I love travelling around SE Asia, but Thailand stands out as my favorite so far. The food, the people, the history all roll up into a fun and interesting package for this happy wanderer. After visiting Thailand twice, I wanted to learn more about some of the odds and ends of the culture I saw. The nerdy anthropologist in me was curious to know the history and reasoning behind ladyboys, kickboxing and those little Buddha statues I saw on the dashboards of every taxi in Bangkok.
Well, I found the perfect book. Very Thai is comprised of 3-4 page articles covering everyhting from Thai soaps to the wai greeting. Cornwel-Smith and Goss are long-term expats in Thailand and they did an amazing job covering Thai culture from the traditional (the King) to the very contemporary (smartphone-wielding monks).
Loaded with color photos of ladyboys and kickboxers, this 256-page hardcover book answered some of my questions, taught me some new things and gave me a list of stuff to look for on my next trip this summer. Oh, a new edition just came out in 2013.