100 books like Burmese Days

By George Orwell,

Here are 100 books that Burmese Days fans have personally recommended if you like Burmese Days. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Glass Palace

Ron Emmons Author Of Teak Lord

From my list on exploring colonialism in Southeast Asia.

Who am I?

During 30 years living in Chiang Mai, Thailand, I have developed a deep appreciation of Northern Thai culture and a fascination with its 700-year history. Though the region escaped being colonised as were nearby Laos (by the French) and Burma (by the Brits), a teak boom in the late 19th century came close to pulling it under the colonial yoke as Western trading companies muscled in. Teak Lord explores the frequently fragile relationships between circumspect Asians and adventurous Westerners, against a background of shifting borders and impenetrable jungle.

Ron's book list on exploring colonialism in Southeast Asia

Ron Emmons Why did Ron love this book?

Amitav Ghosh is one of my favourite historical novelists and his ability to bring his characters to life draws readers into the web of this epic tale. The story begins in Burma in the shadow of the "Glass Palace" in Mandalay, from where King Thibaw has recently been exiled by the British. It then spans an entire century, following the lives of several characters, particularly Rajkumar, who begins as a food-stall assistant and after many years working in the teak forests, he manages to buy a timber yard of his own. If you enjoy this novel, don’t miss the Ibis Trilogy, about the opium trade in China and India.

By Amitav Ghosh,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Glass Palace as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The International Bestseller from the Man Booker Prize shortlisted author

'An absorbing story of a world in transition' JM Coetzee

'A Doctor Zhivago for the Far East' The Independent

Rajkumar is only another boy, helping on a market stall in the dusty square outside the royal palace, when the British force the Burmese King, Queen and all the Court into exile. He is rescued by the far-seeing Chinese merchant, and with him builds up a logging business in upper Burma. But haunted by his vision of the Royal Family, he journeys to the obscure town in India where they have…


Book cover of Heart of Darkness

S.J. Butler Author Of Last Orders

From my list on stories of human adventures written in a captivating style.

Who am I?

Having written in the genre of psychological/crime thriller fiction for some years, I am always drawn to original voices, particularly those who are prepared to go that extra mile to produce something fresh or a concept that hasn’t been touched on before. With this kind of writing, it is quite easy to get pigeonholed, and the author has to be as meticulously authentic as they possibly can. Thinking and then using the absurd in writing is probably the best endorsement for any book; the stranger, the better. In this modern, media-fueled world, you always have to go to different places and ignite new ideas and narratives. 

S.J.'s book list on stories of human adventures written in a captivating style

S.J. Butler Why did S.J. love this book?

Joseph Conrad is the grand master of storytelling! A captivating read for those who love this genre of writing, it's totally addictive from beginning to end. It's a story that you never tire of returning to (I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read it).

If you are interested in humanity and, in particular, man’s inhumanity to man, you will love this novel. Being that the film Apocalypse Now was based on this story shows its importance.

It's a delightful, must-read, a great start for any reader indulging in Conrad for the first time. I’m a real fan. He is someone who has definitely influenced me as a writer.

By Joseph Conrad,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Heart of Darkness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Although Polish by birth, Joseph Conrad (1857–1924) is regarded as one of the greatest writers in English, and Heart of Darkness, first published in 1902, is considered by many his "most famous, finest, and most enigmatic story." — Encyclopaedia Britannica. The tale concerns the journey of the narrator (Marlow) up the Congo River on behalf of a Belgian trading company. Far upriver, he encounters the mysterious Kurtz, an ivory trader who exercises an almost godlike sway over the inhabitants of the region. Both repelled and fascinated by the man, Marlow is brought face to face with the corruption and despair…


Book cover of The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave, Related by Herself

Angela Woollacott Author Of Gender and Empire

From my list on how gender helped empires to rule the world.

Who am I?

I’ve been teaching university courses on gender and colonialism for about thirty years. I find students engage with the stories of the daily lived reality of women and men in the past. The books on my list are ones I have assigned at universities in two different countries. It’s so powerful to read someone’s own story from centuries ago, in their own words, like that of Mary Prince. While I love to recommend fiction to history students, I’ve always been fussy about only assigning novels set in a time period and context that the author knew first-hand. It makes these stories—like Heart of Darkness, Burmese Days, and Coonardoo—truly historical evidence. 

Angela's book list on how gender helped empires to rule the world

Angela Woollacott Why did Angela love this book?

