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Whether you found this list searching for books about Asia or are participating in the Book Voyage reading challenge, we hope you find the perfect book set in southern Asia on this list.
From the treacherous peak of Mt. Everest to the tropical beaches, southern Asia is incredibly diverse, both in its landscape and its people. It is one of the most densely populated regions on Earth. It is also home to two of the four most populous countries in the world (India and Indonesia). Throughout the countries of southern Asia, there are hundreds of different ethnic groups and languages spoken, in addition to many popular religions. Often, these differences exist within countries as well.
PS: You can read all about the Book Voyage challenge, find new book lists each month, and download your free printable map book tracker, with a color-coded map of each region here.
For purposes of the Book Voyage reading challenge, we consider southern Asian countries to include: Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Timor-Leste, the Philippines, and Brunei.
If you don’t find the country you’re looking for, be sure to check out our northern Asia book recommendations.
We’re horrified by the increased violence against Asian Americans that has happened over the past two years. Our hope is that, in addition to traveling virtually through their pages, these books will also help us all gain and spread a deeper respect for our fellow humans. You can read more of our thoughts about the power of books here.
Often, Southeast Asia is viewed as a vacation destination with many visitors unaware of the area’s history. Countries in this region have endured extreme circumstances in recent years, including the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia and the 26-year Sri Lankan civil war (that ended in 2009).
In compiling this reading list, we found an abundance of great books written by authors from each country. They provide authenticity and will help us all gain a deeper understanding of this region.
As always, you are welcome to choose any book set in this region that you’d like, but we’ve compiled some of the best books set in Asia’s southern countries. We included many great novels and eye-opening historical fiction, heartbreaking as well as uplifting memoirs, and well-researched non-fiction reads.
Next up, find our list of books that take place on an island.
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