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I have just finished Bangkok Boy Bar by Richard Vohl and Private Dancer by Stephen Leather. Both great reads and highly recommended, though the former is slightly romanticised and ascribes a far greater conversational depth to young bar boys than I know they are capable of, particularly those newly from the countryside without much English.

 

Any other recommendations to while away long weekends? Non-fiction guides also welcome - I was inspired to ask by paborn’s mention of guide books to Bangkok’s early 80s gay scene in another thread.

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War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.

Had a feeling I was going to get trolled LOL.

 

If Tolstoy wrote a compelling saga of love, murder, hatred and politics on the sois of Silom, bring it on.

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Where did you buy them? (Not War and Peace).

As Amazon ebooks, they seem to be available now on the UK not US sites. Easy to change your country settings for a one time purchase.

 

Edit: Private Dancer also available in paperback too, this is about the bargirl not barboy scene.

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So where are you now? ONLY in english? BTW-nice question, perhaps I can even see some unexpected titles.

What I would rec. is just available in Th-printed in Th, written in /en/,  published there. I doubt (but did not check) if the likes of amazon etc. can deliver that elsewhere. This as you mention the old 90-ies before the www handbooks.

Possibly asiabooks.com has an mailservice to overseas, but what I would rec is possible already out of print.

There are tons of usually poorly written bargirls-episodes, both by assumed former bargirls but mostly those having had an affair with them. after 2-3 you already know the next content.

What i personally like are a bit funny local experiences by f.e. english teachers or other farang having lived longer in TH, you can learn a lot about TH customs if you read in between and are genuinely interested and have an open mind. At the mo due to housemove I am clearing out the old house and find all things/boox I had forgotten about. Including several more scientific reports-mostly about AIDS-prevention and how to do that and the local scene around that-remember those times?

If you think this might be worthwhile, respond and (as at the mo the boox are elsewhere for exact titles) then I'll try to list them. Books from Th tend to have NO ISBN for international ordering.

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I have just finished Bangkok Boy Bar by Richard Vohl and Private Dancer by Stephen Leather. Both great reads and highly recommended,

 

Thanks for the reading tip. Just bought Bangkok Boy B from Amazon.  Looks like an interesting read.

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So where are you now? ONLY in english? BTW-nice question, perhaps I can even see some unexpected titles.

What I would rec. is just available in Th-printed in Th, written in /en/, published there. I doubt (but did not check) if the likes of amazon etc. can deliver that elsewhere. This as you mention the old 90-ies before the www handbooks.

Possibly asiabooks.com has an mailservice to overseas, but what I would rec is possible already out of print.

There are tons of usually poorly written bargirls-episodes, both by assumed former bargirls but mostly those having had an affair with them. after 2-3 you already know the next content.

What i personally like are a bit funny local experiences by f.e. english teachers or other farang having lived longer in TH, you can learn a lot about TH customs if you read in between and are genuinely interested and have an open mind. At the mo due to housemove I am clearing out the old house and find all things/boox I had forgotten about. Including several more scientific reports-mostly about AIDS-prevention and how to do that and the local scene around that-remember those times?

If you think this might be worthwhile, respond and (as at the mo the boox are elsewhere for exact titles) then I'll try to list them. Books from Th tend to have NO ISBN for international ordering.

I only read in English but can look for books in Bangkok on my next trip, or ask a friend to search for me. The funny experiences by farang teachers, anything humorous, or insightful about local customs sounds good to me. If you could recommend one of the better written accounts by a former bar girl that could be very interesting too.

 

Naturally I am most interested in reading about the Bangkok gay or boybar scene, fact or fiction, but accept publications on this subject may be few.

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Hank, the books you mention are available in the US site as well for less than $5.00. I would suggest you look at the author James Eckhardt. He wrote a series, available as ebooks, on Thai life. I found his "Bangkok People" to be very good. It deals with different types and classes of Thai in a non-academic fashion.

 

Use Amazon like a search engine try different searches like Thai bar boy, Gay Thailand, etc. You'll find a number of different offerings some bar girl things end up in the mix and they are a cheap thriller/erotic read. The Gay ones are much better.

 

Totally nonsexual, but interesting, is Pattaya Honorary Consul by Barry Kenyon. I just finished a fantastic read called Saigon by Anthony Grey - it is a massive novel about an American family's ties to Vietnam and gives insight to pre-war French rule up to the sad American involvement.

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Thanks for the reading tip. Just bought Bangkok Boy B from Amazon. Looks like an interesting read.

Just remember to have the photo viewing option available on your e-reader. These candid snaps of his trip bring the story to life. The author also embeds a few YouTube videos, link here for members who are curious but can’t purchase ebooks:

 

https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCn3ib1_z19dpkU4bvNkS0xA

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Hank, the books you mention are available in the US site as well for less than $5.00. I would suggest you look at the author James Eckhardt. He wrote a series, available as ebooks, on Thai life. I found his "Bangkok People" to be very good. It deals with different types and classes of Thai in a non-academic fashion.

 

Use Amazon like a search engine try different searches like Thai bar boy, Gay Thailand, etc. You'll find a number of different offerings some bar girl things end up in the mix and they are a cheap thriller/erotic read. The Gay ones are much better.

 

Totally nonsexual, but interesting, is Pattaya Honorary Consul by Barry Kenyon. I just finished a fantastic read called Saigon by Anthony Grey - it is a massive novel about an American family's ties to Vietnam and gives insight to pre-war French rule up to the sad American involvement.

Great recommendations paborn. I will look these all up and report back on findings. Bangkok People sounds right up my alley.