We all know that slavery was practised by many empires through world history, but it is rare to find the voice and life experience of someone who was enslaved. Literary scholar Moira Ferguson has edited and republished the memoir of Mary Prince, who was born into slavery in Bermuda but escaped in 1828 when her owners took her to London. Mary Prince found refuge with anti-slavery reformers, who wrote down and published her account of her life. I find it a searing account of how enslaved people were torn from their own families and loved ones, and the brutality of their lives in the Caribbean. Be warned: the sexual assault, violence, and cruelty are shocking. But if you want to know about slavery, this book will tell you.

By Mary Prince,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave, Related by Herself as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mary Prince was the first black British woman to escape from slavery and publish a record of her experiences. In this unique document, Mary Prince vividly recalls her life as a slave in Bermuda, Turks Island, and Antigua, her rebellion against physical and psychological degradation, and her eventual escape to London in 1828.

First published in London and Edinburgh in 1831, and well into its third edition that year, The History of Mary Prince inflamed public opinion and created political havoc. Never before had the sufferings and indignities of enslavement been seen through the eyes of a woman-a woman struggling…


The Fornax Assassin

By J.C. Gemmell,

Book cover of The Fornax Assassin

J.C. Gemmell Author Of The Fornax Assassin

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Inclusive What-if worrier Eco-warrior Mountain trekker Ten-mile runner

J.C.'s 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

In 2038 a devastating pandemic sweeps across the world. Two decades later, Britain remains the epicenter for the Fornax variant, annexed by a terrified global community.

David Malik is as careful as any man to avoid contact with the virus. But when his sister tests positive as an asymptomatic carrier, she must relocate to Fornax Island to join the isolated population of contagious untreatables. Fortunately, the British prime minister’s latest manifesto includes reintegrating the islanders with the nation. Yet, he does not survive a visit to Fornax Island to unveil his new policies.

The military suspects one of its junior officers is responsible for his death. Malik seizes his chance to represent the possible assassin, allowing him to protect his sister. Yet within days of taking on the case, he finds himself accused of masterminding the assassination. 

The Fornax Assassin

By J.C. Gemmell,

What is this book about?

2038: a devastating pandemic sweeps across the world. Two decades later, Britain remains the epicentre for the fornax variant, annexed by a terrified global community.

David Malik is as careful as any man to avoid contact with the virus. But when his sister tests positive as an asymptomatic carrier, she must relocate to Fornax Island to join the isolated population of contagious-untreatables.

Fortunately, the British prime minister’s latest manifesto includes reintegrating the islanders with the nation. Yet, he does not survive a visit to Fornax Island to unveil his new policies.

The military suspects one of its junior officers is…


Book cover of Coonardoo

Angela Woollacott Author Of Gender and Empire

From my list on how gender helped empires to rule the world.

Who am I?

I’ve been teaching university courses on gender and colonialism for about thirty years. I find students engage with the stories of the daily lived reality of women and men in the past. The books on my list are ones I have assigned at universities in two different countries. It’s so powerful to read someone’s own story from centuries ago, in their own words, like that of Mary Prince. While I love to recommend fiction to history students, I’ve always been fussy about only assigning novels set in a time period and context that the author knew first-hand. It makes these stories—like Heart of Darkness, Burmese Days, and Coonardoo—truly historical evidence. 

Angela's book list on how gender helped empires to rule the world

Angela Woollacott Why did Angela love this book?

Katharine Susannah Prichard was one of Australia’s prominent 20th-century novelists, controversial because of her Communism. But her 1929 novel Coonardoo was considered outrageous, not because of its class politics, so much as its daring to tell a story of interracial love. Set on a remote cattle station in northern Western Australia, Coonardoo presents the veiled love story of the white station owner and an exploited Aboriginal servant. To me, the love story is plausibly told through a focus on their childhood bonding and shared affinity for the land. The historical value of the book now—limited by its presentation of Indigenous culture through a settler lens—is in cataloguing the terrible treatment of Aboriginal station workers, especially the sexual abuse of Aboriginal women, and in the nearby pearling industry.

By Katharine Susannah Prichard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Tells the story of Hugh Watt, heir to a cattle station in Australia who is trying to make it a successful ranch, and Coonardoo, his aborigine house slave.


Book cover of Black Skin, White Masks

Ilan Kapoor Author Of Global Libidinal Economy

From my list on psychoanalysis and politics.

Who am I?

I am a scholar of global politics, and I am drawn to psychoanalysis because it studies the unseen in politics, or rather, those things that are often in plain sight but remain unacknowledged. For example, why is it that, especially in this information economy, we are well aware of the inequality and environmental destruction that our current capitalist system is based on, but we still continue to invest in it (through shopping, taking out loans, using credit cards, etc.)? Psychoanalysis says that it's because we are unconsciously seduced by capitalism—we love shopping despite knowing about the socioeconomic and environmental dangers of doing it. I’m fascinated by that process of disavowal.

