bangkok books

Recent releases. And I've read them already.

My folks instilled a love for reading in my brothers and I. Those bastards. I read a lot. On the average, I read three to four books a week. Mostly Harlequin romances (kidding). Mystery and thriller genres do it for me in fiction, anything historical or political works in nonfiction. Right now I’m polishing off the crop of Republican presidential nominee candidates’ ghost written books, which I think still qualify as nonfiction. I don’t intend on voting for any of those crazies, but it is interesting to see just what level of craziness they are willing to admit to. It’s a pretty high bar they’ve set.

Fiction-wise, there are a few authors I really enjoy and scoop up their latest as soon as it available. In paperback. I can afford the hard cover edition, and if it’s thick enough to last at least half a plane ride to Asia I’ll pick up a new release for the trip. But since Tom Clancy quit writing, there are seldom any hardback books of sufficient length for the flight (and yeah, I know he just wrote a new one. Read it already.) For most authors I’ll wait for the paperback edition. And hope the author is popular enough for one of the discount chains to carry his books so I can pick one up for around seven dollars instead of the ten dollar going price these days.

And why am I telling you this? (Besides that it’s my blog and I can post whatever the hell I feel like?) Because for some odd publishing quirk a lot of the hot authors’ newest books are available in Thailand a few months before they are back home. So every trip to SE Asia means at least one trip to a bookstore to stock up on titles I won’t see yet back home. I get a hard-on when Jeffery Deaver has a new one out that I can snag early in Bangkok. If it is a Lincoln Rhyme title, my stiffy would make Viagra proud. And I’ll even cough up enough baht for that book in hardback.

Paperback books in Thailand are not cheap. They average about ten bucks each, but unlike back home the price fluctuates in Thailand. From one title to the next. Sometimes you’re lucky and they run 275 baht. Other times they’ll be 360 baht. I’m not sure how they figure the difference or why they are not a standard price like in the U.S. And Canada. And the U.K. But then that’s Thailand for you.

asia books

Bangkok booksellers have the latest paperback bestsellers before they debut in the U.S.

Asia Books tends to have sales so I try and check one of their branches out first. On this trip I scored David Baldacci’s latest on sale for 220 baht. And at the airport they had a buy 2 get 1 free promotion so I even stooped as low as purchasing a Clive Cussler novel. Clive’s books are a quick read, a single setting usually for me, and though I’ve been reading him since high school his books show up at the used book store often enough and in large enough quantities that I usually wait.

And that’s one of the draws of Chiang Mai. Tons of used bookstores. So I not only grab a few dozen books while up north, but trade in those I’ve finished rather than carry the load back home with me. It’s a pain in the ass to haul a library around the planet with you. If I see another touri engrossed in a book similar to whatever I just finished reading, I’ll usually offer mine to them. You can tell if the person is a real reader. Their eyes light up at their sudden good fortune.

I don’t like to throw a book in the trash, even if it was a trashy novel. It just doesn’t seem right. I tried to leave a book I’d just finished on the plane once when I landed to transfer in Taipei. But when I went to board the next flight, they had my book waiting for me. Kudos to EVA, but ya know: thanks for nothing.

I’m not a luddite and in fact am a bit of a techno-junkie. But I just can’t get my brain wrapped around the idea of a Kindle. Call me old fashioned – which is a lot nicer than what most people call me – but a Kindle is not a book. It’s a piece of plastic that lights up. I think they should have made the original product more like a book to lure book lovers in. But then as quickly as technology advances that probably would have been a nonstarter for the industry. The iPad will end up replacing the Kindle. Like next week. Regardless, I’ll be one of the hold outs who demands a paper version until they force me to go electronic.

chiang mai's gecko books

Chiang Mai has more used bookstores than 7/11s.

So if you are an avid reader and need yet another excuse to ignore the rising cost of travel and make the trip to Thailand, now you have one: Michael Connelly has a new Harry Bosch title coming out next month.

Related Posts You Might Enjoy:

Gems, Scams, and Greed in Thailand

Gems, Scams, and Greed in Thailand

Totally Flipped

Totally Flipped

All Aboard For The Chiang Mai Handcraft Factory Tour

All Aboard For The Chiang Mai Handcraft Factory Tour