The most recommended Sri Lanka books

Who picked these books? Meet our 19 experts.

19 authors created a book list connected to Sri Lanka, and here are their favorite Sri Lanka books.
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Where the Gods Dwell

By Manu S. Pillai,

Book cover of Where the Gods Dwell: Thirteen Temples and Their (Hi)stories

Sylvia Vetta Author Of Sculpting the Elephant

From the list on India recovering its past.

Who am I?

Thanks to access to a good community library, I developed an interest in history from the age of seven. My interest in India grew when I married Indian-born Atam Vetta. After teaching, I set up a business and was director of Oxford Antiques Centre. In 1998, while chair of the Thames Valley Art and Antique Dealers Association, I was invited to become the art and antiques writer for The Oxford Times. That was how my freelance writing career began but since 2016 I have concentrated on writing fiction and poetry but make occasional contributions to The Madras Courier.

Sylvia's book list on India recovering its past

Why did Sylvia love this book?

If you already know a lot about India and are interested in an unusual insight into the role of temples in the history, culture, architecture, and myths of the subcontinent, then this is for you. It will also introduce you to thirteen writers who include journalists, academics, and authors. Each one was asked to write about one temple, recounting its origins and the mythology and history surrounding it. It’s beautifully illustrated by Mistunee Choudhury. You can enhance the experience by googling the locations. It has introduced me to some must-see places to go on my want to visit list. I visited the unforgettable temples of Khajuraho and they appear in my own book.

By Manu S. Pillai,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Where the Gods Dwell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The great temples of the Indian subcontinent are uniquely fascinating spaces. Steeped in mythology and history, they are windows into a complex, often contrary culture. Where the Gods Dwell delves into the ‘(hi)stories’—history and mythology—of thirteen architectural marvels that have inspired awe, and not only in the hearts of the faithful.

Every essay in this book is an intriguing mix of historical detail, mythological narrative and architectural commentary, supplementing and complementing each other to tell a story that is more than the sum of its parts. From Pashupatinath in Nepal to the Nallur Kandaswamy in Sri Lanka, the Kamakhya in…

Book cover of The Lotus and the Artichoke: Vegan Recipes from World Adventures

Wendy Werneth Author Of Veggie Planet: Uncover the Vegan Treasures Hiding in Your Favorite World Cuisines

From the list on vegan travel.

Who am I?

I’ve been living a semi-nomadic lifestyle and traveling the globe for all my adult life, and travel has truly shaped who I am. In 2014, when I learned about the many advantages of a vegan lifestyle for my health, the planet, and the animals, I felt compelled to make the change. There was one thing holding me back, though, which was the fear that being vegan would ruin travel. Fortunately, I gave it a trial run anyway during a three-week trip to Greece and discovered that being vegan actually made traveling even more fun! Ever since, I’ve been sharing my global vegan discoveries on my website, the Nomadic Vegan.

Wendy's book list on vegan travel

Why did Wendy love this book?

Justin Moore, the creator of the Lotus and the Artichoke website and recipe book series, has spent years traveling the globe and joining locals in their kitchens, learning directly from them how to prepare their traditional dishes. All in vegan versions, of course!

This is the book that kicked off the series of cookbooks back in 2012, and it offers a great overview of delicious, authentic vegan dishes from around the world. If you’re interested in a specific cuisine, you may also want to check out Justin’s vegan recipe books on Mexican, Sri Lankan, Malaysian, Indian and Ethiopian cuisines.

He’s currently crowdfunding an update to the original book too, so keep an eye out for it when it hits the shelves!

By Justin Moore,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Escape into other culinary worlds with 100+ delicious vegan recipes inspired by my many years of travel & adventures in nearly 40 countries! Discover delicious Indo-Chinese dishes (mostly unknown outside India; beloved among Indians and backpackers), incredible Indian feasts, Chinese and Southeast Asian treats and wonders, Italian, French, German and other exciting European vegan variations and converted classics. You’ll find super tasty African medleys from the North, West and East, All-American go-to greats and family favorites, seductive sweets from around the world, and a variety of super-charged salads.


