I absolutely love reading and what better time to dive into a few books than when you’re on holiday. If you love reading like me and would like to get into the feel of a truly Sri Lankan experience during your travels in Sri Lanka, you must pick up a few books/novels written about stories in Sri Lanka. I have listed a few books that may interest a few of you.
The aim is not just to give you a sensational feel of reading a great book but I also wanted to recommend a few books that take you into the history of Sri Lanka, the Culture of Sri Lanka, Social insights of a few Sri Lankan lives and more.
The first book I would like to recommend is The Last Kingdom of Sinhalay by Elmo Jayawardena. This is well written book about the colonial occupations of Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka’s fight for freedom against the European conquers. It also gives details as to the turn of events that took place from the start of the Portuguese occupation to the fall of the last King of Sri Lanka – King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe. The story is narrated into a beautifully flowing story that is both captivating and a great read.
There are a few great books written by Sri Lankan authors about the family, lives and social norms of people in Sri Lanka. They are excellent books to keep you entertained during your travels in Sri Lanka and will also give you glimpse of life in Sri Lanka, either in the recent past or at the turn of the century.
Cinnamon Gardens by Shyam Selvadurai. This is great book about an aristocratic family at the turn of the 20th Century. Selvadurai also wrote Funny Boy.
I personally haven’t read the book Funny Boy yet but I’ve heard great reviews and it’s high on my “must-read” list.
Another great Sri Lankan author is Nihal De Silva. He wrote the book The Road From Elephant Pass which won many awards and was also recently made into a movie. This book is a beautiful story about a Sinhalese soldier in the recently ended North East Conflict being bestowed the responsibility to take a Tamil Tiger girl with top secret information to Colombo to be used again the LTTE. The story follows their adventurous and treacherous journey to Colombo from the North and covers issues that both ethnic groups harbored during the conflict. It is a well written book which was extremely entertaining and great read.
Another great book that Nihal De Silva wrote was The Giniralla Conspiracy. It was also a really well written book about the JVP uprising in the 1980s that threaten the government of Sri Lanka. Of course the story is a little made up but the scare of the time is well captured and covers some great insights to the lifestyle of youth in Universities of Sri Lanka during that time
These are just a few great books that you may find interesting to reading during your holiday travels in Sri Lanka.
The Colombo airport has a book store called Vijitha Yapa before you come to the immigration area. If you would like to collect any of these books ask some of at the airport as you get off the plane to direct you to the book store. Remember, this is before you pass immigration (where you stamp your passport) in the duty free area of the airport.
In case you miss the shop at the airport you can always ask your guide to take you to one of the local book stores. Unfortunately book stores in Sri Lanka are scarce and are mainly found in the major cities like Colombo, Kandy and Galle.
You can also try ordering these booking on Amazon, as I did see them listed.
If any of you have other great “must-read” books on Sri Lanka, please do share with all of us.