I read a reasonable amount. I’ve usually got one book on the go. No surprise that the subject matter often involves tales from foreign lands. Reading takes me there, back in time, to the Mongol conquests, the Burmese civil wars, into the heart of tragedies and triumphs.

William Dalrymple is possibly my favourite author. I’ve liked everything of his I have read, starting with “From The Holy Mountain” one of his earliest works, on trip from Greece through the holy lands to Egypt. Most of his work now is on India. They are all good.
“One Fourteenth Of An Elephant” is a heart-breaking account of Ian Denys Peek’s time on the WWII Burma Railway death camps. It’s harsh, difficult reading, which you will only put down to cry.
Tim Flannery’s “Throwim Way Leg” is a trek into the primitive world of Papua New Guinea and Irian Jaya as he searches their forests for new species. Highly reccomended.

From Africa, Peter Goodwin has many great books (“When a Crocodile Eats the Sun” and “Mukiwa: A White Boy in Africa”) about his and every Zimbabwean’s life under Robert Mugabe. “The Fear” is at times hard to read (emotionally) but is probably the definitive account of Mugabe’s crimes.
Alexandra Fuller’s “Scribbling The Cat” and “Travels with an African Soldier” are just two of her great reads. “The Zanzibar Chest” by foreign correspondent Aiden Hartley covers conflicts in Africa as well as the Middle East.
Also from east of southern Africa, “The White Lions of Timbavati” and “Operation White Lion” by Chris McBride (of Zambia’s McBride’s Camp fame) about his discovery, study and rescue of  rare and vulnerable white lions. “An African Love Story: Love, Life and Elephants” by a legend in orphaned elephant rescue, Daphne Sheldrick is touching.
Old, and sometimes as hard as the trek he describes, Stanley’s “How I Found Livingstone”, available as a free kindle book, takes you back to the first European explorations of Africa. Another oldie but also good is the classic “Heart of Darkness.”
I have read and enjoyed Anthony Simpson’s “Mandela” but not yet Mandela’s own work, “Long Walk To Freedom.”
I haven’t read so much on other parts of Africa. Some that I have and enjoyed are “The African Trilogy. (Things Fall Apart. No Longer At Ease. Arrow Of God)” by Chinua Achebe, and “Half of a Yellow Sun”, about her life during the Biafran struggle in Nigeria; Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

 “From Beirut to Jerusalem” by American journalist Thomas Friedman chronicling his days in Beirut during the Lebanese Civil War and in Jerusalem at the beginning of the Intifada. If you only have time for one chapter, read “Hama Rules”, which covers Bashar Al Assad’s father, Hafeez, and his incredibly brutal crushing of dissent in Syria.

Much of what I read covers South East Asia. For no apparent reason, I have read remarkably little on Thailand. Burma, on the other hand…..

“The Invisible Palace: The True Story of a Journalists Murder in Java” José Manuel Tesoro tells of the murky world of police enforcement and power in Indonesia.
It seems every second book I read now is about Burma. I have just finished Andrew Marshall’s “The Trouser People” and wonder why I took so long to do so.
If you had to read just one book on Burma, I would nominate “From The Land Of Green Ghosts” by Pascal Khoo Thwe, which goes from urban dismay, to rural conflict and national upheaval, to the mysterious ways of the diverse citizen of the traumatized land. But why stop at one?
In “The River of Lost Footsteps,” Thant Myint-U shows just how deep, complex and often brutal “Burmese” history is. One of the best.
“Land of Jade: A Journey from India through Northern Burma to China” by Bertnil Lintner is a remarkable account of a dangerous mission to find and expose the brutal reality behind the shifting front lines in Burma’s civil wars.
 “Among Insurgents” and “Burma: The Curse of Independence” are two of Shelby Tucker’s books that tell you how farked up Burma is.
“Opium Venture”, Gerald Sparrow, another favourite, crosses colonial advances and occupation, the opium trade, love, in the context of the Shan Hills.
“A Burmese Heart “ (Yin Mon Vanessa Han) tells of a family’s personal involvement of the upheavals of occupation, war, independence, betrayal, oppression from an insiders perspective.
“Burma’s Spring: Real lives in turbulent times” by Rosalind Russell also covers contemporary Burma.
“Under the Dragon: A Journey through Burma” is Rory Maclean’s tale of ordinary people suffering in contemporary Burma.

