Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Asia
Reload this Page >

Your Favorite Books Related to Travel to Asia

Your Favorite Books Related to Travel to Asia

Old Dec 10th, 2008, 07:29 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,804
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Your Favorite Books Related to Travel to Asia

I know it's a broad topic--but I'm pulling together a list of threads related to book recommendations and I have had trouble located a recent thread related to books that inspire us to travel to Asia. I'm curious to hear some of your favorites.

Do you like to read fiction or non-fiction related to your destination before you arrive? I've never been anywhere in Asia; but hope to one day---is there one (or several) books that you'd recommend to me?

Katie_H is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2008, 09:07 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 947
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Katie:

Here are some of my favorite titles:

CHINA
Chinese Lessons, by John Pomfret
River Town, by Peter Hessler
The River at the Center of the World, by Simon Winchester
Waiting, by Ha Jin
Wild Swans, by Jung Chang
Life and Death in Shanghai, by Nien Cheng
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, by Lisa See
Leaving Mother Lake, by Yang Erche Namu
China Wakes: the Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power, by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl Wudun
Oracle Bones, by Peter Hessler
The Good Earth, by Pearl Buck

VIETNAM
Saigon, by Anthony Grey

LAOS
Stalking the Elephant Kings, by Christopher Kremmer (recco by Fodor's Kathie)

MULTI-NATION
The River's Tale: a Year on the Mekong, by Edward Gargan
After You, Marco Polo: by Jean Bowie Shor
Thunderstorm from the East: a Portrait of a Rising Asia, by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl Wudun

I look forward to reading what others recommend.


marya_ is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2008, 09:19 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 29,051
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
for bangkok: the series of 'bangkok 8', bangkok ... back in a jiff, have to look them up
rhkkmk is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2008, 09:26 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 29,051
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
the author is john burdett...others are 'bangkok tattoo', 'bangkok haunts'...

they are racy but show the underside of bangkok like and the often corrupt police situation...

another very good read is 'the king never smiles' about the current king of thailand...

anything about jim thompson...there are several books about his interesting life...

but the best book of all is 'fodorites of bangkok'....the main characters are: rhkkmk, kmkrnn, gpanda, simpsonc510, rizutto, dogster, bradinbangkok, hanuman, tenombre, kimjapan, kurosake, hawaiiantraveler, guenmai, craig, jamesA, orgy, smeagol, filmwill, and a host of lesser characters....the publishing date is 2010 and the publisher is random house
rhkkmk is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2008, 09:50 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 22,221
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
There are so many, but here is one that inspired me during my first visits to Asia:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Slow-Boats-C.../dp/0140062394
ekscrunchy is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2008, 09:51 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 22,221
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
And one more that is not often mentioned here:


http://tinyurl.com/5pb9gd
ekscrunchy is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2008, 09:51 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 947
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
While anxiously awaiting that 2010 publication date, Bangkok and Jim Thompson afficionados who have not already read it might also have a look at SIAM: or THE WOMAN WHO SHOT A MAN, by Lily Tuck.
marya_ is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2008, 09:52 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 22,221
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
And a newer book (I promise I will stop after this):

LOST ON PLANET CHINA
ekscrunchy is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2008, 10:46 AM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,804
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Wow thanks for the recommendations. Any more for Thailand? Editor Doug Stallings has almost sold me on going there at some point for a cycling trip (a new hobby of mine).

rhkkmk--- loved your Fodorite comment
Katie_H is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2008, 10:55 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,963
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Three Moons in Vietnam - Maria Coffey a touching & true story
Saigon and Peking - both by Anthony Grey
Bangkok 8 - John Burdett??
The Quiet American - Graham Greene

Definitely read Saigon if you go to Vietnam. It provides an entertaining, well researched history of the country in an epic novel format

crellston is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2008, 11:10 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 4,466
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
My absolute favourite is "A fortune teller told me" by Tiziano Terzani about a guy who decides to not fly for a year. He lives in BKK and he travels and see's so much more by not flying a really charming read
will scour my book shelves as i have read loads on SE Asia and am anxious to get everyone else's lists so i can add to my own collection
Smeagol is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2008, 11:22 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,259
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I have hoards of books on Asia. I read both fiction and non-ficton. I often enjoy reading ficton about a place when I'm there.

Let me mention a few books others have not yet:

Nepal: Shopping for Buddhas by Jeff Greenwald
The Violet Shyness of their Eyes

Laos: there is a series of mysteries about a corner in Laos that is excellnt. I'll look up the name of the author when I get home if someone else hasn't posted it by then.
Kathie is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2008, 11:48 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 4,466
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Kathie
I'm with you i find my choice of books reflects where i am next booked to go!
Smeagol is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2008, 02:13 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 2,779
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Two of my favorites:
The Year of Living Dangerously by Christopher Koch
Saint Jack by Paul Theroux

They're set respectively in the Jakarta and Singapore of a few years back and accurately convey the seamy darkside of those places during times of political turmoil. Very compelling stories, well told.

Both we at one time banned in each country [you can get Year Of in Indonesia now; I'm not sure about Saint Jack] and both were made into terrific movies. Ben Gazzara in Saint Jack; Mel Gibson in Year of are both phenomenal.
marmot is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2008, 02:20 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 35
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The Piano Tuner Daniel Mason

Thirty-Three Teeth Colin Cotterill (detetive story set in Laos)

Fragrant Harbour John Lanchester

His autobiography was published this year and was a delight to read ..cant think of the title at the minute.

When We Were Orphans Kazuo Ishiguro

Saving Fish From Drowning Amy Tan

Empire of The Sun JG Ballard

I am enjoying all the lists and look forword to some good reads over the holidays,
marymai is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2008, 02:26 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 35
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Family Romance is the delightful John lanchesters memoir,
marymai is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2008, 02:39 PM
  #17  
pat
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,485
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
one of my favorites is The Distant Land of My Father, by Bo Caldwell. It`s a novel about Shanghai, but there is so much history in it and I was fascinated.
pat is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2008, 03:08 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,259
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks, marymai, Colin Cotterill is the author of the decetive series set in Laos. There are now 5 books in the series if I remember correctly.
Kathie is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2008, 03:30 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 465
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
JAPAN:

Bruce Feiler, Learning to Bow;
Alan Booth, The Roads to Sata: A 2000-mile Walk through Japan;
Pico Iyer, The Lady and the Monk: Four Seasons in Kyoto;
Julie Shigekuni, A Bridge between Us;
Joy Kogawa, Obasan;
Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood (and others);
Cathy N. Davidson, 36 Views of Mount Fuji: On Finding Myself in Japan;
[and many more I can't bring to mind at the moment....]


INDIA:

Rohinton Mistry, Such a Long Journey and/or A Fine Balance;
Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger (2008 Man Booker Prize)

WillJame is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2008, 04:16 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 171
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Found the Cotterill books at the library when looking for something on Laos -- if he's on target they're a very intriguing look into Laos PDR politically and culturally (animist ghosts, Thai border refugee camps, American War era tunnels and north mountain reeducation camps all included). Truly appreciate a modern day mystery writer who doesn't spend half his time casting females into the sex-kitten/siren role. Like finding early Tony Hillerman before they distributed him outside New Mexico.
jenskar2 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:44 AM.