Friday, April 29, 2011

Radio Shangri-La: What I Learned in Bhutan, the Happiest Kingdom on Earth by Lisa Napoli

In 2007, in the midst of a midlife crisis, Lisa Napoli first travelled to Bhutan to volunteer at the only radio station in a mysterious kingdom which had only recently opened its borders to tourists. A $200/day tourist tax helped to keep the numbers of visitors low in this country where the king decided to measure Gross National Happiness instead of GNP.

Kuzoo FM 90, a haphazard affair run by young but enthusiastic amateurs, was exactly the challenge Napoli needed to make peace with herself and gain a humble and grateful perspective on her place in the world. Over a span of about two years and several visits, Napoli witnessed Bhutan's rapid modernization and changeover to a constitutional monarchy. Her engaging travelogue memoir bears similar witness to her own growth, as she learns to get over herself.

Readalikes: A Fork in the Road by Anik See; Poser: My Life in 23 Yoga Poses by Claire Dederer; Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.

2 comments:

Claire at Latitude said...

Sounds interesting, though I wondered whether "learns to get over herself" means this memoir suffers from the self-indulgence that I found annoying in "Eat Pray Love". I note that you described the latter as a readalike, so how do you compare the tone of the two books?

Lindy said...

The tone is different; Napoli is more clear-eyed and less "poor me" than Gilbert. I don't think you will find Napoli's voice annoying.