South Asia

/ posted in: Reading

TraveltheWorldinBooksblue200Here are some of the books I’ve enjoyed that are set in southern Asia.  All descriptions are from Goodreads.

India

The Midnight RoseThe Midnight Rose by Lucinda Riley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the heyday of the British Raj, eleven-year-old Anahita, from a noble but impoverished family, forms a lifelong friendship with the headstrong Princess Indira, the privileged daughter of Indian royalty. As the princess’ official companion, Anahita accompanies her friend to England just before the outbreak of World War I. There, she meets young Donald Astbury reluctant heir to the magnifi cent, remote Astbury Estate and his scheming mother.

Nepal

Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of NepalLittle Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Conor Grennan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In search of adventure, twenty-nine-year-old Conor Grennan traded his day job for a year-long trip around the globe, a journey that began with a three-month stint volunteering at the Little Princes Children’s Home, an orphanage in war-torn Nepal.

Conor was initially reluctant to volunteer, unsure whether he had the proper skill, or enough passion, to get involved in a developing country in the middle of a civil war. But he was soon overcome by the herd of rambunctious, resilient children who would challenge and reward him in a way that he had never imagined. When Conor learned the unthinkable truth about their situation, he was stunned: The children were not orphans at all. Child traffickers were promising families in remote villages to protect their children from the civil war–for a huge fee–by taking them to safety. They would then abandon the children far from home, in the chaos of Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu.

Bhutan

Radio Shangri-la: What I Learned in Bhutan, the Happiest Kingdom on EarthRadio Shangri-la: What I Learned in Bhutan, the Happiest Kingdom on Earth by Lisa Napoli

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lisa Napoli was in the grip of a crisis, dissatisfied with her life and her work as a radio journalist. When a chance encounter with a handsome stranger presented her with an opportunity to move halfway around the world, Lisa left behind cosmopolitan Los Angeles for a new adventure in the ancient Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan—said to be one of the happiest places on earth.

Afghanistan

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and the Woman Who Risked Everything to Keep Them SafeThe Dressmaker of Khair Khana: Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and the Woman Who Risked Everything to Keep Them Safe by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The life Kamila Sidiqi had known changed overnight when the Taliban seized control of the city of Kabul. After receiving a teaching degree during the civil war—a rare achievement for any Afghan woman—Kamila was subsequently banned from school and confined to her home. When her father and brother were forced to flee the city, Kamila became the sole breadwinner for her five siblings. Armed only with grit and determination, she picked up a needle and thread and created a thriving business of her own.

Iran

The Saffron KitchenThe Saffron Kitchen by Yasmin Crowther

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Maryam Mazar’s dark secrets and troubled past surface violently with tragic consequences for her pregnant daughter, Sara. Burdened by guilt, Maryam leaves her comfortable English home for the remote village in Iran where she was raised and disowned by her father. When Sara decides to follow her she learns the price that her mother had to pay for her freedom and of the love she left behind.

Brunei

Some Girls: My Life in a HaremSome Girls: My Life in a Harem by Jillian Lauren
Nonfiction

At eighteen, Jillian Lauren was an NYU theater school dropout with a tip about an upcoming audition. The “casting director” told her that a rich businessman in Singapore would pay pretty American girls $20,000 if they stayed for two weeks to spice up his parties. Soon, Jillian was on a plane to Borneo, where she would spend the next eighteen months in the harem of Prince Jefri Bolkiah, youngest brother of the Sultan of Brunei, leaving behind her gritty East Village apartment for a palace with rugs laced with gold and trading her band of artist friends for a coterie of backstabbing beauties.

Laos

Learning to Breathe: One Woman's Journey of Spirit and SurvivalLearning to Breathe: One Woman’s Journey of Spirit and Survival by Alison Wright
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nonfiction

On the second day of this century, world- renowned photojournalist Alison Wright was traveling on a windy mountain road in Laos when the bus she was riding in collided with a logging truck and was severed in half. As Alison waited for help to arrive—in excruciating pain and believing she was moments from death—she drew upon her years of meditation practice and concentrated on every breath as if it were her last.