By Sonali Deraniyagala,

Book cover of Wave

Melanie Bishop Author Of My So-Called Ruined Life

From the list on inhabiting unthinkable loss.

Who am I?

When my father died in 1998, bladder cancer, I was 41 years old and privileged to be his primary caregiver for five weeks. My first major loss and it was as though a mack truck had been driven through my chest. Ten years later, my mother died, after nine years of dementia, which is like losing someone twice. That was a more ravaging grief. Twelve years later, my nephew died, a month away from his 36th birthday. And in 2022, one close friend of mine took his own life and another died of cancer at age 57. Grief is the subject I gravitate toward in the books I read and the essays I write. 

Melanie's book list on inhabiting unthinkable loss

Why did Melanie love this book?

This book is about the most horrifying loss imaginable: the author loses her parents, her husband, and her two young sons all at once, in the tsunami in the Indian Ocean, the day after Christmas, 2004. She and her family were spending the holiday in Sri Lanka when the wave hit and overtook the jeep in which they were attempting to flee. I can’t come up with a better justification for suicide than this—she’s lost everyone; she wonders why she was spared, just to suffer these losses every minute of every hour of every day. The book is both a horror story and a testament to human strength. I assure you, you won’t be able to put it down. 

By Sonali Deraniyagala,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Wave as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the PEN/Ackerley Prize 2014

The book opens and we are inside the wave: thirty feet high, moving at twenty-five mph, racing two miles inland. And from there into the depths of the author's despair: how to live now that her life has been undone?

Sonali Deraniyagala tells her story - the loss of her two boys, her husband, and her parents - without artifice or sentimentality. In the stark language of unfathomable sorrow, anger, and guilt: she struggles through the first months following the tragedy -- someone always at her side to prevent her from harming herself, her…

Medusa's Hair

By Gananath Obeyesekere,

Book cover of Medusa's Hair: An Essay on Personal Symbols and Religious Experience

Gillian Gillison Author Of She Speaks Her Anger: Myths and Conversations of Gimi Women: A Psychological Ethnography in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea

From the list on anthropology to understand women's myths and rites.

Who am I?

I grew up in a family of beautiful, accomplished women at a time when most women stayed home. But the spectacular women in my mother's family also suffered spectacularly, and I was determined to understand family life at its very roots. I studied anthropology and, over a 15-year period, lived in a remote part of the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea among a group of Gimi women who spent most of their time apart from men. I shared women's difficult daily lives, participated in their separate rites, learned their myths, and, through my writing, have devoted myself to giving them voices of their own.

Gillian's book list on anthropology to understand women's myths and rites

Why did Gillian love this book?

Given the general skepticism about Freud, it is hard to find a brilliant application of his theory of psychoanalysis in anthropology that also focuses on women. 

This book about Hindu-Buddhist religious devotees at Kataragama in southeastern Sri Lanka includes detailed case studies of female ascetic-ecstatics that explore the symbolism of long locks of matted hair. Obeyesekere demonstrates that the conventional distinction between personal and cultural symbols is inadequate and naive. 

By Gananath Obeyesekere,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Medusa's Hair as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The great pilgrimage center of southeastern Sri Lanka, Kataragama, has become in recent years the spiritual home of a new class of Hindu-Buddhist religious devotees. These ecstatic priests and priestesses invariably display long locks of matted hair, and they express their devotion to the gods through fire walking, tongue-piercing, hanging on hooks, and trance-induced prophesying.

The increasing popularity of these ecstatics poses a challenge not only to orthodox Sinhala Buddhism (the official religion of Sri Lanka) but also, as Gananath Obeyesekere shows, to the traditional anthropological and psychoanalytic theories of symbolism. Focusing initially on one symbol, matted hair, Obeyesekere demonstrates…

I Give You My Life

By Ayya Khema,

Book cover of I Give You My Life: The Autobiography of a Western Buddhist Nun

Elles Lohuis Author Of A Pilgrim's Heart

From the list on biographies of Western Buddhist women.

