Reading list inspiration for travel
Books & eBooks
- Beauty is a WoundView on Amazon From one of the country's rising novelists, the gleefully grotesque story offers a scathing critique of the nation’s troubled past, most poignantly the mass murders of perhaps a million “Communists” after independence in 1965 and the three decades of Suharto’s despotic rule. By Eka Kurniawan; translated by Annie Tucker.
- Borobudur & Prambanan: Temples of JavaView on ApproachGuides.com* In Central Java, two massive temples rise as witness to the greatness of two empires: Borobudur (Buddhist) and Prambanan (Hindu). Explore the history and architecture of these two great sites with our travel guidebook.
- How to Read Oceanic ArtView on Amazon The author, a Metropolitan Museum curator, analyzes the most illustrative Oceanic pieces from the museum's collection—including lively painted masks, powerful figurines, and intricately carved wooden poles—which together represent the extraordinary diversity of artistic traditions in the region. By Eric Kjellgren.
- Indonesia, Etc.View on Amazon Excellent. Bewitched by Indonesia for twenty-five years, Elizabeth Pisani recently traveled 26,000 miles around the archipelago in search of the links that bind this impossibly disparate nation. By Elizabeth Pisani.
- Nathaniel’s NutmegView on Amazon The story of the tiny Indonesian island of Run — the most lucrative of the spice islands, the source of nutmeg — and the battle between the Dutch and British for control. By Giles Milton.
- The Indonesia Reader: History, Culture, PoliticsView on Amazon A compilation of 50 selections that convey the long history and the cultural, ethnic and ecological diversity of this far-flung archipelago nation: journalists’ articles, explorers’ chronicles, photographs, poetry, stories, cartoons, drawings, letters and speeches. Edited by Tineke Hellwig and Eric Tagliacozzo.
- The RamayanaView on Gutenberg.org The complete text of this fundamental Hindu epic.
- The Shadow Puppet Theatre of MalaysiaView on Amazon A complete review of the traditional shadow puppet theater tradition. By Beth Osnes.
- The Year of Living DangerouslyView on Amazon An intelligent, compelling tale of political turmoil in mid-twentieth-century Indonesia. By Christopher J Koch.
- This Earth of MankindView on Amazon This novel tells the story of doomed Javanese romance, critiquing the social and political values of colonial Indonesian society and suggesting a path for the future. By Pramoedya Ananta Toer; translated by Max Lane.
- Traditional Indonesian TextilesView on Amazon A comprehensive review of the country's famed textile industry. By John Gillow.
- Volcanoes, Crucibles of ChangeView on Amazon There's no better time to get to know the workings of volcanoes. They define the physical landscape of this magical country. By Richard V Fisher.
Articles & Academic Papers
- “40 of Indonesia’s Best Dishes”View on CNN.com The basics on the country's most popular foods. By Sara Schonhardt.
- “After Suharto”View on London Review of Books A look at Indonesia since after the end of Suharto's 31-year rule (1967-98). By Pankaj Mishra.
- “Art of Island Southeast Asia”View on metmuseum.org The museum's catalog covers art made during in late 19-early 20th centuries in the islands of Southeast Asia, revealing two fundamental concerns: fertility and protection. By Florina H Capistrano-Baker.
- “Chemical Characteristics and Sensory Value: Luwak vs. Standard Coffees”View on ac.uk This scholarly article examines the true differentiators of Indonesia's famed luwak coffee, the most expensive in the world. By Meta Mahendradatta, Zainal, Israyanti and Abu Bakar Tawali.
- “Culture and Customs of Indonesia”View on bps.go.id A thoughtful, broad-spectrum review of Indonesian cultur, touching on subjects as wide-ranging as art, architecture, ethnicity, caste, dress, cuisine, dance and social customs. By Jill Forshee.
- “Fire emissions and regional air quality impacts from fires in oil palm, timber, and logging concessions in Indonesia”View on iopscience.iop.org This scholarly article examines the sources of the forest fires that have become an annual event, impacting the health of the region. By Miriam E Marlier, Ruth S DeFries, Patrick S Kim, Shannon N Koplitz, Daniel J Jacob<, Loretta J Mickley and Samuel S Myers.
- “Indonesian Batik: A Cultural Beauty”View on the Indonesian Ministry of Trade's website A comprehensive review of Indonesian batik textiles, including history, manufacturing, materials and designs.
- “Indonesian Puppet Theater: Puppets and Politics in Indonesia”View on Berkeley.edu An in-depth look at Indonesia's puppets, the country's greatest performance art. By Natasha Reichle, PhD.
