Reading List

A collection of books for those who love to wander and wonder.

  • Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario

A boy’s perilous journey from Honduras to The United States to reunite with his mother. A look into the sacrifices made by undocumented immigrants with the hopes of attaining a better life elsewhere.

  • In the Shadow of the Banyan Tree by Vaddey Ratner

I read this book before I went to Cambodia in June 2015. Most people in the world have never heard of the Khmer Rouge and the genocide that took place in Cambodia in the 1970s. This first person account is a testament to those atrocities that the country is still recovering from today.

  • Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson

A pulitzer prize winner about the reclusive nation of North Korea. It includes everything from spying, kidnapping, labor camps, underground bunkers and the Dear Leader himself.

  • Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

A glimpse of Japan, both historically and culturally, through the eyes of a geisha in the early twentieth century through World War II.

  • It’s What I Do: A photographer’s life of love and war by Lyndsey Addario

Experience a combat zone, filled with firefights and kidnappings, through the eyes of a photographer, both in her writing and and pictures.

  • Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

One of my all time favorite books is this memoir of an Australian who escapes from prison and starts a new life in India. Follow his story over the course of several years as he becomes associated with gangsters, falls in love, and delves into the black market of Indian cities.

  • The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng

The first book that I read about Malaysia. In the 1940s, a boy faces difficult decisions and diverging loyalties in Malaysia as a Japanese invasion is imminent.

  • Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India by William Dalrymple

Nine separate stories of pious individuals in India. Hinduism has a variety of sects and levels of devotion that are explained through characters interviewed by the author.

  • The Rent Collector by Camron Wright

Taking place in a trash landfill in Cambodia, one woman attempts to improve the livelihood for herself, her husband, and their sick child by gaining literacy.

  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

A truly incredible novel of two converging plot lines during World War II; one being a Nazi soldier who specializes in locating enemy radio frequencies, and the other being a blind French girl who is separated from her father.

  • The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

A story based on true events during World War II of a railway that the Japanese were trying to build between Thailand and Burma. Told from the perspective of a POW with flashbacks and flash forwards, the gruesome details of captivity and labor in the jungle will have your stomach churning.

  • The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson

The author of the famous Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is in Cuba working at a struggling newspaper, and drowning his sorrows as well as victories in the national drink.

  • The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto Che Guevara

Before he was the defiant Che Guevara who led a revolution in Cuba, he was a doctor who decided to ride from Argentina to the top of South America with only his bike, a friend, and a journal.

  • Letters From Burma by Aung San Suu Kyi

Before Burma (Myanmar) voted in the National League for Democracy in 2015 it was a governed by a repressive, military regime. Aung San Suu Kyi, whose father was brutally murdered, was an outspoke critic of this government and endured house arrest as a result. This book is a compilation of her letters to a Japanese newspaper during this time.

  • The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux

A writer’s experience riding trains from Western Europe to Eastern Asia in the 1970s. The personal aspect of this novel, as well as the variety of ethnicities and cultures encountered ensure an entertaining read.

  • The Lost City of Z by David Grann

The Amazon is one of the last places on earth that has yet to be fully categorized and explored. Read about the many explorers who have dared to enter this dangerous and mystical place in search of riches, and some who never made it out alive.

  • A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

The famed travel writer, Bill Bryson, decides to try to hike the Appalachian Trail with an undependable accomplice. This hilarious, yet informative, account is a must read for anyone who enjoys hiking and time in the woods.

  • Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

The book that preceded the popular movie about a soon to be college graduate who undertakes the alias Alexander Supertramp, leaves the majority of his belongings behind, and attempts to escape the life he’s always known.

  • Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

The tale of a young Buddha and his long and strenuous search for enlightenment.

  • Confessions: An Innocent Life in Communist China by Kang Zhengguo

As a writer during the Maoist regime in communist China, the author faced persecution and condemnation to labor camps, but somehow managed to still tell his story years later.

  • The Moor’s Account by Laila Lalami

A tale of exploration told through the eyes of a slave. He experiences everything from starvation, desertion, and assimilation into a native tribe.

  • The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac

The main character, based off of Kerouac himself, is a hitchhiker, meditator, and trekker in search of inspiration from the unlikeliest of sources.

  • Long Way Home: A Memoir by Saroo Brierley

The story of a five year old boy from a poor village in India who becomes lost on a train. After being adopted by Australians, he is determined to find and return to his birthplace.

  • Life of Pi by Yann Martel

The book turned movie about a young Indian boy who boards a boat with his family and their collection of animals from the zoo they operated only to find devastation, commonality, and a will to survive.

  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

One of the most translated books on the planet about a shepherd who embarks on a quest to find a great treasure and meaning in his life.

  • Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

A memoir of a young boy growing up in the poverty of Ireland, written phonetically in an Irish accent and featuring a cast of memorable characters.

  • Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Although incredibly sad, a must read to gain insight to the tragedies of Afghanistan and the ruthlessness of the Taliban. One man must risk everything in order to redeem himself for his actions as a boy that still haunt him.

  • A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Hosseini has an uncanny ability to weave the culture of Islam, the casualties of war, and unforgettable characters into a story of perseverance and defiance.

  • Foreign Gods Inc. by Okey Ndibe

A book by the talented father of a childhood friend, witness the events as a man who has emigrated to the States finds life is not as easy as he thought it would be, and considers stealing and selling the deity from his village in Africa.