March 30, 2009

Spoils from the National Book Fair, part 1: Anake Nawigamune

This would be a very long post if I told you about all the books I bought last Thursday, but I'd be remiss if I didn't share a few. (The ones I plan to give away in April will remain top secret for now.)

I can't resist the books of Anake Nawigamune (เอนก นาวิกมูล). I first discovered him in 2005 through the book แกะรอย ก ไก่ ("in search of k. kai"), a fantastic book that traces the history of the words associated with the letters of the Thai alphabet (ไก่ ไข่ ควาย, etc.) It's out of print and very difficult to find. I still don't own my own copy.

The man is very prolific, with more than 50 titles to his name. He uses the same English author's blurb on most of his books:
Anake Nawigamune was born on March 14, 1953 in Ranot District, Songkhla and graduated in Political Science from Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, in 1977.

He does research on and writes about art, culture, and history. He is particularly interested in Thai traditional folk songs, early photography in Thailand, in dating the introduction into Thailand of various western inventions, in collecting antiquities and in historical anecdotes, since the age of 15 gathering pictures taken by himself and others recording changes in the appearance of towns and buildings as well as in daily life.

He began serious study of the art and culture of his country in 1972 and enjoys writing on subjects in this field.
He is also the founder of the House of Museums (บ้านพิพิธภัณฑ์). His recent works are published by the small publishers สายธาร and แสงดาว.

Many of his earlier titles were published by แสงแดด. มติชน and พิมพ์คำ have also published books of his. And while several of those are technically out of print, they are also not difficult to locate, especially at the National Book Fair. Just ask around at the used book shops, or go to the booths of the publishers I've mentioned.

At the book fair last Thursday, I picked up three more Anake titles:

ชวนหัวยุคคุณหลวง, a collection of jokes and other humor from the reigns of Rama V (r.1868-1910) and Rama VI (r.1910-1925). In it he even cites the 1865 joke I wrote about from the Bangkok Recorder as the first published joke in Thai!
Published by สำนักพิมพ์แสงแดด (1998). 124 pages. ISBN 974-7162-72-5

แรกมีในสยาม ๔, the fourth volume in a series of books focusing on the introduction of western things to Thailand. This volume includes articles on the sapodilla (ละมุดฝรั่ง), legal marriage (การจดทะเบียนสมรส), and the first Thai woman to travel abroad. Back in the states I used to borrow the earlier volumes through inter-library loan from Cornell. I have yet to find them for purchase.
Published by สำนักพิมพ์แสงแดด (1998). 166 pages. ISBN974-7162-70-9

ปกิณกะ ร.๕, an assortment of articles about Rama V. It includes articles on his childhood, his photography, artistic depictions of him, his work on behalf of agriculture, and other topics.
Published by สำนักพิมพ์แสงแดด (1998). 153 pages. ISBN 974-7162-74-1

I could probably write 1,000 posts based on all the fascinating stuff in Anake's books. Highly recommended.


  1. Oh, you went yet another time. I'm looking forward to the 1000 blog postings, which would be a great thing waiting for his works will get translated into English (or I learn enough Thai to read them).

  2. Hi-
    I am trying to contact Anake Nawigamune to ask him about Thai lithographs of the Life of the Buddha dating from 1890. I will be in Bangkok May 24-June 1, can you suggest how I can find him? Also, where is the House of Museums located, so I can find that when I am there?