- “Islamic Calligraphy”View on MetMuseum.org An excellent, highly visual review of the subject by the renowned Harvard professor. By Annemarie Schimmel.
- “Jakarta Is Sinking Itself Into the Ocean”View on CityLab.com Groundwater pumping and rising sea levels could leave millions flooded out of their homes. By Nate Berg.
- “Jamu as Traditional Medicine in Java, Indonesia”View on cpi.kagoshima-u.ac.jp A scholarly look at Jamu, the traditional healing drink you are bound to encounter on your travels. By Soedarsono Riswan and and Harini Sangat-Roemantiyo.
- “Lalitavistara sutra”The stories depicted in Borobudur's reliefs are drawn from the Buddhist Lalitavistara sutra (aka "The Play in Full"), which recounts key events in the last, pivotal life of the historical Buddha.
- “The empire strikes back”View on Economist.com The old guard is out to obstruct the next president's ambitious plans for reforms.
- “The Indian Monsoon”View on researchgate.net The author, a professor at the Centre for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the Indian Institute of Science, explains the nature of South Asia's most impactful weather system. By Sulochana Gadgil.
- “The New Piracy”View on London Review of Books A look at piracy on the high seas of Indonesia. By Charles Glass.
- “The Oldest Known Art in the World Is Spray-Painted Graffiti”View on TheAtlantic.com The first paintings ever made by human hands, new research suggests, were outlines of human hands. And they were created not in Spain or France, but in Indonesia. By Megan Garber.
- “The Places in Between”View on NewYorker.com A long-form article on the struggle to define Indonesia. By Pankaj Mishra.
If you won’t have ready access to wifi during your travels, consider saving these articles for offline reading using the Instapaper app.
- Borobudur’s Hidden ReliefsVisit Virtual Collection of Masterpieces website It shows the complete cycle of the original now-covered reliefs in the temple's base.
- Guide to the Call to PrayerVisit ApproachGuides.com* Our quick review of the intoxicating, ever-present call to prayer.
- Indonesia’s VolcanoesVisit volcano.si.edu Developed and maintained by the Smithsonian Institute, it is the best source we've found for comprehensive information (appearance, type, photos, eruption history) on the country's spectacular volcanoes. Climb one if you can!
- Islamic Prayer TimesVisit Islamicfinder.org Get up-to-date times for the five-daily prayer sessions.
- Quran TranslationVisit Quran.com Offers English translations of all the chapters in the Quran. Invaluable for understanding the meaning behind the Arabic inscriptions you will encounter throughout your trip.
- Reef Base | IndonesiaVisit reefbase.org An excellent resource for detailed information on the region's coral reefs and reef fish.
- Travelers’ Health | IndonesiaVisit CDC.gov Get the Centers for Disease Control’s recommendations for vaccines and medicines.
- Weather: El Niño, La Niña and EnsoView on ucar.edu Background on these key factors in year-to-year weather and climate variation.
- World Bank | IndonesiaVisit worldbank.org A great resource for the country's quality of living indicators, economy and climate change data.
- The Dutch East India CompanyListen on soundcloud Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie or VOC, known in English as the Dutch East India Company. The VOC dominated the spice trade between Asia and Europe for two hundred years and, at its peak, had a virtual monopoly on nutmeg, mace, cloves and cinnamon.
- The Sounds of Indonesia: GamelanListen to the Spotify playlist Listen to a personal collection of Indonesian gamelan tracks compiled by Trip Reads founder Jennifer Raezer. The perfect pre-trip soundtrack.
- Why 7-Eleven and the seven-layered rainbow cake have flourished in IndonesiaListen on soundcloud.com Melvany Kasih talks about food and beverage trends in Indonesia and how consumer preferences impact the industry.
Just for Kids
- The Twenty-One BalloonsView on Amazon Professor William Waterman Sherman intends to fly across the Pacific Ocean. But through a twist of fate, he lands on Krakatoa, and discovers a world of unimaginable wealth, eccentric inhabitants, and incredible balloon inventions. By William Pene du Bois.
- Volcanoes!View on Amazon National Geographic photos combined with vivid text helps children understand the science and impact of Volcanoes. By Anne Schreiber.
Who to Follow
- Twitter: Bryce GreenFollow @brycewg An Australian journalist in Indonesia.
- Twitter: Farah WardaniFollow @FarahWardani Art historian, writer & director of Indonesian Visual Art Archive (IVAA). Sharing about art, life, random geeky stuff & health food. In Indonesian/English.
- Twitter: Indonesian EmbassyFollow @KBRIWashDC The Indonesian embassy in Washington DC.
- Twitter: The Jakarta GlobeFollow @thejakartaglobe English-language news