Reading list

Sri Lanka is one of the most diverse places on the planet - biologically, culturally and geographically. It would take a lifetime to truly appreciate this diversity in full. Here is an initial selection of some of the books found to be the most illuminating on our journey to a deeper understanding of this fascinating island, which Marco Polo, and many others since, has described as the most beautiful in the world.


  • Tropical Houses, Tim Street Porter
  • The 43 Group, Neville Weereratne
  • Geoffrey Bawa, Brian Brace Taylor
  • Costumes of Sri Lanka, K.D.G.Wimalartne
  • British Period Architecture in Sri Lanka, Lakshman Alwis


  • Exotic Tastes of Sri Lanka, Suharshini Seneviratne
  • Food of Sri Lanka: Authentic Recipes from the Island of Gems, Douglas Bullis
  • Leith’s Indian and Sri Lankan Cookery, Priya Wickramsinghe


  • Funny Boy, Shyam Selvadurai
  • Reef, Romesh Gunasekera
  • The Fountains of Paradise, Arthur C.Clarke
  • The Jam Fruit Tree, Carl Muller
  • Heavens Edge, Romesh Gunasekera
  • The Hamilton Case, Michelle De Kretser
  • Spit and Polish, Carl Mulle
  • Running in the Family, Michael Ondaatje
  • Desire and Other Stories, Anne Ranasinghe
  • The Pleasures of Conquest, Yasmine Gooneratne
  • Once Upon a Tender Time, Carl Muller
  • Cinnamon Gardens, Shyam Selvadurai
  • The Sandglass, Romesh Gunasekera
  • Monkfish Moon, Romesh Gunasekera
  • The Village in the Jungle, Leonard Woolf
  • Elephant Walk, Robert Standish
  • Yakada Yaka, Carl Muller
  • Anils Ghost, Michael Ondaatje
  • Colombo, Carl Muller
  • At the Water’s Edge, Pradeep Jeganathan
  • Murder in the Pettah, Jeanne Cambrai
  • Grass for my feet, Jinadasa Vijaya-Tunga
  • July, Karen Roberts
  • All is Burning, Jean Arasanayagam
  • In the Garden Secretly, Jean Arasanayagam
  • Trussed, Shiromi Pinto
  • When memory Dies, A Sivanandan
  • Buy Now Swimming in the Monsoon Sea, Shyam Selvadurai


  • Geoffrey Bawa, David Robson
  • An Invisible Spectator, Christopher Sawyer-Laucanno
  • Woolf in Ceylon: An Imperial Journey in the Shadow of Leonard Woolf, 1904-1911, Christopher Ondaatje
  • The Rifle and Hound in Ceylon, Sir Samuel W. Baker
  • Great Days: Memoirs of a Ceylon Government Medical Officer of 1918, P. R. C. Peterson
  • The View from Serendip, Arthur C.Clarke
  • The Reefs of Taprobane, Arthur C.Clarke
  • The Man-Eater of Punanai:A Journey of Discovery to the Jungles of Old Ceylon, Christopher Ondaatje

Guide Books, wildlife and birds

  • Sri Lanka Lonely Planet Guide, Lonely Planet
  • Luxe Sri Lanka, Luxe City Guides
  • Geoffrey Bawa, Brian Brace Taylor
  • Footprint Guide to Sri Lanka, Edward Aves
  • British Period Architecture in Sri Lanka, Lakshman Alwis
  • A Field Guide to the Birds of Sri Lanka, John Harrison, Time Worfolk
  • Birds of Sri Lanka (Helm Field Guides), Deepal Warakagoda, Richard Grimmett, Carol Inskipp, Tim Inskipp
  • A Photographic Guide to Birds of Sri Lanka, Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne, Deepal Warakagoda, T.S.U. de Sylva
  • Sri Lankan Wildlife (Bradt Travel Guides), Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne
  • A Photographic Guide to Snakes & Other Reptiles of Sri Lanka, Indraneil Das
  • A Photographic Guide to Mammals of Sri Lanka, Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne


  • A History of Sri Lanka, K.M. de Silva
  • The Most Dangerous Moment, Michael Tomlinson
  • Nobodies to Somebodies: The Rise of the Colonial Bourgeoisie in Sri Lanka, Kumari Jayawardena
  • Illustrations and Views of Dutch Ceylon, 1602-1796, Sir Samuel W. Baker
  • The Dutch Forts of Sri Lanka, W.A. Nelson


  • Living in Sri Lanka, Turtle Bunbury / James Fennell
  • Asian Elements, Jane Edwards / Andrew Wood
  • Sri Lanka Style: Tropical Design and Architecture, Dominic Sansoni
  • The Book of Tea, Alain Stella

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