Having reviewed some autobiographies of rock stars recently, I was given a copy of a biography of one of Britain’s richest men, with the background being Formula 1 motor racing. The book, No Angel (ISBN 978-0-571-26936-5, Faber and Faber 2012), has as a subtitle “The Secret Life of Bernie Ecclestone,” the owner of the F1 rights, and these days a multi billionaire, but someone who came from an impoverished background, both financially and emotionally.
My favorite (and closest) Bookazine is where I get many of the books for review. However, when I boldly turned the corner into the store this week, I was met with a blank wall. Renovations or similar, I suppose. And no book for the Pattaya Mail’s book reviewer!
I make no apologies for this week’s book review. Poetic Gems, selected from the works of William McGonagall was first printed in 1890, long before the advent of the ISBN numbering system. My personal copy is from the seventh impression struck in 1954 and was handed down by my father, so has sentimental value as well as literary merit.
Thai Lottery, author Matt Carrell, is another self-published book (or one without an ISBN number at least). The book sent down for review has one story, Thai Lottery, chosen as the title for the book, plus another dozen or so short stories. These have names such as “The birds and the beers”, “West Ham Vs Tottenham - Pattaya style”, “Crazy medicine”, and “Eat your heart out, Nicole Kidman”.
Thanks to a lady called Michelle in Singapore, another Jerry Hopkins book landed on my desk. Thank you Michelle. Entitled Thailand Confidential (ISBN 0-7946-0093-X, Periplus publishing, 2005), this is one of Hopkins’ 30 books, and I wondered if I would enjoy this one as much as I enjoyed Romancing the East, which I reviewed recently.
The name Father Joe Maier should be well known in Thailand, and especially in Bangkok where his ministry covers the infamous Klong Toey slums. He has been living there for the past 30 plus years, and is a veritable icon in the surroundings, where the poorest of the poor live, or ‘exist’. Some are drug addicts, some are carriers of the HIV, some are children who have inherited HIV and others are just human failures from many different reasons.
A rather different book this week, and one that I found initially very confusing. Watching the Thais, was written by Tom Tuohy (ISBN 978-178-17666-9-9, 2012, published in the UK by Feed-A-Read.com), but the cover was obviously one of Mike Baird’s cartoons. Had Mike assumed a nom de plume, I wondered on opening the book, expecting to see more cartoons? But no, this was a serious book which was using a Mike Baird original cartoon as the front cover. “Curiouser and curiouser,” said Alice!
This week’s book was written by Jerry Hopkins, an author with over 30 books to his credit. He wrote Bangkok Babylon (ISBN 978-0-8048-4077-4, Tuttle Publishing) in 2005, but the subject matter makes this book really timeless.
A first book for author Craig Hurren, but one that seems to have caught the imagination of the reading public, with several insisting I review The Killing Code (ISBN978-148-234-969-6, 2013, self-published).
This week’s book is very different from the more usual ones reviewed in this column. Richard Watson, a futurist, has put together a very thought-provoking book titled 50 Ideas you really need to know, The Future (ISBN 978-1-78087-159-2, Quercus Science, 2013).