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I found the book to be extremely interesting as very, very little is known about this closed and secluded country. However, I felt there was something lacking, perhaps more information would have been helpful. I would still definitely recommend this book to others who have penchant to learn about new places that are literally unheard of or where very little is known about the country and its people.
C H. (Wauwatosa, WI)
When I had the chance to get this book as an Advanced Reader's Copy, I couldn't wait for it to come. As the author described of herself, I have been feeling much the same "itch" to go somewhere very different and have my eyes opened to what life could really be. This book was to describe her experience and this was the book for me! I found that her writing style was flat. It didn't describe Bhutan with the excitement that made me able to picture it and want to go there. I found the same in the way she wrote about her relationships with people, both those she became close to and those she met casually. It could be I was wanting too much, but I would not recommend this book and have read several other books of this kind that I keep forefront and dying to visit those places.
Marianne R. (shepherdsville, ky)
I Wanted More
I enjoyed this book up until Lisa got back to the US after her first trip to Bhutan. Then it fell flat. In the end, her story is interesting and I learned about the happiest kingdom on earth, but I have to rate it average.
Julie M. (Bloomington, MN)
No happiness found...
I was prepared to love this book, but it turned out to a bit of a disappointment. I had to force myself to keep reading. If you really want to read a fascinating book on happiness and places where people are the happiest, try The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner instead.
Lynne B. (S. Lake Tahoe, CA)
Bhutan, the Happiest Place on Earth?
Author Lisa Napoli accepts an opportunity to travel to Bhutan, a little known third world country tucked into the Himalayas between India and China. One of the more unusual aspects of this country's governing philosophy is the notion of GNH or Gross National Happiness which means that quality of life is to take precedence over any attempt at financial gain. The most appealing part of this book was the exposure to the lifestyle, dreams and accomplishments of the citizens of this country which has attempted to remain isolated from the damaging influences of the Western world, especially internet and media control. However, over the course of several years covered in the story we come to learn that even tiny Bhutan is undergoing modernization due to the unavoidable exposure to television, internet and media attention. Another aspect of the story which is very unique is the experience of the Bhutanese when they come to the United States and discover unimaginable wealth and material goods, which results in both positive and negative effects. I found this book to be a pleasurable read which provides the reader with a chance to become immersed in the life and culture of real Bhutanese citizens and experience the wonder of an innocent people in a place that can truly be called the last Shangri-La.
Christine A. (Colorado Springs, CO)
I rated the book average because I liked elements of the book. But, I would have liked to know more about Napoli's life in Bhutan. Not much was written about what she specifically did for the radio station and rather late in the book she mentioned friends she had made who were ex-pats but she hadn't mentioned them previously.
Laurette A. (New York)
Visiting the "Happiest Place on Earth"
"Radio Shangri-La" is part travel guide, part historical narrative and part adventure story, and well worth reading. As a journalist, Lisa Napoli was long acquainted with the hustle and bustle of working in the media profession, but nothing had prepared her for life in Bhutan, and in "Radio Shangri-La" she shares her extraordinary experiences with the readers. An unexpected encounter leads to her invitation to visit the tiny Himalayan nation dubbed "the happiest place on earth" and volunteer as a consultant at the start-up radio station Kuzoo FM; a station so young and new that by comparison, the average middle-class teenager in the U.S. had an iPod with a bigger hard drive than the one that engined Kuzoo. Bhutan is a poor nation, but as Ms. Napoli learns, it is overflowing with a sense of community and interconnectedness and it doesn't take her long to fall in love with the country and its people. In the course of her time there she comes to realize that the ingredients for happiness are simple: giving, loving, and contentment with where you are and who you are. I highly recommend you read this book and experience a little bit of Bhutan for yourself.
Betty T. (Warner Robins, Georgia)
Lisa Napoli's description of "the happiest place on earth" certainly made me happy. Ms. Napoli writes beautifully of her visits to Bhutan, a Himalayan kingdom that few are privileged to visit. Her descriptions reminded me of my visits to Thailand where I found the people and the land to be utterly charming. The king of Bhutan works hard to preserve the culture even as the Western world slowly invades the land. Once television was allowed into Bhutan there was no stopping this invasion. There is also the first-time visit to America from one of Ms. Napoli's new Bhutanese friends. We "see" America through Ngawang's eyes which is sometimes humorous and sometimes very revealing of our values.