Reading list inspiration for travel
Books & eBooks
- A Guide to the Royal Tombs of HuéView on ApproachGuides.com* This guidebook helps you get the most from your visit to the Nguyen tombs, a UNESCO World Heritage site. With high-resolution images and insights available nowhere else, it is an invaluable companion for understanding what makes these a cultural treasure.
- Catfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled VoyageView on Amazon The story of an American odyssey—a solo bicycle voyage around the Pacific Rim to Vietnam—made by a young Vietnamese-American man in pursuit of both his adopted homeland and his forsaken fatherland. By Andrew X Pham.
- Communion: A Culinary Journey Through VietnamView on Amazon The author's unforgettable five-week culinary journey from Hanoi to Saigon, with signature recipes from each stop along the way. By Kim Fay.
- Fire in the LakeView on Amazon This landmark work takes us inside Vietnam — into the traditional, ancestor-worshiping villages and the corrupt crowded cities, into the conflicts between Communists and anti-Communists, Catholics and Buddhists, generals and monks — and reveals the country as seen through Vietnamese eyes. By Frances FitzGerald.
- Shadows and Wind: A View of Modern VietnamView on Amazon Drawing on hundreds of interviews in Vietnam and years of research, the journalist-author has produced the first in-depth examination of the problems facing modern Vietnam. By Robert Templer.
- The Art of ChampaView on Amazon Written by an international expert on Vietnamese art in conjunction with Musée Guimet's exhibition, this book describes and comments on the various styles of 5th century Cham sculpture. Valuable for travelers who plan to visit My Son. By Jean-Francois Hubert.
- The Eaves of Heaven: A Life in Three WarsView on Amazon Brilliantly re-creates the trials of everyday life in Vietnam as endured by one man, from the fall of Hanoi and the collapse of French colonialism to the frenzied evacuation of Saigon. By Andrew X Pham.
- The Quiet AmericanView on Amazon A classic, the novel explores — through the eyes of an English war correspondent and an American covert operative — Vietnam's transition from French colonial occupation to American involvement. By Graham Greene.
- The River’s Tale: A Year on the MekongView on Amazon The Mekong flows for three thousand miles, snaking its way through Southeast Asia. Drawn from the author's explorations, the book is a seminal examination of the river and its people, a testament to the their struggles, their defeats and their victories. By Edward Gargan.
- The Tale of KiêuView on Amazon Since its publication in the early nineteenth century, this long narrative poem — composed in Nom script — has stood unchallenged as the supreme masterpiece of Vietnamese literature, revealing Vietnam's tumultuous political situation through a smart retelling of a Chinese tale. By Nguyen Du; translated by Huynh Sanh Thong.
- The Things They CarriedView on Amazon Expertly combining aspects of memoir, novel and short stories, the book affords no-holds-barred view of being a soldier in the Vietnam war. By Tim O'Brien.
- Vietnam: A Traveler’s Literary CompanionView on Amazon A compilation of 17 stories, from contemporary Vietnamese writers living in Vietnam and abroad, take the literary traveler to extraordinary places: from the jungle-clad mountain ranges of the North to the mysterious silence of the old capital along the Perfume River. Edited by John Balaban and Nguyen Qui Duc.
Articles & Academic Papers
- “A Fish (Sauce) Tale”View on RoadsandKingdoms.com The in-and-outs of this Vietnamese staple. By Naomi Duguid.
- “Assessment of Power Sector Reforms in Vietnam”View on adb.org Power outages are regular occurrences in Vietnam. In this article, the Asian Development Bank's provides a comprehensive look at the existing system and outlines future directions.
- “Cham Maritime Technology: Basket-Hulled Boats”View on chamstudies.com A look at the basket-hulled boats — consisting of woven strips of bamboo that have been caulked with various substances — that are unique to Central Vietnam. By David G Sox aka Che Sah Binu.
- “Deep in Vietnam, Exploring a Colossal Cave”View on NYTimes.com For the adventurous who endure the trek to reach the giant Hang En cave, the rewards are otherworldly. By David W Lloyd.
