A Geek in Thailand | Language Reading Challenge Month 3 Culture & History / Language Resources

The books in this series are what I’ve read as a part of the Language Reading Challenge. You can find out more information on how to participate in the challenge in this post and you can linkup for your March book at the bottom of this post. 

This month, as a part of the Language Book Challenge, I read two books to fulfill the requirement to read either a travelogue or a travel book related to a country that speaks one of the languages that you are studying or that you plan to study.

The first book that I read as a part of the challenge was “A Geek in Thailand” by Jody Houton and the second was “The Only Street in Paris” by Elaine Sciolino.

A Geek in Thailand: Discovering the Land of Golden Buddhas, Pad Thai and Kickboxing by Jody Houton

While I am neither currently studying the Thai language nor planning on studying it, it is somewhere that I’ve wanted to travel to since visiting it’s neighbor, Malaysia, a couple years back. Actually, when I think on it, it’s been even longer – I’ve been a certified diver since I was fourteen and I’d heard about incredible diving trips to the country as long as I can remember.

Alas, I haven’t yet made it out to the Land of Smiles, but I was certainly able to take a trip vicariously through Jody Houton by reading his book “A Geek in Thailand”, and it was so well put together that it had me craving Thai food, a trip to one of its incredible resorts, and a dive with whale sharks (or just any dive out that way, really).

But the book did far more than just light a desire in me to visit. In fact, I learnt quite a few things about Thailand while reading this book. Things like the fact that Bangkok is sinking and might be below water as soon as 2030, that Pad Thai was created to reduce rice consumption within Thailand by Luang Phibunsongkhram, that Bangkok’s original name is quite a mouthful (in Thai AND in English), and how to avoid scams when traveling within the country.

A Geek in Thailand” is just packed with page after page of information about Thai culture and there’s a lot to digest, but the book was assembled in the perfect way to keep you immersed in it’s text. Set up in a magazine-like style, as though it’s meant to be read in short intervals, “A Geek in Thailand” is a relaxing and enjoyable read. While it contains quite a bit of information, the passages are divided up throughout the book into side columns and short sections so that your eyes can easily dart away at any time to take in the lively photos that decorate the pages.

The majority of the book discusses different aspects of Thai culture, cuisine, entertainment, and politics with the last chapter focusing in on travel in Thailand. I love that the majority of the book discusses Thai culture with only a short section reserved for tourist information. And the best part about it is that it is written from the perspective of someone who has experienced all of these things as both a visitor to and resident of Thailand.

Book: A Geek in Thailand: Discovering the Land of Golden Buddhas, Pad Thai and Kickboxing
Author: Jody Houton
Pages: 159 pages
Publisher: Tuttle Publishing
Publication Date: 2016

The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue de Martyrs by Elaine Sciolino

I tried out the samples of several books before I settled on “The Only Street in Paris” by Elaine Sciolino. There was just something about her writing style that kept me turning the pages. Plus, it helps that the book covered one of my particularly favorite subjects – Paris.

I’ve read quite a few books about the history of Paris, but I really enjoyed this book for its unique focus – life on a single street both around the time of writing and in the past. It gives you a glimpse into Parisian living on an historic street in the City of Lights and has you craving a visit to a mom and pop fromagerie or poisonnerie while teaching you about repairing barometers and restoring historical artifacts.

I really enjoyed reading “The Only Street in Paris” and I only wish it was in French so that I could share it with my family back in France because I know they’d find interest in it too!

BookThe Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue de Martyrs
Authors: Elaine Sciolino
Pages: 320 pages
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: October 22, 2015

Language Reading Challenge Linkup

1. Share your post discussing the book that you’ve read this month. Submissions unrelated to the theme or links to your homepage will be deleted.

2. Link back to this post as a part of your post.

3. Follow the hosts: Shannon from Eurolinguiste, Lindsay from Lindsay Does Languages, and Alex Gentry from The Language Voyager.

4. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE: Please visit the site of the person who linked up immediately before you and leave them an encouraging comment! If you do not do this, you will be removed from the linkup.

Tips for Language Learning | Eurolinguiste

What about you? Do you have you read any books about travel that you enjoyed? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.



I'm a language lover, traveler and musician sharing my adventures and language learning tips over at Eurolinguiste. Join me on Facebook for daily language learning and travel tips!