Who am I?

I write novels that enthrall, enrich, and enliven you. I've been student of Buddhism for more than thirty years and spend long periods of time with the most generous Tibetan Buddhist nuns in their monasteries in the remote Himalayas, relishing the solitude and contemplative life. Their tales of resilience are an enormous inspiration to me. The biographies of Western Buddhist women I’ve selected are everything I look for in ‘great writing’. The stories are engaging and entertaining, but also make us pause and reflect to appreciate the astonishing opportunities of the privileged times we live in, and challenge us once again to be and do better—every moment of this precious life.

Elles' book list on biographies of Western Buddhist women

Why did Elles love this book?

This is the life story of Ayya Khema (1923-1997), who was the first Western woman to be ordained a Theravadin Buddhist nun. In this book, she recounts her rich and adventurous life. Born in Germany to Jewish parents before WWII, she joined a children's transport group going to England after the Kristal Nacht. After a year she met up with her parents in Shanghai, where the Japanese invasion forced them to give up their lives and live in a ghetto. From there on, her life takes many turns. She marries, has children, travels all over, and eventually steps onto the spiritual path in later life. She ordains as a Buddhist nun, initiates Nun's Island, a Buddhist monastery in Sri Lanka, and eventually comes back to Germany to create Buddha Haus. Ven. Ayya Khema writes more ‘from a distance,' and although we do not always get a glimpse into her inner…

By Ayya Khema,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Give You My Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ayya Khema (1923-1997) was the first Western woman to become a Theravadan Buddhist nun. As such, she has served as a model and inspiration for women from all the Buddhist traditions who have sought to revive the practice of women's monasticism in modern times. Though her renown as a teacher is widespread, few know the truly amazing details of her life before her monastic ordination at the age of fifty-eight. And what a life it was. Born Ilse Kussel in Berlin, Germany, she grew up in a prosperous Jewish family that was broken up by Nazi terror in 1938. The…

The Ramayana

By Valmiki, Arshia Sattar (translator),

Book cover of The Ramayana

Nicholas Jubber Author Of Epic Continent: Adventures in the Great Stories of Europe

From the list on the greatest epics from around the world.

Who am I?

Nicholas Jubber has written for the Guardian, Irish Times and Telegraph, amongst other publications. He has won the Dolman Travel Book Award, for which he has been shortlisted three times, and his books have been picked by National Geographic, Wanderlust and the New York Times, amongst other publications, for their books of the year.

Nicholas' book list on the greatest epics from around the world

Why did Nicholas love this book?

The scale of this ancient Indian epic is off the charts, fusing Hindu iconography with story beats of startling familiarity. Monkeys build a bridge between India and Sri Lanka, an army of demons takes on the vanguard of the gods and the villain is felled by a celestial bow. An influence on storytelling down the ages – notably Star Wars – it’s a tale as exciting as it is charming, with a surprisingly downbeat coda, as Queen Sita discovers that being rescued by her divine husband isn’t enough to survive the prejudices of her age.

Which version to read? Arshia Sattar’s 1996 translation is available in Penguin translation. I can’t testify to its accuracy, but it’s a magnificent read.

By Valmiki, Arshia Sattar (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of India's greatest epics, the Ramayana pervades the country's moral and cultural consciousness. For generations it has served as a bedtime story for Indian children, while at the same time engaging the interest of philosophers and theologians. Believed to have been composed by Valmiki sometime between the eighth and sixth centuries BC, the Ramayana tells the tragic and magical story of Rama, the prince of Ayodhya, an incarnation of Lord Visnu, born to rid the earth of the terrible demon Ravana. An idealized heroic tale ending with the inevitable triumph of good over evil, the Ramayana is also an…

Brotherless Night

By V.V. Ganeshananthan,

Book cover of Brotherless Night: A Novel

David A. Taylor

From David's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Traveler Food lover Reader Music lover

David's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did David love this book?

