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).
Ever wonder where all these mega-rich Russians came from? You know the type - the ones who buy and sell football teams, own mega-expensive motor cars and yachts. Well, this week’s book Outlaws Inc. (ISBN 978-0-283-07132-4, Sidgwick and Jackson, 2011) might just give you the answer, and it revolves around selling off unclaimed State assets.
When I originally picked up this book Romancing the East (ISBN-13: 978-0804843201, Tuttle Publishing, 2013) I thought it was an anthology collated by well-known writer Jerry Hopkins. I could not have been more wrong as was painfully obvious when I began to read the first chapter called “Joseph Conrad”. These chapters were not re-hashed writings from the great authors such as Rudyard Kipling, Pearl S. Buck, George Orwell, Graham Greene, E.M. Forster, et al, but were dissertations on their writings by Hopkins himself.
One of the biggest problems with travel manuals is that they go out of date too quickly. Prices are wrong, or the enterprise has shifted or gone bust (many places close before they have their grand opening).
A ‘Kiss and Tell’ book this week, with a lady going by the name of Scarlett O’Kelly detailing what it is/was like to be a professional escort, read sex worker.
Paying For It (ISBN 978-0-241-96323-4, Penguin, 2012) begins with the usual provisos you would expect such as false names (both hers and the clients), backgrounds, towns, and anything that might pinpoint her or where she worked.
Noam Chomsky has made a name for himself (and justified) as being a deep thinker who believes in democracy and also the fact that everyone should be able to view and comment on political directions. Unfortunately we know this is not a universal situation.