Publisher: Crown Publishing, 2011
Source: From the publisher for a TLC Book Tour
My Rating: A
Radio Shangri-La is the uplifting story of a journey, one that is both physical and internal. Lisa Napoli, a well-known public radio journalist (Market Place) takes us along with her as she explores the little known country of Bhutan (bu ta n) and as she assesses her life at it’s mid-point.
Through a friend of a friend, 43-year old Lisa Napoli was invited to Bhutan to help a fledgling, independent radio station. This meant her time there was not as a tourist but as someone with a job and an apartment and access to the Bhutanese people who also lived and worked there.
Fortunately for us, Ms. Napoli is a keen observer of the details around her. I felt as if I had also been to Bhutan. Through her descriptions I could actually see what people looked like, what they were wearing and eating and talking about. I loved her descriptions of the radio station as well as the mountains and the city streets. I could even imagine the monkeys skipping along the river.
Ms. Napoli’s observations extended to cultural, historical and political information as well. I felt that, by the end of the book, I had a fairly good understanding of this country that is landlocked between China and India and surrounded on three sides by the Himalyas. Because she was in a good position to observe the comings and goings of the royalty and other high officials in Bhutan, it felt like I was also in on the latest news. It wasn’t in a gossipy way but more of a “here’s what I’ve been told” style.
Lisa Napoli seems to excel at making friends and I truly enjoyed getting to know the various people she introduced me to in Radio Shangri-La. I especially enjoyed getting to know Nguwang, a young Bhutanese friend at the radio station. Very interesting was the account of Nguwang’s visit to Ms. Napoli in Los Angeles. It was quite the culture shock.
The people of Bhutan were treated with the utmost respect in this book, which is something I appreciate. I do not like books in which Americans travel to under-developed countries and complain about their backwardness. Ms. Napoli admires the people and their culture. She worries about how western influence will harm them. Bhutan is currently considered one of the happiest countries in the world. I agree that it would be great if it could stay that way.
Recommend? Yes, I strongly recommend Radio Shangri-La to those of you who love to discover or learn about new cultures and/or travel to new countries.
The publisher has very generously offered two copies as a giveaway to my readers. If you are interested, please let me know in the comments section. I’ll keep the giveaway open through March 17th and announce the winners on March 18th.
For more information on Lisa Napoli check her blog here: Lisa Napoli
To participate in a book drive for Bhutan, go here: Books To Bhutan
I want to thank Lisa at TLC Book Tours for asking me to read this book. She knew I’d like it and she was right. For other stops on the Radio Shangri-La Book Tour visit here: TLC Book Tours
Photo Credits: The map is from Wikipedia. The picture of the charming children was shamelessly stolen from the author’s blog.