I love being taken into a place I have never been; maybe I’ve only heard about. This novel brings me to a family in northern Sri Lanka at the start of the Tamil Tigers insurgency there.

The author draws on her family’s experiences and creates a totally convincing portrait of a family getting sucked into a violent conflict. The narrator is an absorbing character, and her window on life is very compelling.

It takes us through joyful, heartbreaking, and inspiring passages. I kept thinking about this story for a long time after I finished.

By V.V. Ganeshananthan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"A heartbreaking exploration of a family fractured by civil war. This beautiful, nuanced novel follows a young doctor caught within conflicting ideologies as she tries to save lives. I couldn't put this book down" BRIT BENNETT, bestselling author of THE VANISHING HALF

Sixteen-year-old Sashi wants to become a doctor. But over the next decade, as a vicious civil war subsumes Sri Lanka, her dream takes her on a different path as she watches those around her, including her four beloved brothers and their best friend, get swept up in violent political ideologies and their consequences. She must ask herself: is…

Elephant Complex

By John Gimlette,

Book cover of Elephant Complex: Travels in Sri Lanka

David Humphreys

From David's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Reader Writer Podcast host Board game fanatic Traveler

David's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did David love this book?

Maybe it’s true that the best travel writers can convince you to consider doing things that you wouldn’t do otherwise. This year alone, I have entertained ideas about piloting an aircraft over Africa (Beryl Markham) and driving the Pan-American Highway from Alaska to Argentina (Tim Cahill). 

Then there’s John Gimlette’s Elephant Complex: Travels in Sri Lanka. His combination of meticulous research, compelling story-telling, vivid description, and insightful interview made me want to walk through the tropical jungle, sleep in a tree house, meditate in a serene Buddhist temple, and savor scalding curry in Colombo.

Last year, I was a person who was only peripherally aware of Sri Lanka. And now, a mere 450 pages later, I’m a person who desperately wants to go.

By John Gimlette,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A gripping account of an under-reported island' Spectator, Book of the Year
'[A] brilliant new book about an island that has a geography from heaven and a history from hell' Daily Telegraph
'A brilliant work of travel, history and psychological insight . . . astute and sympathetic . . . very funny' Wall Street Journal
Everyone has wanted a piece of paradise
John Gimlette - winner of the Dolman Prize and the Shiva Naipaul Prize for Travel Writing - is the kind of traveller you'd want by your side. Whether hacking a centuries-old path through the jungle, interrogating the surviving…


By Shivshankar Menon,

Book cover of Choices: Inside the Making of India's Foreign Policy

Aparna Pande Author Of From Chanakya to Modi: Evolution of India's Foreign Policy

From the list on history and foreign policy.

Who am I?

Foreign policy has been my passion since I was a child. My father was a civil servant and growing up in India, I always wanted to follow in his footsteps but instead of working on domestic issues, I wanted to work on international affairs. History was another passion of mine and I wanted to combine the two of them in such a way that I studied the past in order to explain the present and help the future. This passion led me to enroll in a PhD program in the United States and then work at a think tank. I have written three books, two of which focus exclusively on foreign policy. I hope you enjoy reading the books I have listed and read my book.  

Aparna's book list on history and foreign policy

Why did Aparna love this book?

This is a book by a former top diplomat of India that lays out in a clear and concise fashion India’s priorities, its interests, and its concerns. Real life examples are cited to explain the choices India made, or didn’t make, and the reasons behind those decisions. As someone who is passionate about foreign policy, and who loves archival research, I loved reading a book written by a practitioner in which he tells you about the challenges they face and the real-life choices they have to make.

By Shivshankar Menon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A look behind the scenes of some of India's most critical foreign policy decisions by the country's former foreign secretary and national security adviser.

