100 books like A Brief History of Bali

By Willard A. Hanna,

Here are 100 books that A Brief History of Bali fans have personally recommended if you like A Brief History of Bali. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Land Below the Wind

Neill McKee Author Of Finding Myself in Borneo: Sojourns in Sabah

From my list on exotic Asian travel and adventure.

Why am I passionate about this?

My first travel memoir, Finding Myself in Borneo, has won three awards. I hold a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in Communication from Florida State University. I worked internationally for 45 years, becoming an expert in the field of communication for social change. I directed and produced a number of award-winning documentary films/videos, popular multimedia initiatives, and have written numerous articles and books in my field. I worked and lived in Asia, Africa, and Russia for a total of 18 years and traveled to over 80 countries on short-term assignments. In 2015, I settled in New Mexico, using my varied experiences, memories, and imagination in creative writing.

Neill's book list on exotic Asian travel and adventure

Neill McKee Why did Neill love this book?

This book gives readers a clear picture of what it was like for an American woman, married to a British colonial, to live in North Borneo just before the Japanese Army invaded in 1942. It was truly an innocent place so far from the cares of the world. I read it in 1968, just before my first sojourn in Sabah, Malaysia. Much had changed by then, but it helped me understand the experiences of some of the older people I met. Today, Sabah remains a land “below the wind” (located south of the annual tropical cyclone belt.) But, as I mention in my book, it is no longer below the “political storms” as China battles the US and five other nations over the rights to the South China Sea.

By Agnes Keith,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Land Below the Wind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book was written during an era when Sabah was known as North Borneo, and when life was very much different from today s. Reprinted many times, this classic, of Agnes Keith s observations and reflections of the time, is a true-to-life record of society and culture then and of the captivating natural beauty of Sabah. Today, Sabah continues to be known as the land below the wind , a phrase used by seafarers in the past to describe all the lands south of the typhoon belt, but which Agnes effectively reserved for Sabah through her book. One of few…


Book cover of The Last Wild Men of Borneo: A True Story of Death and Treasure

Golda Mowe Author Of Iban Journey

From my list on to experience life-changing adventures.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated with travel and adventure stories since I read The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton. I finished a whole Walter Scott book; with a dictionary balanced on one knee because Jeanie Deans decides to walk from Edinburgh to London. Romance? Bah! Humbug! I’d rather journey into The Heart of Darkness, follow the hobbits to Mount Doom, or ride a sandworm with Paul Atreides. Show me a lone traveler thrown into the middle of an unfamiliar, confusing culture and you have my full attention. Naturally, when I started typing out my first manuscript, it just had to be a fantasy adventure about an Iban headhunter.

Golda's book list on to experience life-changing adventures

Golda Mowe Why did Golda love this book?

What must we treasure? That is the question that came to mind when I was reading this book. Is a vanishing lifestyle or a piece of indigenous art worth risking your life and reputation for? Two men – Bruno Manser and Michael Palmieri – dodged the draft then went on to live dangerously. These real-life Robinson Crusoe and Indiana Jones eventually made their way into the jungle of Borneo, where they tried to save for posterity what they believed was important to the history of human culture. Hoffman presents their stories in a riveting style that is perfect for adventure lovers.

By Carl Hoffman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Last Wild Men of Borneo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A 2019 EDGAR AWARDS NOMINEE (BEST FACT CRIME) • A BANFF MOUNTAIN BOOK AWARDS FINALIST

Two modern adventurers sought a treasure possessed by the legendary “Wild Men of Borneo.” One found riches. The other vanished forever into an endless jungle. Had he shed civilization—or lost his mind? Global headlines suspected murder. Lured by these mysteries, New York Times bestselling author Carl Hoffman journeyed to find the truth, discovering that nothing is as it seems in the world’s last Eden, where the lines between sinner and saint blur into one.

In 1984, Swiss traveler Bruno Manser joined an expedition to the…


Book cover of Ghost Train to the Eastern Star

Neill McKee Author Of Finding Myself in Borneo: Sojourns in Sabah

From my list on exotic Asian travel and adventure.

Why am I passionate about this?

My first travel memoir, Finding Myself in Borneo, has won three awards. I hold a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in Communication from Florida State University. I worked internationally for 45 years, becoming an expert in the field of communication for social change. I directed and produced a number of award-winning documentary films/videos, popular multimedia initiatives, and have written numerous articles and books in my field. I worked and lived in Asia, Africa, and Russia for a total of 18 years and traveled to over 80 countries on short-term assignments. In 2015, I settled in New Mexico, using my varied experiences, memories, and imagination in creative writing.

Neill's book list on exotic Asian travel and adventure

Neill McKee Why did Neill love this book?

