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Download Radio Shangri-La: What I Discovered on my Accidental Journey to the Happiest Kingdom on Earth Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Radio Shangri-La: What I Discovered on my Accidental Journey to the Happiest Kingdom on Earth, by Lisa Napoli Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (829 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Lisa Napoli Narrator: Lisa Napoli Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2011 ISBN: 9780307879912
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Lisa Napoli was in the grip of a crisis, dissatisfied with her life and her work as a radio journalist. When a chance encounter with a handsome stranger presented her with an opportunity to move halfway around the world, Lisa left behind cosmopolitan Los Angeles for a new adventure in the ancient Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan—said to be one of the happiest places on earth. 

Long isolated from industrialization and just beginning to open its doors to the modern world, Bhutan is a deeply spiritual place, devoted to environmental conservation and committed to the happiness of its people—in fact, Bhutan measures its success in “gross national happiness” rather than in GNP. In a country without a single traffic light, its citizens are believed to be among the most content in the world. To Lisa, it seemed to be a place that offered the opposite of her fast-paced life in the United States, where the noisy din of sound-bite news and cell phones dominate our days, and meaningful conversation is a rare commodity; where everyone is plugged in digitally yet rarely connects with the people around them. 

Thousands of miles away from everything and everyone she knows, Lisa creates a new community for herself. As she helps to start Bhutan’s first youth-oriented radio station, Kuzoo FM, she must come to terms with her conflicting feelings about the impact of the medium on a country that had been shielded from its effects. Immersing herself in Bhutan’s rapidly changing culture, Lisa realizes that her own perspective on life is changing as well—and that she is discovering the sense of purpose and joy that she has been yearning for. 

In this smart, heartfelt, and beautifully written book, sure to please fans of transporting travel narratives and personal memoirs alike, Lisa Napoli discovers that the world is a beautiful and complicated place—and comes to appreciate her life for the adventure it is.

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Quotes & Awards

  • [an] affectionate portrait of life in a slower-paced, high altitude society…absorbing, often touching memoir The New York Times Book Review
  • [An] affectionate portrait of life in a slower-paced, high altitude society…[an] absorbing, often touching memoir. The New York Times
  • Bummed out in midlife, [Lisa] Napoli went to Bhutan to volunteer at the country's first youth-oriented radio station...She reveals the truths--and, yes, happiness--she found there. Perfect for everyone who loves finding-yourself-through-travel memoirs. Library Journal
  • Enjoyable memoir about ex-journalist Napoli’s search for wholeness and spiritual renewal. A refreshingly uplifting book. Kirkus Reviews
  • From the moment she walks off the plane, Ms. Napoli knows she's a universe away... [She] is infatuated with Bhutan, and...has an eye for a good story. Wall Street Journal
  • Joyful….You’ll close the book wishing you could head to Bhutan on the next plane. Toronto Star
  • A rare gift....Radio Shangri-La is much more than just a story of a midlife crisis. It’s the chronicle of a country barreling toward change, and a woman’s search for what happiness really means at any age. Christian Science Monitor
  • "Napoli's wry voice and honest insights create a thoughtful, engaging narrative...[she] avoids romanticizing Bhutan while capturing the country's unique charm. The Globe and Mail
  • Comparisons to the wildly popular Eat Pray Love,’ Elizabeth Gilbert’s international travel romp through meals, meditation, and men, are easy to see...In a refreshing twist on the female travel memoir, Napoli stands brilliantly apart from [Elizabeth] Gilbert in that, in the end, she chooses herself and not another man. Boston.com
  • Lovely and fascinating. Minneapolis Star-Tribune
  • Mesmerizing. Portland Oregonian
  • Radio Shangri-La reminded me of Deborah Rodriguez’s 2007 bestselling Kabul Beauty School. Only better, if for no other reason than the writing here is just so sharp and terrific…Journalist Napoli writes stylishly about physical and spiritual renewal. Part travel memoir, part crossroads handbook, Radio Shangri-La is unforgettable.—JanuaryMagazine.com
  • Fascinating. Spirituality & Practice
  • Radio Shangri-La  has shades of Pico Iyer and Bruce Chatwin and a similar genius for parachuting the reader into a strange land and culture.  Bhutan has long fascinated me and Radio Shangri-La is the perfect vehicle to get there. Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone
  • Radio Shangri-La is a beautiful, touching and deeply compelling memoir by a well-known public radio reporter who arrived in the tranquil kingdom of Bhutan to help establish the nation's first radio station and, as important, to further her own mid-life assessment of a life that felt full of missteps.  The book is delightful reading--honest, moving and quietly spiritual as it offers both an intimate portrait of a country only halfway to modernity and a soul in quest of meaning. Scott Turow, author of Innocent
  • Radio Shangri-La grabs you by the heart and takes you on a winding dual journey -- into the self and into a fairy tale kingdom known for measuring happiness as its gross national product. Charming, illuminating, and often ironic, this memoir is a continuous discovery of myths and realities in finding deeper personal meaning. Amy Tan, author of The Joy Luck Club and Saving Fish from Drowning
  • “Charming, illuminating, and often ironic, this memoir is a continuous discovery of myths and realities in finding deeper personal meaning.”