Every country must make choices about foreign policy and national security. Sometimes those choices turn out to have been the correct ones, other times not. In this insider's account, Shivshankar Menon describes some of the most crucial decisions India has faced during his long career in government - and how key personalities often had to make choices based on incomplete information under the pressure of fast-moving events.

Menon either participated directly, or was associated with, all…

Book cover of A Friend of the Earth

Arefa Tehsin Author Of Iora and the Quest of Five

From Arefa's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Junglee Traveller Sleepless dreamer

Arefa's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Arefa love this book?

My partner found this book covered in a layer of dust and cobwebs in an abandoned cottage on an island in Sri Lanka. I eyed him skeptically as he picked it up. Later, I started reading it only to champion his cause of saving a book…but what a find it turned out to be!

The year is 2025. A disillusioned, old “eco-terrorist” is managing a private zoo, and the ecological apocalypse is on his (flooded) doorstep. Boyle’s cutting satire, dark humor, surreal plot, and marvelous writing make it one of the most poignant works of fiction on climate change and the destruction of the wild.

What were we doing on that island? Well, that’s another story.

By T.C. Boyle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

_______________________ 'A comedy with teeth ... razor sharp and darkly funny' (TIMES) 'Boyle's prose is so good and his imagination so fertile that after a while you just sit back and are swept along' (TELEGRAPH) 'Surreal, daring and compassionate. Easily one of the best books of the year' (MAIL) 'Superb ... if Boyle was from this side of the pond, this is the book they'd all have to beat for the Booker Prize' (SUNDAY TIMES) It's 2025, and 75-year-old environmentalist and retired eco-terrorist Ty Tierwater is eking out a bleak living managing a pop star's private zoo. It is the…

Trouble in Nuala

By Harriet Steel,

Book cover of Trouble in Nuala

Carmen Amato Author Of Cliff Diver

From the list on thrillers set in exotic locations.

Who am I?

I’ve turned lessons from a 30-year career with the Central Intelligence Agency into crime fiction loaded with intrigue and deception. My Detective Emilia Cruz mystery series pits the first female police detective in Acapulco against Mexico's drug cartels, government corruption, and social inequality. Readers will love Detective Cruz’s complex plots, fast action, and exotic location. I’m originally from upstate New York, the setting for the upcoming Galliano Club thriller series. My family tree includes a mayor, a Mensa genius, and the first homicide in the state of Connecticut with an automatic weapon. After killing two people, including his wife, my great-grandfather eluded a state-wide manhunt. He was never brought to justice.

Carmen's book list on thrillers set in exotic locations

Why did Carmen love this book?

I love the combination of a historical mystery with a little-known location, but this book also charmed me with a spare but fluid writing style. Ceylon in the 1930s under British rule (today Ceylon is the independent nation of Sri Lanka) sets the first book in the addictive Inspector Shanti de Silva mystery series in a riveting yet mostly overlooked moment in history. Add a superbly written cast of characters and set them at odds against each other, and I’m hooked on the whole series.

De Silva is the head of a 3-person police force in the smallish city of Nuala where he must straddle the divide between the local population and his British bosses. Reports of a cruel tea plantation owner lead to a missing worker and the owner’s suspicious debt. A dubious business associate, a frazzled wife, and a chatty mynah bird all combine to add layers of…

By Harriet Steel,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Meet Inspector Shanti de Silva, the new chief of police in Nuala, a sleepy town in the beautiful tea country of colonial Ceylon. He moved from the big city in search of a quiet life, but now that he’s faced with the suspicious death of an arrogant plantation owner, it looks like Nuala won’t be as peaceful as he’d hoped. He’s going to need all his experience to unravel the mystery and prove his worth to his new British boss.
A vintage-style mystery set in the 1930s, spiced with colourful characters and a dash of humour.

“I can imagine sitting…

Book cover of Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World

Jad Adams Author Of Women and the Vote: A World History

From the list on how women rock the world.

Who am I?

