Bali Booklist

For a tiny island, Bali punches way above its weight when it comes to sheer appeal. From its unique culture and religion to its cuisine, its rich artistic heritage, the variety of landscapes and its emergence as a bohemian hub in the 20th century… little wonder writers have long swooned over its many-splendoured charms… our Literary Luminaries over at Ultimate Library have assembled some of the best offerings to whet your appetite for your next Bali visit…


1. A Brief History of Indonesia: Sultans, Spices and Tsunamis by Tim Hannigan

Indonesian history and culture are especially relevant today as the Island nation is an emerging power in Southeast Asia. It is a land of incredible diversity and unending paradoxes that has a long and rich history stretching back a thousand years and more. Indonesia is the fabled “Spice Islands” of every school child’s dreams one of the most colourful and fascinating countries in history.

A Brief History of Indonesia


2. A House in Bali by Colin McPhee

When writer and composer Colin McPhee first heard gamelan he realised that it was the music of his dreams. Written in 1947, this book still continues to inspire lovers of Bali with its passion, excitement, evocative descriptions and sheer fascination of the islanders’ way of life. Perhaps it was his musical background that allowed the beauty of the island to sing through every page of his story.

A House in Bali


3. The Sea Sisters by Lucy Clarke

There are some currents in the relationship between sisters that run so dark and so deep, it’s better for the people swimming on the surface never to know what’s beneath . . . Katie’s world is shattered by the news her younger sister, Mia, has been found dead. With only the entries of Mia’s travel journal as her guide, Katie retraces the last few months of her sister’s life, and – page by page, country by country – begins to uncover the mystery surrounding her death.

The Sea Sisters


4. Indonesia Etc. Exploring the Improbable Nation by Elizabeth Pisani

Elizabeth Pisani, who first worked in Indonesia 25 years ago as a foreign correspondent, set out in 2011, travelling over 13,000 miles, to rediscover its enduring attraction, and to find the links which bind together this disparate nation. Fearless and funny, and sharply perceptive, she has drawn a compelling, entertaining and deeply informed portrait of a captivating nation.

Indonesia Etc. Exploring the Improbable Nation


5. Love and Death in Bali by Vicki Baum

In Love and Death in Bali, renowned author Vicki Baum skilfully
intermeshes several different narratives that all culminate in the infamous puputan (the “ending”), the slaughter and mass suicides that brought the old Bali to an end in 1906. Written within living memory of these bloody events, the book tells the story of the passionate and deeply spiritual people who defy Dutch imperial forces through an act that brings them certain death―and certain rebirth.

Love and Death in Bali

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