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Books Set in Asia: Southern Countries

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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.

Three tilted book covers with The Rivers Song teal cover in the center

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 three 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.

Books Set in Southern Asia

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Throughout the list, we noted the books currently available as part of Kindle Unlimited Subscriptions.

Books Set in Southern Asia, words with book covers for Tea Planters Wife, Golden Age, I Am Malala and Written in the Stars

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Tuesday 15th of March 2022

I’m looking forward to your list for 2022! I would like to recommend The Rent Collector by Camron Wright as a Cambodia book

Angela Rathbun

Tuesday 15th of March 2022

The Rent Collector is a great book! We have it on our list of books set in the 2000s, but we’ll consider adding it to this list as well!

Books Set on Islands - Book Girls' Guide

Thursday 20th of May 2021

[…] month, we read books set in Southern Asia – a region that includes many island nations. Our book lists for Western Europe and Northern […]

Roberta Biallas

Monday 3rd of May 2021

This month, I think I'll journey to Nepal and climb Mount Everest! So, I'm starting 'Into Thin Air' by Jon Krakauer.

Steph Gardiner

Saturday 24th of April 2021

Wow! This may be the hardest month to choose just one book! I may have to try and power through a few instead :-) Absolutely loving this challenge! <3

Kathryn Lang-Slattery

Wednesday 21st of April 2021

Another great book list for May! So much to read.... this time, I've only read 3 of the books previously and at least 15 of the others really grab my interest. I plan to keep your lists as guides for book selection long after this challenge is finished.