One of those quick, easy questions that I ask periodically because the answer is always changing:
What are you reading right now? (And, is it good? Would you recommend it? How did you choose it?)
I’m actually in between books: turning the last pages of Bangkok: A Cultural History by Maryvelma O’Neil and delving into Christopher Bram’s Mapping the Territory. I found them both in Thailand where I was on vacation a month ago. Maryvelma O’Neil is an art historian so Bangkok: A Cultural History emphasizes on the vicissitudes of the Thai capital through art history, architecture, and literature. It’s neither a history on an academic scale nor a conventional travel guide. An average tourist would not care for this depth and details. What I enjoy the most is how the author tries to put into perspective the contradicting religious beliefs and the city’s strive for modernity–and she succeeds. I am reading this book at the most appropriate time. Let me explain. If I read this book before my first trip to Bangkok, I would find all these information and historical background very overwhelming. Now that I have been to Thailand several times and have a reasonably good knowledge of the country, the book only adds more context to my travel experiences.
Mapping the Territory is an essay collection by Christopher Bram, who wrote some of my favorite fictional works like Lives of the Circus Animals and Exiles in America. The collection ranges through such topics as the power of gay fiction, coming out in the 1970s in Virginia, low-budget filmmaking with friends in New York, and the sexual imagination of Henry James. I’m reading this one because Bram has another book out titled Eminent Outlaws that I wish to read, so I better get caught up with him. The non-fiction streak continues!