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I am a New York-based writer, travel lover, and author of The Drive North and Destination Paranormal. I have several other books in the works, including fiction.

Bangkok Babylon

I have read countless armchair travel stories about authors making a journey to a destination which they find noteworthy enough to write a book about. Heck, I even wrote one myself! I find most stories I read fascinating, as the authors paint a curious picture of a locale that many of us may never get an opportunity to visit. Jerry Hopkins did it differently, though. He wrote his book, Bangkok Babylon, not about his travels through Thailand, but instead about the people there – more specifically, the ex-pats living in Thailand.

Bangkok Babylon is a collection of interviews and stories author Jerry Hopkins compiled on ex-patriots living in Thailand, including – and possible most interestingly – one on himself. The profiles range from the lewd and daring to the saintly and admirable. The only thing they all have in common is that they’re each about an interesting and noteworthy personality living the ex-pat life in one of Southeast Asia’s most amazing countries. (Or so I’ve been told; one day I’ll travel there.)

My attention was instantly seized by Bangkok Babylon, as I quickly found I liked the approach Jerry Hopkins was taking in writing an armchair travel book. I loved learning about the most serious of travelers, those who move to a faraway country. And although it was a different approach to telling a story about traveling, it was still travel orientated – simply approached from a fresh perspective.

While I generally enjoyed all of the interviews and stories Jerry Hopkins told in Bangkok Babylon, I found it difficult to stay completely engrossed in the book. As is the case for me with compilations, I tend to drift away from them at about the midpoint. So, while on one hand I loved reading so many different stories and having the freedom to pick it up and put the book down without worrying about losing my place in a story, I also found it difficult to keep with it.

As I said, I overall liked what Jerry Hopkins did with Bangkok Babylon. I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in traveling to Thailand or Southeast Asia, as well as someone interested in a compilation of short and entertaining biographies. I laughed, I cringed, and overall, and most importantly, I was entertained and please with a book that takes a different angle when it comes to travel writing.

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