The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner

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What makes a nation happy? Is one country’s sense of happiness the same as another’s? In the last two decades, psychologists and economists have learned a lot about who’s happy and who isn’t. The Dutch are, the Romanians aren’t, and Americans are somewhere in between…
After years of going to the world’s least happy countries, Eric Weiner, a veteran foreign correspondent, decided to travel and evaluate each country’s different sense of happiness and discover the nation that seemed happiest of all.
·He discovers the relationship between money and happiness in tiny and extremely wealthy Qatar (and it’s not a good one)
·He goes to Thailand, and finds that not thinking is a contented way of life.
·He goes to the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, and discovers they have an official policy of Gross National Happiness!
·He asks himself why the British don’t do happiness?
In Weiner’s quest to find the world’s happiest places, he eats rotten Icelandic shark, meditates in Bangalore, visits strip clubs in Bangkok and drinks himself into a stupor in Reykjavik. Full of inspired moments, The Geography of Bliss accomplishes a feat few travel books dare and even fewer achieve: to make you happier.

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River of Pearls by Mary Stickney

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The river of life has followed an unusual course for Mary Stickney. World traveler, artist and writer, she became familiar with American embassies and diplomatic outposts abroad while the wife of a U.S. Foreign Service agricultural scientist.
In River of Pearls, she recounts adventures and family life in Southeast Asia during the Viet Nam War era. The story begins in exotic Bangkok, Thailand, and continues to Manila, Bataan, Corregidor and remote mountain villages of the Philippines. The journey also travels to Saigon and Danang, South Viet Nam, as the author spent time there as a civilian with her husband, who was working in a pacification program of the U.S. Agency for International Development.
After retuning to America, she found herself suddenly alone, went back to college and shaped a new life and a new career for herself.
Writing from her journals with a personal, colorful style, she illuminates the wonders, excitement, the sorrows and the surprising joys of exploring far corners of the globe with an open heart and mind.

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Farang: Thailand Through The Eyes Of An Ex-pat by Iain Corness

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Dr Ian Corness fell in love with Thailand on a holiday in 1975, and finally managed to move there permanently in 1997. As a settled farang, or foreigner, he enjoys a unique perspective on Thai life and all its eccentricities; looking in from the outside while also getting to see the things most foreigners don’t.
Like all good doctors and authors, Corness provides comfort for the aches and pains of ex-pat life. His stories and anecdotes are full of the joys of life, and celebrate this exotic and exciting land in all its glory, with painfully funny observations.
From a date with a fortune teller to tales of a reincarnated squid, Corness revels in the chaos and charm of `the only country where you can be run over by a shop.’
This is a book to be enjoyed by tourists and Thais alike.

The Damage Done: Twelve Years Of Hell In A Bangkok Prison by W. Fellows

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Think about the most wretched day of your life. Maybe it was when someone you loved died, or when you were badly hurt in an accident, or a day when you were so terrified you could scarcely bear it. No imagine 4,000 of those days in one big chunk.
In 1978, Warren Fellows was convicted in Thailand of heroin trafficking and was sentenced to life imprisonment. The Damage Done is his story of an unthinkable nightmare in a place where sewer rats and cockroaches are the only nutritious food, and where the worst punishment is the khun deo – solitary confinement, Thai style.
Fellows was certainly guilty of his crime, but he endured and survived human-rights abuses beyond imagination. This is not his plea for forgiveness, nor his denial of guilt; it is the story of an ordeal that no one would wish on their worst enemy. It is an essential read: heartbreaking, fascinating and impossible to put down.
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