- “Frame Structure of Vietnam Traditional Wooden Architecture”View on civil.uminho.pt An expert from Vietnam's Institute for Conservation of Monuments provides a detailed explanation of the country's trademark architecture. By Le Thanh Vinh.
- “Karst and Caves of Ha Long Bay”View on speleogenesis.info The geology of the bay's hundreds of small limestone islands that rise steeply or vertically from shallow waters. By Tony Waltham.
- “Learning to Love ‘the People’s Food’ in Ho Chi Minh City”View on NYTimes.com At Vietnamese restaurants in America, all kinds of foods are served together — noodles, soups, stir-frys, spring rolls. But in Vietnam, restaurants are often devoted to a single dish. By Matt Gross.
- “Scripts, Signs and Swords: the Việt Peoples and the Origins of Nôm”View on sino-platonic.org A detailed review of the origins, history and workings of Literary Chinese-inspired Nom (aka chu Nom), the first writing system known to have been used for Vietnamese. By C Michele Thompson.
- “Some Things Poetry Can Tell Us about the Process of Social Change in Vietnam”View on kyoto-u.ac.jp An exceptionally insightful article on how Vietnamese poetry produces effective social commentary using ambiguity and, more generally, how the nature of the Vietnamese language makes it conducive to word-play and multiple interpretations. By Neil L Jamieson.
- “The Hué Citadel in the Transition of Urban Composition During the Rise and Fall of the Nguyen Dynasty in the 19th Century”View on Kansai University website The paper gives a general view on the urban composition and urbanization of Hué based on the two political periods of the feudalistic period (1802—1884) and period of colonization (1884—1899). By Thi Ha Thanh Nguyen.
- “The Scene of the Crime”View on NewYorker.com A reporter’s journey to My Lai and the secrets of the past. By Seymour M Hersh.
- “The Spy Who Loved Us”View on NewYorker.com The double life of Time’s Saigon correspondent during the Vietnam War. By Thomas A Bass.
- “The Vietnam Solution”View on TheAtlantic.com How a former enemy became a crucial U.S. ally in balancing China’s rise. By Robert D Kaplan.
- “Why the Bastards Wouldn’t Stand and Fight”View on London Review of Books website What really happened in Vietnam? Despite more than a thousand books and endless finger-pointing and breast-beating by the major American participants, no satisfactory account of what transpired there has yet appeared. By Murray Sayle.
Online Sources & Blogs
Just for Kids
- ChopsticksView on Amazon This is the story of Chopsticks. They've been best friends forever, but one day, they have to figure out how to function apart. By Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Scott Magoon.
- Inside Out and Back AgainView on Amazon Inspired by the author's childhood experience of fleeing Vietnam after the Fall of Saigon and immigrating to Alabama, this coming-of-age novel offers a touching child's-eye view of family and immigration. By Thanhha Lai.
- The Queen of WaterView on Amazon This poignant novel, based on a true story, recounts one girl's unforgettable journey after she is sold off by her parents as a servant to an academic, mestizo family. By Laura Resau and Maria Virginia Farinango.
- Vietnamese Children’s Favorite StoriesView on Amazon A charming collection of fifteen tales as told by prominent storyteller, Tran Thi Minh Phuoc. By Phuoc Thi Minh Tran and Dong Nguyen and Hop Thi Nguyen.
Who to Follow
- Twitter: Hanoi GrapevineFollow @HanoiGrapevine Art and culture events in Vietnam: concerts, art, film, theatre | Sự kiện văn hóa nghệ thuật ở Việt Nam: hòa nhạc, nghệ thuật, phim, kịch.
- Twitter: Preeti JhaFollow @PreetiJha AFP Southeast Asia correspondent reporting on Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam & Laos via HK. Ex-BBC London politics journalist. From the Welsh valleys.
- Twitter: Thanh Nien NewsFollow @News_Vietnam Breaking news and analysis from Vietnam's leading news agency. WE KNOW VIETNAM.
- Twitter: Very VietnamFollow @veryvietnam See what Vietnam is talking about today. All the latest news in English, tweets, blogs, and trends. Pop culture, the latest scandals, and more...
- Twitter: Word VietnamFollow @WordVietnam Everything you want to know about life in Vietnam and more...