There a many great books on Cambodia. For history, David Chandler is the man. “A History Of Cambodia” is incredibly detailed and maybe not for everyone! Ben Kiernan is another famous author on modern Cambodia, and refugee turned actor Haing Ngor  wrote of his life in“A Cambodian Odyssey”.
Jon Swain, the journalist that tried to save colleague Dith Pran when Phnom Penh fell, writes of time in the Indochina wars and his returns to that part of Asia in “River Of Time”.
“The Gate” by Francois Bizot may be the best book I have read on the Cambodian descent into hell. He was taken prisoner by the Khmer Rouge, but remarkably, released. Read it.
Tim Bowden’s biography of famous war cameraman Neil Davis, “One Crowded Hour,” is a wonderful tribute to a one of a kind, covering Davis’ work on the front lines of Indochina wars.
William Shawcross’ “Sideshow” tells of the US role in the destabilisation of Cambodia.
“Cambodia’s Curse: The Modern History of a Troubled Land” Joel Brinkley covers the failure of the international community in Cambodia after its massive attempt to bring peace (successfully) and democracy (not even close).
In “The Lost Executioner” Nic Dunlop sets out to find Duch, an executioner at Khmer Rouge’s notorious S-21.

Two personal accounts of Australia’s refugee program give two totally different outcomes. “No Friend But The Mountains” by imprisoned Kurdish journalist Behrouz Boochani exposes the brutal pointlessness, damage and waste offshore detention causes.
“Songs of A War Boy” by Deng Thiak Adut is one man’s journey from war torn Sudan, as a child soldier, refugee, student, lawyer and human rights advocate.

In “Marco Polo from Venice to Xanadu”, Laurence Bergreen takes a critical look at what the famous merchant claims to have seen and done, while giving a great insight into life in the Silk Road era.
“The Secret History of the Mongol Queens” by Jack Weatherford is a fascinating account of the vital role these forgotten women played in the world’s largest ever empire. His “Genghis Khan and The Making of The Modern World” is one of the best books on the famous emperor and his empire.
Also from that part of the world, Dalrymple’s “In Xanadu: A Quest”.
In Kyrgyzstan, I chanced upon an exhibition about Ella Maillart, who unbelievably explored Central Asia in Stalin’s USSR. “The Cruel Way: Switzerland to Afghanistan in a Ford, 1939” tells her remarkable tale.
Covering some fascinating journeys through Central Asia’s former Soviet republics are “Shadows Of The Silk Road” (Colin Thubron) and “A Short Walk In The Hindu Kush” (Eric Newby).
One man’s effort to save traditional carpet making in Uzbekistan is documented in Christopher Alexander’s “Carpet Ride to Khiva”.
“The Rugmaker of Mazar-e-Sharif” by Najaf Mazari, tells of his fleeing Afghanistan, being imprisoned in Australia but eventually getting his humanitarian visa, and opening a shop.
“The Bookseller of Kabul” tells the story of a man who defied Taliban edicts on books. By Norwegian journalist Åsne Seierstad, I highly recommend this one. Add to that Christina Lamb’s “The Sewing Circles of Herat”.
Rory Stewart’s “The Places In Between” is a fascinating account of his walk across post-Taliban Afghanistan, with a dog for company. Not long ago, he was a candidate for leadership of the UK Tories.
Rightly famous is “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini. Read it.
I have just started “The Underground Girls Of Kabul: The Hidden Lives of Afghan Girls Disguised as Boys” by Jenny Nordberg, which explores the hows and why of daughters who become sons in Afghan families.
Two accounts of the disastrous Everest climbing season of 1996. Jon Krakauer’s “Into Thin Air” and Anatoli Boukreev’s “The Climb” should both be read. Krakauer’s “Into The Wild” about a young idealist who walks into the Alaskan wild is another excellent book.

Peter Matthiessen writes of his efforts to find the elusive snow leopard in far western Nepal, in “Snow Leopard.” The book also ventures into the history of yeti sightings and their likelihood.
Although a work of historical fiction, “The Far Pavilions” gives an incredible account of late Mughal era India.
A historical and accurate work “Beneath a Marble Sky: A Love Story” by John Shors reads like a novel, covering the sad, romantic and tragic story behind the building of the Taj Mahal.
“Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Slum” by Katherine Boo covers the other end of India’s society.
The Widows of Malabar Hill (Sujata Massey) lets readers into the often closed world of Indian families.

Lastly, I don’t mind a good Stephen King, and I am quite partial to the works of Peter Carey, and of both the famous Japanese Murakami authors, Haruki and Ryu.