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Thanks to this thread I am looking for some gay Thailand books and I see a 'Twilight Soi' book from a guy named Stapleton. Looks promising. It is fairly recently. 

 

On Amazon.de you can read the introduction. I wonder how true it all is. He writes "any tourist entering X-size has a high chance of being robbed".  The book is from 2011. Sounds trustworthy? I never had issues in that bar. But maybe in 2011 this was the case?

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Thanks to this thread I am looking for some gay Thailand books and I see a 'Twilight Soi' book from a guy named Stapleton. Looks promising. It is fairly recently. 

 

On Amazon.de you can read the introduction. I wonder how true it all is. He writes "any tourist entering X-size has a high chance of being robbed".  The book is from 2011. Sounds trustworthy? I never had issues in that bar. But maybe in 2011 this was the case?

No! It was not. Never heard of any such thing.  Straight bars, female hookers, and the dreaded Lady Boys are another matter and always have been. But, in the bar? 

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I checked the US Amazon site and this is the description:

 

"The Twilight Soi dwells on the dangers of one of the world's most beautiful and intoxicating cities, Bangkok. It is named after one of Bangkok's more infamous small streets, or sois as they are known. 

Soi Twilight runs off the main thoroughfare of Surawong in the centre of Bangkok's oldest entertainment district Patpong and is known to travelers around the world. It is here where touts from go-go boy bars such as Ocean boys, Bangkok Boys and Classic Boys hustle for the attention of local and international tourists."

 

He gets some names right but, in my book, confusing Soi Twilight with Patpong is hardly the mark of a knowledgeable author.

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There was a book written years ago by Michael former owner of Top Man Go Go in Sunee Plaza about the history of Pattaya gay scene., can't remember the name though Lol.

I find a lot of " gay" Thailand related books up at Canterbury Tales bookshop in Soi Chaiyapoon

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A book I enjoyed several years ago was, I think, S P Somtow's 'Jasmine Nights' set in an eccentric Thai family. I need to say 'I think' as I recommended it to a friend who was reading it in his pool, with predictable results, so I can't check on the shelf.

 

I have to admit to a weakness for John Burdett's detective novels, lead character Dective Sonchai Jitpleecheep son of a former 'working girl' and current bar owner. I habitually check to see if he has a new book out whenever I am in Bangkok. 

Thanks Curtis - I have just bought Jasmine Nights for my Kindle. Looks like it will be a good read

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Here is a list of books you might enjoy:

 

The Force of Karma - Pira Sudham - Shire Books

Monsoon Country - Pira Sudham - Shire Books

People of Esarn - Pira Sudham - Shire Books

The Judgment - Chart Korpjitti - Thai Modern Classics

The Path of the Tiger - Sila Khoamchai - Thai Modern Classics

Gold by the Inch - Lawrence Chua - Grove Press

Falcon at the Court of Siam - John Hoskin - Asia Books

Dear Uncle Go - Peter A. Jackson - Bua Luang Books

Bangkok 8 - John Burdett - Knopf

Bangkok Tattoo - John Burdett - Knopf

Bangkok Haunts - John Burdett - Vintage

Catfish and Mandala - Andrew X. Pham - Picador USA (Vietnamese)

The King Never Smiles - Paul M. Handley - Yale University Press

 

Hope this helps...

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The "Falcon at the court of Siam" is a good read and you'll learn about the early French involvement in SE Asia and the origin of the word Farang.

 

John Burdett's books are good and on Kindle from Amazon - I'll check out the Pira Sudham books, all in all, a very nice list.

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The King Never Smiles - Paul M. Handley - Yale University Press

 

just a word of caution: this one is illegal in Thailand, so don't bring it into the country as a holiday read, or it might land you in jail.

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I just finished a fantastic read called Saigon by Anthony Grey - it is a massive novel about an American family's ties to Vietnam and gives insight to pre-war French rule up to the sad American involvement.

 

Excellent novel. Equally absorbing is Graham Greene's The Quiet American written almost 30 years earlier. It portrays Vietnam at the end of the dreadful French rule and the start of American influence in the country.

 

Someone mentioned Cocktail Boys about gogo bar life in Thailand. There is little in the story lines we have not read somewhere before. I found it quite boring and did not enjoy it.

 

For anyone interested in Cambodia, Sideshow: Kissinger, Nixon and the Destruction of Cambodia by William Shawcross is utterly absorbing. Shawcross was one of the first journalists to visit the country after the Khmer Rouge were toppled by the Vietnamese. For a personal view on the Khmer Rouge years, The Gate by Francois Bizot is quite short but will have you perplexed and also in tears.

 

Distinguished by its intense dignity, by its unexpected attention to beauty, and by a discretion which never shades into coyness, The Gate should immediately be numbered among the great post-Second World-War memoirs of incarceration... In particular, it provides one of the finest accounts of the strange intimacy which can flourish between prisoner and interrogator.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2003/jan/12/biography.highereducation

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I checked the US Amazon site and this is the description:

 

"The Twilight Soi dwells on the dangers of one of the world's most beautiful and intoxicating cities, Bangkok. It is named after one of Bangkok's more infamous small streets, or sois as they are known. 

Soi Twilight runs off the main thoroughfare of Surawong in the centre of Bangkok's oldest entertainment district Patpong and is known to travelers around the world. It is here where touts from go-go boy bars such as Ocean boys, Bangkok Boys and Classic Boys hustle for the attention of local and international tourists."

 

He gets some names right but, in my book, confusing Soi Twilight with Patpong is hardly the mark of a knowledgeable author.

 

 

 

It doesn't appear from your quote that the author is confusing Soi Twilight with Patpong, as it does indeed run off Surawong, in the entertainment district known as Patpong.

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