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Radio Shangri-La: What I Discovered on my Accidental Journey to the Happiest Kingdom on Earth Paperback – April 3, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
The entire book is about the life and times of Lisa Napoli when she decided to leave her public radio job in Los Angeles and go work for a radio station in the tiny Asian kingdom of Bhutan. There she regales us with stories about the people there, gives us comparisons and contrasts with Bhutan and the Western World, shows us how the country is rapidly changing and becoming Westernized (for good and for bad) and most of all, we see her fall in love with this obscure, almost unknown country. You also get to see the madness that ensues when one of her Bhutanese friends comes to visit her and the drama that unfolds there.
Overall, the entire book is one that is hard to put down. My only complaints is that Lisa Napoli starts to be really candid with aspects of her life such as being raped or hooking up with a guy, but then completely shuts the reader out regarding why a relationship ended. Twice she hooks up with someone that came into her life because of Bhutan and she spends a great deal of time talking about her attraction to them and the slow burn to actually becoming involved with them. Then right after she hits that climax...she says "and it just didn't work out." Then it's never mentioned again.Read more ›
I was sad to see numerous factual inaccuracies in the book. I would expect any author to verify facts before immortalizing it in a book, and more so an experienced journalist such as Napoli. It may have appeared inconsequential to her, being afterall parts of small anecdotes here and there, but combined they stand to misinform the reader. What was more disappointing to me and I know that several Bhutanese friends of mine who have also read the book share my sentiments, is that Napoli advertises the book as being about the "starting" of a Radio Station in the country from the ground up when this is NOT true. Kuzoo, the station in mention, was well set up and functioning a considerable time before her arrival. Her contributions to the station are certainly not to the extent that the author's advertising have us believe.
I also found it very misrepresentative of the country as a whole. Napoli's interactions with the Bhutanese were, from what I gather, limited to a small group of individuals. Basing all her research on these few experiences and interactions makes it, to me, rather lacking. I don't claim my country to be any so called "shangrila"-the irony being that none of us Bhutanese actually do-but to know more about it, all aspects of it, I wouldn't rely on this book. At least turn to authors who provide more depth in their portrayal of the country and people. There are so many facets to the country, any country for that matter, and it's always sad when a book barely grazes beyond the surface.
As a reader, I wouldn't say the prose was exceptional in any way. Like a previous reviewer mentioned, it read more like a series of blog entries that don't quite flow as a book. So, if I had to recommend a book to someone interested in my country, it definitely wouldn't be Radio Shangrila.
The thing I most enjoyed about this book was that it combined diary-like introspection with first-class reportage and humor. Ms. Napoli tells us about the awesome mountain vistas and wonderful, friendly people of Bhutan, but she also regales us with tales of greed (a Buddhist holy-man who is not averse to trying to squeeze a quick buck out of foreigners) and dislocation, as Bhutan lurches, ever so gingerly, into the 21st century. We have a country that is trying to change from a kingdom into a parliamentary democracy, but where the elections can't be held until the monks determine what days will be most auspicious; a country that wants tourism, but that imposes a substantial fee so that only "the right sort of person" will show up.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really loved it. well-written, a glimpse of a time in a different culture.Published 10 hours ago by Adelaide
Beautifully written. A beautiful job and story that among other things depicts vast aspects of how societies and nations evolve in our post-modern world. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Fred Schneider
I am planning a trip to Bhutan in Fall and this was a delightful book to read as an orientation to the country, culture, etc. I really enjoyed it.Published 1 month ago by Tish
She took me there and brought me back and let me hear the music in between. A completely original story and I can't wait to read her next book, too.Published 3 months ago by Hank Rosenfeld, folk journalis author of new conversation book WALKY TALKY
Having traveled to Bhutan I found it very nostalgic. In addition to the travelogue, I loved the story of her finding herself. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Rhonda Kost
I have always been interested in Bhutan and when I met the author last month it awakened my interest so I purchased the book. Read morePublished 11 months ago by D Breen
Light reading and interesting, especially when describing Bhutan. Somewhat repetitive, but take it to the beach..and enjoy!Published 14 months ago by Nancy R. Gray
I read this book quickly because I couldn't get enough of it. I wanted to be in Bhutan on Napoli's adventure. She's filled the story with details of place, food and personalities. Read morePublished 21 months ago by MEL RYANE