I have specialised in writing about radicals and non-conformists who seem to me to be the most interesting people in the world. I like books about people doing challenging things and making a difference. I love travelling to obscure archives in other countries and finding the riches of personal papers in dusty old rooms curated by eccentric archivists who greet me like an old friend.

Jad's book list on how women rock the world

Why did Jad love this book?

The Sri Lankan feminist Kumari Jayawardena produced this groundbreaking history in 1986 and it has never been out of print. It told me so many things I didn’t know, for example how Chairman Mao’s early radicalism was centred on women’s issues: a social system which so subjected women must be brought down; Marxism was a later add-on (but don’t tell the Chinese Communist Party, they don’t like to acknowledge this fact).

By Kumari Jayawardena,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For twenty-five years, Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World has been an essential primer on the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century history of women's movements in Asia and the Middle East. In this engaging and well-researched survey, Kumari Jayawardena presents feminism as it originated in the Third World, erupting from the specific struggles of women fighting against colonial power, for education or the vote, for safety, and against poverty and inequality. Journalist and human rights activist Rafia Zakaria's foreword to this new edition is an impassioned letter in two parts: the first to Western feminists; the second to feminists…

Anil's Ghost

By Michael Ondaatje,

Book cover of Anil's Ghost

Jeannee Sacken Author Of Behind the Lens

From the list on thrilling fiction with brave, gutsy, badass women.

Who am I?

Like my main character, Annie Hawkins Green, I’m passionate about photojournalism, and we both love to travel the world capturing images that tell our stories. My training as a photographer has led me to write novels that are visual and cinematic, affording readers authentic and immersive experiences in the places Annie takes us—Afghanistan, Milwaukee, wherever. We’re both seriously committed to empowering girls through education and go to great lengths, and some risk, to make that happen. Readers tend to think Annie and I are brave and gutsy and, well, badass. Annie is, for sure—she goes to dangerous places. Okay, I admit that many of her adventures have an autobiographical twist.  

Jeannee's book list on thrilling fiction with brave, gutsy, badass women

Why did Jeannee love this book?

In his most atmospheric and suspenseful novel, Anil’s Ghost, Michael Ondaatje transports readers into the middle of the civil war that splintered Sri Lanka. A brilliant forensic anthropologist who was educated abroad, Anil Tissera bravely returns to her homeland determined to unearth evidence to explain the brutal campaign of murders ravaging the country. With each new discovery Anil makes, at great risk to her own safety, I find myself holding my breath. Although the powerful elite are lined up against her, she stands firm, refusing to let the guns and bombs scare her away. Steeped in centuries of culture and tradition, this is truly one of my favorite books ever. 

By Michael Ondaatje,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Anil's Ghost as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With his first novel since the internationally acclaimed The English Patient, Booker Prize—winning author Michael Ondaatje gives us a work displaying all the richness of imagery and language and the piercing emotional truth that we have come to know as the hallmarks of his writing.

Anil’s Ghost transports us to Sri Lanka, a country steeped in centuries of tradition, now forced into the late twentieth century by the ravages of civil war. Into this maelstrom steps Anil Tissera, a young woman born in Sri Lanka, educated in England and America, who returns to her homeland as a forensic anthropologist sent…


By Kevin Gascoyne, François Marchand, Jasmin Desharnais, Hugo Americi

Book cover of Tea: History, Terroirs, Varieties

Jane Pettigrew Author Of Jane Pettigrew's World of Tea: Discovering Producing Regions and Their Teas

From the list on tea and tea history.

Who am I?

I fell into the world of tea by chance in the 1980s when I gave up a career in higher education to open a 1930s style tearoom in southwest London. I grew up in the 1950s in a typical British family that drank tea throughout the day but little did I know, as I baked endless supplies of scones and cakes for the tearoom at 4 am every day, that I would end up writing books and magazine articles, editing a tea magazine for the UK Tea Council, speaking at world tea conferences, training staff in hotels, travelling to almost every major tea producing country, and eventually working today as Director of Studies at the UK Tea Academy.