Ilan's book list on psychoanalysis and politics

Ilan Kapoor Why did Ilan love this book?

This is one of the first books that “blew my mind” when I was a young university student: it remains the one I constantly return to because it seeks to understand the psychoanalytic foundations of racism under French colonialism.

Fanon was only 27 when his book was first published in 1952, but his reflections provide a stunningly passionate and layered view on how anti-Black racism (de)forms the subjectivity of both white and Black people, locking them into constructions of whiteness/blackness that require constant questioning.

His arguments on the psychoanalytic and political underpinnings of racism remain as relevant today as they were in his time.

By Frantz Fanon, Richard Philcox (translator),

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Black Skin, White Masks as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Few modern voices have had as profound an impact on the black identity and critical race theory as Frantz Fanon, and Black Skin, White Masks  represents some of his most important work. Fanon’s masterwork is now available in a new translation that updates its language for a new generation of readers.
A major influence on civil rights, anti-colonial, and black consciousness movements around the world, Black Skin, White Masks is the unsurpassed study of the black psyche in a white world. Hailed for its scientific analysis and poetic grace when it was first published in 1952, the book remains a…


Book cover of Siamese White

Ron Emmons Author Of Teak Lord

From my list on exploring colonialism in Southeast Asia.

Who am I?

During 30 years living in Chiang Mai, Thailand, I have developed a deep appreciation of Northern Thai culture and a fascination with its 700-year history. Though the region escaped being colonised as were nearby Laos (by the French) and Burma (by the Brits), a teak boom in the late 19th century came close to pulling it under the colonial yoke as Western trading companies muscled in. Teak Lord explores the frequently fragile relationships between circumspect Asians and adventurous Westerners, against a background of shifting borders and impenetrable jungle.

Ron's book list on exploring colonialism in Southeast Asia

Ron Emmons Why did Ron love this book?

When I read this gripping biography of Samuel White from Bath in England, who rose from being an interloper in the trade of Southeast Asia to become ruler of a huge tract of land on the Andaman Coast of Siam/Burma, I was smiling and shaking my head at the improbability of it all. White’s outlandish and piratical adventures are comparable to the wild exploits of Pirates of the Caribbean, and at times left me gasping in disbelief. Maurice Collis is little known these days, yet his two decades (1912–1934) as an administrator in Burma made him the ideal candidate to recount this remarkable tale.

By Maurice Collis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Foremost among the biographies that Maurice Collis wrote during his wide-ranging literary career is Siamese White - an account of the career of Samuel White of Bath who, during the reign of James II, was appointed by the King of Siam as a mandarin of that country. The book superbly embodies that old adage - truth is stranger than fiction.

'A magnificent story, full of interest and excitement, but there is more to it than that. Collis, who has lived for years on the scene of these high happenings, is able to give us a first-hand picture of a fascinating…


Book cover of Teak-Wallah: The Adventures of a Young Englishman in Thailand in the 1920s

Ron Emmons Author Of Teak Lord

From my list on exploring colonialism in Southeast Asia.

Who am I?

During 30 years living in Chiang Mai, Thailand, I have developed a deep appreciation of Northern Thai culture and a fascination with its 700-year history. Though the region escaped being colonised as were nearby Laos (by the French) and Burma (by the Brits), a teak boom in the late 19th century came close to pulling it under the colonial yoke as Western trading companies muscled in. Teak Lord explores the frequently fragile relationships between circumspect Asians and adventurous Westerners, against a background of shifting borders and impenetrable jungle.

Ron's book list on exploring colonialism in Southeast Asia

Ron Emmons Why did Ron love this book?

This memoir of a teak inspector working in the forests of North Siam offers a fascinating glimpse into the life of an Englishman coming to terms with an alien culture and environment in the 1920s. Campbell’s sharp observations and dry wit carry the reader through the steps involved in teak logging, from girdling the trees to felling, dragging, and floating them downstream, and offer the chance to share encounters with man-eating tigers and rogue elephants along the way.

By Reginald Campbell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Teak-Wallah as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Here is a bold and entertaining account of the life of a European teak inspector working in the heart of the Thai countryside in the 1920s. Beginning with a description of his voyage, Campbell conveys the adventure and the loneliness, the beauty and the terror, that was the White Man's lot and sprinkles his narrative with pithy anecdotes about his various encounters. Teak-Wallah is an evocative tale of a world that still exists, but in which the European no longer has a role.