When I retired from my 45-year career as an international filmmaker and multimedia producer, I decided to concentrate on creative nonfiction writing, using my experiences and memories as a basis for the many stories I wanted to tell. I began to read and listen to travel memoirs to learn how to write in a captivating and entertaining way. Paul Theroux is one of the top writers in this genre and Ghost Train to the Eastern Star is one of his best. He doesn’t make it to Borneo, but reaches many familiar places I traveled to during my years in Southeast Asia. I love his style, full of descriptions of those old haunts, and his dialog with the people he encounters on his journey.

By Paul Theroux,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ghost Train to the Eastern Star as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Paul Theroux's Ghost Train to the Eastern Star is a journey from London to Asia by train.

Winner of the Stanford Dolman Lifetime Contribution to Travel Writing Award 2020

Thirty years ago Paul Theroux left London and travelled across Asia and back again by train. His account of the journey - The Great Railway Bazaar - was a landmark book and made his name as the foremost travel writer of his generation. Now Theroux makes the trip all over again. Through Eastern Europe, India and Asia to discover the changes that have swept the continents, and also to learn what…


Book cover of The White Rajahs of Sarawak

Neill McKee Author Of Finding Myself in Borneo: Sojourns in Sabah

From my list on exotic Asian travel and adventure.

Why am I passionate about this?

My first travel memoir, Finding Myself in Borneo, has won three awards. I hold a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in Communication from Florida State University. I worked internationally for 45 years, becoming an expert in the field of communication for social change. I directed and produced a number of award-winning documentary films/videos, popular multimedia initiatives, and have written numerous articles and books in my field. I worked and lived in Asia, Africa, and Russia for a total of 18 years and traveled to over 80 countries on short-term assignments. In 2015, I settled in New Mexico, using my varied experiences, memories, and imagination in creative writing.

Neill's book list on exotic Asian travel and adventure

Neill McKee Why did Neill love this book?

Sarawak is the neighboring East Malaysian state of Sabah. It would be difficult to understand how northern Borneo evolved without understanding its colonial history. James Brooke, a British man born in India, became the Rajah of Sarawak when he helped the Sultan of Brunei put down pirates that threatened his kingdom. The Brooke dynasty brought many reforms and established an orderly form of colonial government. It lasted for a hundred years through succeeding generations until the territory was handed over to the UK after the Japanese were defeated in World War II. But it is interesting that piracy was never totally controlled in the waters around northern Borneo. It remains a problem to this day. Fortunately, I was never captured!

By Robert Payne,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The White Rajahs of Sarawak as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The story of the Brooke dynasty, James, Charles, and Vyner, Rajahs of Sarawak for over a hundred years.


Book cover of Eat Pray Love

Jessica Hepburn Author Of Save Me from the Waves: An adventure from sea to summit

From my list on females adventure and change their life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an author and adventure activist who believes passionately in the power of big and small adventures to change your life for the better when you’ve been through dark and difficult times. I have written three books, all of which I describe as ‘alternative adventure stories’ because they don’t look like the usual ‘Boy’s Own’ tales of danger and derring-do (although they do include some of that, too!). I’m drawn to the words of wonderful women warriors who give me strength in times of sadness. These books have inspired me to live big and bravely in what is often a challenging but (mainly) wonderful world.

Jessica's book list on females adventure and change their life

Jessica Hepburn Why did Jessica love this book?

This is a book that changed my life. In fact, I probably want to be Elizabeth Gilbert. Witty, wise, and wonderful, it made me want to go to Italy to eat, to pilgrimage to India to pray, to fall in love in Bali, and to write about that journey.

I read it nearly twenty years ago and it still inspires me today.

By Elizabeth Gilbert,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Eat Pray Love as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

_________________ OVER 15 MILLION COPIES SOLD WORLDWIDE _________________ 'Eat, Pray, Love has been passed from woman to woman like the secret of life' - Sunday Times 'A defining work of memoir' - Sunday Telegraph 'Engaging, intelligent, and highly entertaining' - Time _________________ It's 3 a.m. and Elizabeth Gilbert is sobbing on the bathroom floor. She's in her thirties, she has a husband, a house, they're trying for a baby - and she doesn't want any of it. A bitter divorce and a turbulent love affair later, she emerges battered and bewildered and realises it is time to pursue her own…


Book cover of The World Odyssey of a Balinese Prince

Terence Ward Author Of Searching for Hassan: A Journey to the Heart of Iran

From my list on counter history to enrich your world view.

Why am I passionate about this?

The excitement of new visions! Ever since growing up surrounded by Arabian deserts and then Iran’s mountains, I’ve been fascinated with diverse cultures. My path led me to Cairo and Berkeley for university and then onto Greece, Indonesia, and Italy. Today’s dominant world histories remain rooted in Anglo-American narratives. Only by challenging enshrined status quos, can we capture the truth, often long hidden. Now, an interest for critical storytelling may capture a fuller picture. History needs to be told not only from the point-of-view of the victors, but also the vanquished. Counter histories create bridges of dialogue, where there were none. This is what inspires me.