Jane's book list on tea and tea history

Why did Jane love this book?

I dip into this must-have book all the time – for pleasure but also to learn and check facts. The four authors own the wonderful tea store, Camellia Sinensis in Montreal, Canada. They are extremely experienced in tasting and selecting teas from around the world for their business and just love sharing their infectious passion for tea and their extensive knowledge of the growing regions, growers, and manufacturers. As well as discussing the most important tea origins, they highlight some of the personalities and industry specialists they have met on their tea journey and whose insights help us understand the day-to-day work of tea gardens and factories. The book also includes invaluable advice on brewing and tasting tea, and the section on tea and gastronomy offers some absolutely stunning recipes for cooking with tea.

By Kevin Gascoyne, François Marchand, Jasmin Desharnais, Hugo Americi

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An updated edition of the "World's Best Tea Book" acclaimed by the 2014 World Tea Awards.

This widely praised bestseller has been updated to incorporate the changing tastes of tea drinkers, developments in production, the impact of climate change and an expanded and more highly developed tea market. This third edition improves Tea with this revised and extended content plus new photographs.

TeaTime Magazine called Tea "the reference work we've been waiting for", noting its value to students. Library Journal praised it as a "definitive guide to tea (that) will appeal to die-hard tea enthusiasts." Tea House Times found it…

Book cover of The Girl Who Lost a Leopard

Tracey Warr Author Of Almodis: The Peaceweaver

From Tracey's 7-year-old's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Swimmer Reader Medieval history researcher Independent publisher

Tracey's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Plus, Tracey's 2, and 7-year-old's favorite books.

Why did Tracey's 7-year-old love this book?

He enjoys this brilliant story about a girl who develops a friendship with a wild leopard.

He really likes the leopard and the jungle. The jungle is next door to the girl’s school. One day, the leopard gets stolen and the girl wants to rescue him. The author of this book came to talk at his school. Now he is looking for her other books to read too.

By Nizrana Farook,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Girl Who Lost a Leopard as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the author of The Girl Who Stole an Elephant comes another brilliant escapade. The third thrilling adventure set in a fictional Sri Lanka is jam-packed with peril, poachers and an endangered leopard!

Selvi is a wild child who loves climbing in the beautiful mountains behind her home. She is often joined by Lokka, a leopard with a beautiful coat and huge golden eyes. When hunters come for Lokka, Selvi is determined to fight.

But what can she do against such powerful enemies? Turn to her friends, of course! Now they just need the perfect plan...

Cover and inside illustrations…

New Diasporas

By Nicholas Van Hear,

Book cover of New Diasporas: The Mass Exodus, Dispersal and Regrouping of Migrant Communities

Robin Cohen Author Of Global Diasporas: An Introduction

From the list on diasporas, being away but connected to home.

Who am I?

I was born in South Africa. My mother was a daughter of Polish immigrants, while my father was a first-generation Jewish Lithuanian (a ‘Litvak’). I emigrated at 20 and have spent much of my life in Europe, with extended periods in Nigeria, the Caribbean, and back in South Africa. Being mobile and displaced is both part of my personal experience and my chosen professional career. Although I do work on other themes (like island societies, creolization, and globalization) I found myself increasingly writing on migration and diaspora.

Robin's book list on diasporas, being away but connected to home

Why did Robin love this book?

The issue of when one can call a dispersal a ‘diaspora’ has been a long-running debate between those interesting in diasporas. Displaced peoples can return, fragment, or assimilate. What factors are in play that impel any one ethnic group to cohere, link to similar communities aboard and continue to connect, emotionally and in other ways, to their place of origin? This is a tough question to answer and Van Hear has a brave try in answering it. He has undertaken field research in Africa and Sri Lanka and his command of the sources and comparisons is impressive. Of course, there are many refugee flows that post-date this book, but it nonetheless stands as a first crack at addressing the issue of diasporic formation.

