was in Bangkok training with the greatest fighter in muay Thai (Thai kickboxing) history and stepping through the ropes for a professional bout. That one fight wasn’t enough. Sheridan set out to test himself on an epic journey into how and why we fight, facing Olympic boxers, Brazilian jiu-jitsu stars, and Ultimate Fighting champions. Along the way, Sheridan delivers an insightful look at violence as a career and a spectator sport, a behind-the-pageantry glimpse of athletes at the top of their terrifying game.  An extraordinary combination of gonzo journalism and participatory sports writing, A Fighter’s Heart is a dizzying first-hand account of what it’s like to reach the peak of finely disciplined personal aggression, to hit—and be hit. 



CHILDREN'S BOOKS:


Hush!   A Thai Lullaby by Minfong Ho and Holly Meade

In an endearing lullaby, a mother asks a lizard, a monkey, and a water buffalo to be quiet and not disturb her sleeping baby. (I used to read this in my classroom all the time.  It was always a huge hit!)




The Umbrella Queen by Shirin Bridges and Taeeun Yoo


When Noot is finally allowed to paint umbrellas like the other women and girls in her village, she secretly hopes that she might be chosen as this year's Umbrella Queen. Carefully, she creates serene flowers and butterflies exactly as she has seen her mother and grandmother do for years.
But soon her imagination takes over, and Noot finds herself straying from the old patterns, to the dismay of her family, who depend on the traditionally painted umbrellas for their livelihood.
Her parents tell her she must go back to the old designs and Noot obeys, knowing that the King is coming soon to name the one who has painted the most beautiful umbrella. After all, the King would never choose a queen who breaks from tradition . . . would he?



Elephants of the Tsunami by Jana Laiz and Tara Cafiero

Elephants of the Tsunami is based on a true story about eight working elephants of Thailand, who, during the 2004 South Asian Tsunami, freed themselves from their bonds and raced down to the beach to rescue nearly fifty people who otherwise would have been consumed by the sea. Sensitively written and beautifully illustrated, Elephants of the Tsunami is a picture book for all ages, and a wonderful way to tell children about a frightening event without subjecting them to explicit images or traumatic language.


  
This is, of course, just a sampling of books on Thailand and Thai life for you to read. Do you want to recommend/share books that feature Thailand? Or do you want to share other thoughts?  Please leave a note in the comments!

Be sure to check back for our next trip in books! :)

Where do you want to go next?






Where we've been so far in our literary travels so far:



Australia, Pacific Islands
New Zealand
Fiji
    
 

3 comments:

  1. Thailand is one of those countries that I have always wanted to visit. Love the food, at least the American version of it. So needless to say, I loved this post.

    P.S. I voted for Lebanon.

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  2. I really need to read Anna and the King of Siam. I've loved all the movies based on it. Side note: my dad tells me the craziest stories about Thailand.

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  3. I did not know Tiger Woods was part Thai! My big experience with Thailand is watching The King and I and Anna and the King so, like Tasha B, I really should read Anna and the King of Siam.

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