Book cover of A Single Pilgrim

Ron Emmons Author Of Teak Lord

From my list on exploring colonialism in Southeast Asia.

Who am I?

During 30 years living in Chiang Mai, Thailand, I have developed a deep appreciation of Northern Thai culture and a fascination with its 700-year history. Though the region escaped being colonised as were nearby Laos (by the French) and Burma (by the Brits), a teak boom in the late 19th century came close to pulling it under the colonial yoke as Western trading companies muscled in. Teak Lord explores the frequently fragile relationships between circumspect Asians and adventurous Westerners, against a background of shifting borders and impenetrable jungle.

Ron's book list on exploring colonialism in Southeast Asia

Ron Emmons Why did Ron love this book?

Norman Lewis is best known for his non-fiction works such as The Golden Land (about Burma) and A Dragon Apparent (about Vietnam). Yet he also wrote a dozen novels that show a great flair for characterisation, dialogue and plot pacing, in addition to his incisive descriptions. A Single Pilgrim tells the story of John Crane, manager of a teak logging company in North Thailand, who revels in “the voluptuousness of routine and civilized triviality”. However, his company’s leases are about to expire and the thought of an end to his Oriental idyll is more than Crane can bear.

By Norman Lewis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Single Pilgrim as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Rewriting Adam

N. MacCameron Author Of Leoshine, Princess Oracle

From my list on combining science fiction with fantasy.

Who am I?

I love knowing about things. Science is both a knowledge base and a way to discover new knowledge. I’ve been looking through microscopes and telescopes (that my dad built) from my earliest toddling. Though I have never been to university I have picked the brains of my scientific siblings (one of whom is a biology professor) and I read widely. Gathering crumbs from many sources gives a wider knowledge base than one university child afford. Scientists begin with speculation. I love inventing systems and worlds where we break one or a few of our known laws of nature or physics. Marrying science with fantasy births marvelous offspring!

N.'s book list on combining science fiction with fantasy

N. MacCameron Why did N. love this book?

Lost, confused, and feeling the victim, Ethan visits Thailand. He falls down a sinkhole into an alternate reality. Even more lost among really weird people, feeling even more confused and victimized, he learns the true meaning of life. But can he get back to live his real life?

Who hasn’t tumbled into Ethan’s emotions? We go along thinking we’re doing good and suddenly the worst happens. We didn’t deserve any of it yet we’re stuck alone and destitute in it.

Ethan meets an archaeologist who introduces him to indigenous people and their ghost stories. I love cultural studies, sociology,  archaeology, anthropology, and linguistics, all sciences represented in this story. Reality gets smudged and blurred, but love, loyalty, and forgiveness remain true and unshaken in this beautiful story of redemption.

By Connie Mae Inglis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this debut novel from Connie Mae Inglis, readers travel with Ethan Adam on his quest to find answers to questions he has barely articulated.


All his life, Ethan's felt betrayed by the ones he's loved.


Feeling homeless, and without hope, Ethan travels from the Canadian prairies to Southeast Asia, searching for he knows not what.


When his path crosses with an archaeologist heading to an unexplored area of northern Myanmar, Ethan goes on a journey into an Edenesque world of welcoming telepathic humans, strange voices, and a cunning enemy. For what purpose? He doesn't know.


Can he figure it…


Book cover of The Burman: His Life and Notions

Rory MacLean Author Of Under the Dragon: Travels in a Betrayed Land

From my list on Myanmar from someone who has traveled throughout it.

Who am I?

Rory MacLean is one of Britain's most innovative travel writers. His books – which have been translated into a dozen languages — include UK top tens Stalin's Nose and Under the Dragon as well as Pravda Ha Ha and Berlin: Imagine a City, "the most extraordinary work of history I've ever read" according to the Washington Post which named it a "Book of the Year". Over the years he has travelled throughout Burma – apart from when banned by the military government for his writings – coming to know it as a deeply-wounded and fractured golden land of temple bells, be-medalled generals who enrich themselves through drug deals and ever-optimistic men and women who fight on to restore its ‘democratic transition’.

Rory's book list on Myanmar from someone who has traveled throughout it

Rory MacLean Why did Rory love this book?

Should a Sunday-born man marry a lady born on Wednesday? To bring luck is a house to be built on male, female or neuter foundation posts? George Scott served as Frontier Officer for three decades at the end of the nineteenth century, but his enduring legacy is as a collector and sympathetic chronicler of the old ways in a country ‘where people are small and ghosts are big’.

By Sir George Scott,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it.

This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.

Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. To ensure a quality reading experience, this work has been…


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