By Nicholas Van Hear,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Charts the connections between migrations crises and the formation and demise transnational communities, looking at 10 contemporary migration crises aroun the world. Examines factors that are accelerating and constraining the growt of transnational communities, and provides a perspective on the soc

Homo Aestheticus

By Ellen Dissanayake,

Book cover of Homo Aestheticus: Where Art Comes From and Why

Anjan Chatterjee Author Of The Aesthetic Brain: How We Evolved to Desire Beauty and Enjoy Art

From the list on the science of art and aesthetics.

Who am I?

I have always been fascinated by beauty and art. As a child growing up in India, I sketched frequently. Later, I became obsessed with photography. In 1999, I moved from my first academic job to join the newly forming Center of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania. The move was an opportunity to rethink my research program. In addition to studying spatial cognition, attention, and language, I decided to investigate the biological basis of aesthetic experiences. At the time there was virtually no scholarship in the neuroscience of aesthetics. It has been an exciting journey to watch this field grow. And, it has been exhilarating to start the Penn Center for Neuroaesthetics, the first research center of its kind in the US.

Anjan's book list on the science of art and aesthetics

Why did Anjan love this book?

Ellen Dissanayake was a primary force in the modern era to bring evolution into the conversation of why we have and often revere art. For her, art promotes social cohesion in small groups and making objects special through ritual lies at the root of making art. If you want to learn about how evolution might have promoted the creation of art, this book is the place to start.

By Ellen Dissanayake,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Dissanayake argues that art was central to human evolutionary adaptation and that the aesthetic faculty is a basic psychological component of every human being. In her view, art is intimately linked to the origins of religious practices and to ceremonies of birth, death, transition, and transcendence. Drawing on her years in Sri Lanka, Nigeria, and Papua New Guinea, she gives examples of painting, song, dance, and drama as behaviors that enable participants to grasp and reinforce what is important to their cognitive world."-Publishers Weekly"Homo Aestheticus offers a wealth of original and critical thinking. It will inform and irritate specialist, student,…

Book cover of The American Encounter with Buddhism, 1844-1912: Victorian Culture and the Limits of Dissent

Laurence Cox Author Of The Irish Buddhist: The Forgotten Monk Who Faced Down the British Empire

From the list on Buddhism and the West.

Who am I?

I’ve been a street musician, set up kindergartens, worked in special needs education, and run wood-fired showers in a field for meditation retreats. I’m also associate professor of sociology at the National University of Ireland Maynooth. I became a Buddhist partly out of interest in a very different culture and started wondering how Buddhism got from Asia to the West. I think about this through my own experience of teaching meditation, being an activist for 35 years, living in five countries, and learning ten languages: what do you have to do to make an idea come alive in a different culture? 

Laurence's book list on Buddhism and the West

Why did Laurence love this book?

I love this warm-hearted and rich account of the first Americans to become Buddhist: the romantics who fell in love with Asian cultures, the rationalists who thought of Buddhism as a science or philosophy of human existence, and the esotericists who sought magical powers and powerful initiations. From Lafcadio Hearn’s celebration of “old Japan” to Countess Canavarro who set up a nun’s order in Sri Lanka, via Theosophists, vegetarians, and atheists, this book is a fantastic collection of people’s lives which were both transformed by meeting Buddhism and yet remained distinctively American even in their new form.   

By Thomas A. Tweed,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The American Encounter with Buddhism, 1844-1912 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This work examines 19th-century America's encounter with one of the world's major religions. Exploring the debates about Buddhism that followed upon its introduction to the USA, the author shows what happened when the transplanted religious movement came into contact with America's established culture and fundamentally different Protestant tradition. The text, first published in 1992, traces the efforts of various American interpreters to make sense of Buddhism in Western terms. Tweed demonstrates that while many of those interested in Buddhism considered themselves dissenters from American culture, they did not abandon some of the basic values they shared with their fellow Victorians.…