Here we gather up some favorite titles set in the archipelago nation of Indonesia. With an ancient, and at times troubled past, this tropical island is rich in culture, art, and amazing food, and as we show here, plenty of incredible books!


Culture Smart! Indonesia
These guides exist for many countries, and the more foreign the place, the more useful! Chapters on body language, cultural customs, and even business dealings will help you navigate Indonesia without a hitch!

Instant Indonesian
In its new series of language books, Tuttle offers something unique. Each chapter builds on the previous to teach basic phrases and vocabulary complete with comics and a helpful dictionary in the back.

Tuttle Travel Pack Indonesia
This guidebook comes with a map, it’s small, compact, and full of information. The layout is highly visual, and recommendations for hotels and restaurants span all budgets.

Home by Leila S. Chudori
This historical novel tells the story of Indonesian exiles from the time of Suharto in 1965, moving from Indonesia to Paris. Choduri brings the complexities of Indonesian life and politics at the time to life in a sweeping novel with a complex structure.

Beauty Is a Wound by Eka Kurniawan
One of our favorite newly discovered-in-English novelists, Kurniawan has written tons of stuff in his native Indonesia, and we’re only now getting a handful in English, but they’re fantastic! Beauty starts with a beautiful sentence, and hooks the reader from there with plenty of magic, history, and intrigue!

The Buru Quartet by Pramoedya Ananta Toer
This four-volume series, starting with This Earth of Mankind tells the story of a young Javanese man who falls in love with a European colonist at the end of the 19th century. Toer wrote the novel while a political prisoner in Indonesia, reciting it orally to cellmates in daily installments.

The Indonesia Reader
A volume from another beloved series here at Idlewild – these readers from Duke University Press are essential reading for people interested in the various nations they represent. History, literature, and photographs are all helpfully condensed into one place, giving the reader a full picture of a nation’s past and present.