Terence's book list on counter history to enrich your world view

Terence Ward Why did Terence love this book?

Pucci’s book breaks all the clichés about Bali by writers over the last five decades. It offers an eye-opening world view - not only of the island of Bali - through the true stories of Dr. Djelantik. His mission, as a physician, take him to the most remote regions of the planet. He faces all sorts of dangers, even the arrest by Saddam Hussein’s secret police. In each situation, he responds with humanity and a sublime sense of humor. His extraordinary life is grounded in a constant search for truth. Imbued with wonder and magic, these stories awaken a feeling of “lightness of being” in this uncertain age. An incomparable vision of life that offers timeless guidance.

By Idanna Pucci,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The World Odyssey of a Balinese Prince as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

**Skipping Stones Honor Award Winner**

The true story of a prince from Bali, whose fascinating life was shaped by uncommon events and exotic places.

Born in 1919, Prince Made Djelantik witnessed pivotal moments of history: the twilight of a feudal age, the Second World War in Nazi-occupied Holland, Indonesia's long battle for independence from four hundred years of Dutch colonial rule, and finally, the great changes provoked on his island by unbridled development.

Driven by an early passion for medicine, the prince set sail for Europe on the eve of WWII to study at the University of Amsterdam. His calling…


Book cover of Yoga Bitch: One Woman's Quest to Conquer Skepticism, Cynicism, and Cigarettes on the Path to  Enlightenment

Meryl Davids Landau Author Of Warrior Won

From my list on conveying yoga’s deep teachings.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an award-winning author of novels and magazine articles. You can find my articles—many on mind-body and spiritual topics—in Oprah magazine, Prevention, National Geographic, and more. I started doing yoga back in my twenties when a woman almost-literally floated by me at the gym. When someone said she was the yoga teacher, I got off the spin bike and followed her into the class. I’m now a certified yoga teacher and longtime meditator. I’ve studied many classic yoga treatises, but it’s so much more fun to read—and to write—books that deliver yoga’s deep philosophies in a lighthearted, easily digestible way. 

Meryl's book list on conveying yoga’s deep teachings

Meryl Davids Landau Why did Meryl love this book?

This spunky yoga memoir came out more than a decade ago (the same time as my first women’s yoga novel), and it remains my all-time favorite fun yoga read.

When 25-year-old, death-obsessed, cigarette-smoking Morrison follows her beloved yoga teacher on a Bali retreat, she’s too cynical to believe everything she’s learning. Still, she gives it her best shot (even while occasionally feeling called to wine, brownies, and “the prana of the Prada”).

When Morrison finally stops trying to reach her unattainable ideal of enlightenment, she comes to understand that self-acceptance is a key yoga aim. If you haven’t read this laugh-out-loud book, do so now!

By Suzanne Morrison,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Yoga Bitch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What happens when a coffee-drinking, cigarette-smoking, steak-eating twenty-five-year-old atheist decides it is time to get in touch with her spiritual side? Not what you’d expect . . .
 
When Suzanne Morrison decides to travel to Bali for a two-month yoga retreat, she wants nothing more than to be transformed from a twenty-five-year-old with a crippling fear of death into her enchanting yoga teacher, Indra—a woman who seems to have found it all: love, self, and God.
 
But things don’t go quite as expected. Once in Bali, she finds that her beloved yoga teacher and all of her yogamates wake up…


Book cover of Take Off Your Shoes: One Man's Journey from the Boardroom to Bali and Back

Meryl Davids Landau Author Of Warrior Won

From my list on conveying yoga’s deep teachings.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an award-winning author of novels and magazine articles. You can find my articles—many on mind-body and spiritual topics—in Oprah magazine, Prevention, National Geographic, and more. I started doing yoga back in my twenties when a woman almost-literally floated by me at the gym. When someone said she was the yoga teacher, I got off the spin bike and followed her into the class. I’m now a certified yoga teacher and longtime meditator. I’ve studied many classic yoga treatises, but it’s so much more fun to read—and to write—books that deliver yoga’s deep philosophies in a lighthearted, easily digestible way. 

Meryl's book list on conveying yoga’s deep teachings

Meryl Davids Landau Why did Meryl love this book?

Most yoga memoirs and novels are written by women, so I was intrigued when I first stumbled on this book by a hard-charging CEO who picks up his family and moves to Bali.

While there, Feder takes up yoga, meditation, and painting. Like any good yoga memoirist, he details all the ways the sabbatical transforms him, his relationship with his kids and, upon returning to the U.S., his work life. But he’s also honest about how the mind tries to sabotage his efforts at every turn.

