Love reading but fancy making it more sociable? Easy — just sign up to one of the many Bangkok book clubs.
As you’d expect in such a big city, there are a large handful of book clubs for English speakers, reading all manner of tomes from Austen to the latest in ASEAN political discourse.
Here we’ve listed the best of them – take a look and see which one piques your interest. Each club’s Meetup page is linked to in the headings.
This is the largest book club in Bangkok, with over 900 Meetup members at the last count. We can only assume that a much smaller proportion actually attend the monthly meetings.
The club meets at Hemingway’s on Sukhumvit Soi 14 and is known for being a relaxed and friendly environment.
Novels are the order of the day here, with recent discussion focusing on The UnAmericans by Molly Antopol, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.
This brilliantly named book club again meets every month, this time at The Admiral’s pub on Sukhumvit Soi 24.
Books to be discussed are voted for in advance by members who are given a choice of three, with the main criterion being that it must have “stood the test of time”.
Previous books include Atonement by Ian McEwan, Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene, and The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid.
This is a quasi-intellectual gathering with the intention to discuss themes like writing style, genre, socioeconomic trends and what’s in the zeitgeist, with the focus on a particular book.
The Lit Society meets on the first Tuesday of every month and each month a book is chosen by a different member, who then serves as that month’s host. That person will prepare questions and some introductory material, as well as leading the discussion.
Book choices range widely anywhere between fiction, poetry, cognitive science, archaeology and more. Past choices have included How to Pass as Human and Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.
This group meets regularly to read and discuss 100 Ideas that Changed the World by Time Magazine at a location in Laksi.
Native English and intermediate ESL speakers are welcome to attend in these sessions lead by Steven Sills, a teacher of advanced critical reading, writing, American literature and conversation for ASEAN classes at Ramkhamhaeng University.
Previous sessions have examined the journey from animism to polytheism to monotheism in Egypt, then replicated by Judaism; the creation of a rudimentary geometry in Ancient Egypt; and the Buddhist heaven or Nirvana.
Not quite your traditional book club in any sense, these bi-weekly meetings invite readers to drink together and read to themselves — no book discussions or mandated book!
Previous locations have included Mikkeller in Phra Khanong, the SkyTrain Jazz Bar at Victory Monument and Dexter Cafe.
They haven’t been active for a while according to their Meetup profile so feel free to give them a nudge.
Definitely something of a specialist study group, members study and share the teachings of Dr Wayne Dyer – described as an influential leader in spiritual consciousness and self-motivation – through books, audio and video.
Previous topics have included mind mastery and how to propagate positive mental thoughts.
Again, this looks as though it may need a nudge or for someone new to step in and take over the helm.
There are also plenty of writing workshops and meet-up groups in Bangkok, which I’ll document soon too.
Featured image is by Louis de Mont (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)