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.
The Geography of South Asia
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.
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.
What Kind of Books Are Included On This List?
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 decades, including the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia and the 26-year Sri Lankan civil war (that ended in 2009). We encourage you to pick a book that will help you learn something new about this region of the world.
We’ve curated a list with 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.
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.
We’re horrified by the increased violence against Asian Americans that has happened in recent 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.
Highly-Rated Books Set in Southern Asia
You are welcome to choose any book that you’d like to read for the challenge, but we hope that this list of books has given you a good starting point.
Sign Up for the Book Voyage Challenge
Sign up for our email list below to receive a free printable tracker for the Book Voyage Challenge. Our weekly email newsletter helps you stay on track with friendly reminders while still allowing you the flexibility to read at your own pace. Additionally, challenge participants have an opportunity to discuss the books on this list and to provide ratings and reviews via our book logs.
Book Recommendations for Other Regions
Find more recommendations for other regions of the world using the links below.
- Books Set in Africa
- Books Set in Western Europe
- Books Set in South America
- Books Set in North America
- Books Set in the Middle East
- Books Set on a Form of Transportation
- Books Set in Asia: Northern Countries
- Books Set in Asia: Southern Countries
- Books Set in Australia and New Zealand
- Books Set in Eastern Europe & Russia
- Books That Take Place On an Island
- Books Set in Antarctica and the Arctic
- Books that Span Multiple Continents