I very much enjoyed this book and think it’s especially valuable for men looking to take a similar inward spiritual journey (even if, like the protagonists of my yoga novels, they never leave home).  

By Ben Feder,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Take Off Your Shoes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Eat, Pray, Love for busy executives, Take Off Your Shoes invites the reader to join a journey of self-rediscovery.

If 10% Happier made you more mindful, and Wild more adventuresome, Take Off Your Shoes will ground you and help you find your soul.

"The magic of Ben Feder's narrative is that we see our own lives unfold as we travel alongside him on his journey. His poignant inner monologue touches us and emboldens us to make braver choices in our own lives. We are left richer for the voyage." Eric Langshur, author of the New York Times bestseller Start…


Book cover of Bitter Bonds: A Colonial Divorce Drama of the Seventeenth Century

Anne Walthall Author Of The Weak Body of a Useless Woman: Matsuo Taseko and the Meiji Restoration

From my list on amazing women during the age of the samurai.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was studying Japan in graduate school, my advisor once told me that he hoped I wouldn’t pursue research in women’s history, calling it a fad. He was wrong, but it took me well over ten years to figure that out. Thanks to colleagues and friends, I helped build the field of Japanese women’s history in English, especially for the early modern period. As professor emerita at the University of California, Irvine, I remain committed to the possibility of uncovering the lives of yet more amazing women who challenge the stereotypes of docile wife and seductive geisha all too prevalent in fiction set in Japan.

Anne's book list on amazing women during the age of the samurai

Anne Walthall Why did Anne love this book?

Few seventeenth-century women traveled as far as Cornelia van Nijenroode. Born on the island of Hirado off the coast of Kyushu around 1624 to a Dutch father and Japanese mother, she was taken by the Dutch East India Company to Batavia, Indonesia, in 1637. A family portrait now in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam shows her with her first husband and daughters. Alas, he died young, leaving her prey to fortune hunters. When her second husband refused to allow her to continue with her commercial enterprises, she tried to divorce him, a struggle that took her all the way to Holland. Her story highlights the dangers of marriage when one is a wealthy widow, but also Cornelia’s grit in standing up to a legal system stacked against her.

By Leonard Blusse,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Bitter Bonds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 17th-century Batavia, Cornelia von Nijenroode, the daughter of a geisha and a Dutch merchant in Japan, was known as ""Otemba"" (meaning ""untamable""), which made her a heroine to modern Japanese feminists. A wealthy widow and enterprising businesswoman who had married an unsuccessful Dutch lawyer for social reasons found that just after their wedding, husband and wife were at each other's throats. Cornelia insisted on maintaining independent power of disposal over her assets, but legally her husband had control over her possessions and refused to grante her permission to engage in commerce. He soon began using blackmail, smuggling, and secret…


Book cover of The Ten Thousand Things

Idanna Pucci Author Of The Lady of Sing Sing: An American Countess, an Italian Immigrant, and Their Epic Battle for Justice in New York's Gilded Age

From my list on far-flung places and times.

Why am I passionate about this?

Early in life, I felt the presence of a “guardian angel” who would take my hand and accompany my mind to imagine distant cultures. I grew up in Florence, and in our history, there were so many tales of people coming from afar, and of Florentines traveling across deserts and oceans. And as time passed, I would be drawn to beautifully written true stories which opened windows onto different epochs and dramas of life in both near and far-flung places of the world.

Idanna's book list on far-flung places and times

Idanna Pucci Why did Idanna love this book?

This true story occurred over twenty years starting in 1920. A haunted garden on a small island of the Indonesian Maluku archipelago. Here, Felicia has spent her early childhood with her grandmother, the last of an old line of Dutch spice growers. Felicia returns from Europe, after a ruinous marriage, with her baby son Willem. The plantation, overgrown and abandoned, reaches down to the blue-green waters. Felicia and her grandmother settle down again together to the ebb and flow of life surrounded by clove and nutmeg trees, and mystery. But slowly strange events happen in that Garden of Eden and a fascinating story of violence and murder unfolds in a world dominated by the psychic forces of nature, where nothing is predictable or a cliche. 

By Maria Dermout,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Ten Thousand Things as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Wild, Cheryl Strayed writes of The Ten Thousand Things: "Each of Dermoût’s sentences came at me like a soft knowing dagger, depicting a far-off land that felt to me like the blood of all the places I used to love.” And it's true, The Ten Thousand Things is at once novel of shimmering strangeness—and familiarity. It is the story of Felicia, who returns with her baby son from Holland to the Spice Islands of Indonesia, to the house and garden that were her birthplace, over which her powerful grandmother still presides. There Felicia finds herself wedded to an uncanny…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Indonesia, the Netherlands, and India?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Indonesia, the Netherlands, and India.

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