    Amy Tan

  • “A beautiful, touching and deeply compelling memoir.”

    Scott Turow, New York Times bestselling author of Innocent

  • “Bhutan has long fascinated me and Radio Shangri-La is the perfect vehicle to get there.”

    Abraham Verghese, New York Times bestselling author of Cutting for Stone

  • “[An] affectionate portrait of life in a slower-paced, high altitude society…[an] absorbing, often touching memoir.”

    New York Times

  • “From the moment she walks off the plane, Ms. Napoli knows she’s a universe away…[She] is infatuated with Bhutan, and…has an eye for a good story.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Joyful…You’ll close the book wishing you could head to Bhutan on the next plane.”

    Toronto Star

  • “A rare gift…Radio Shangri-La is much more than just a story of a midlife crisis. It’s the chronicle of a country barreling toward change, and a woman’s search for what happiness really means at any age.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • “Napoli’s wry voice and honest insights create a thoughtful, engaging narrative…[She] avoids romanticizing Bhutan while capturing the country’s unique charm.”

    Globe and Mail (Toronto)

  • “Lovely and fascinating.”

    Minneapolis Star-Tribune

  • “Mesmerizing.

    Oregonian

  • “Fascinating.”

    Spirituality & Practice

  • “Perfect for everyone who loves finding-yourself-through-travel memoirs.”

    Library Journal

  • “Enjoyable memoir about ex-journalist Napoli’s search for wholeness and spiritual renewal. A refreshingly uplifting book.

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Helen Crow | 2/17/2014

    " Just exactly what I wanted to know about Bhutan. Written by a proficient journalist, it's a fun, quick read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Craig Delarge | 2/15/2014

    " Good memoir. Eat, Pray, Love-ish. Good insights on how closed cultured are transformed by external exposures. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Natalie | 2/13/2014

    " I felt like there wanted to be more, but also that if it had been any longer i would have been really annoyed. Honestly I am not really sure what I thought. I have questions about the "white girl goes to asia to find herself" genre in general but I admire the need and followthrough to improve one's happiness. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sonja | 2/9/2014

    " Very informative memoir about an American journalist's adventures in Bhutan "the happiest kingdom on Earth", and the modern changes it is going through. She finds her whole life philosophy changed when she returns tothe US. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Vanessa | 1/20/2014

    " I like the story and history about Buthan and all the little details only a visitor like the author can observe. However, I'm not sure I like the writing very much. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Catherine | 11/27/2013

    " Learned a lot about Bhutan from this engrossing memoir. Also, had a chance to meet the charming author. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Scott Ireland | 10/29/2013

    " Very good story, and great description of Bhutan and the Bhutanese "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michelle | 5/31/2013

    " Great read and gives insight into Bhutan and its culture and citizens. Would have liked more description about its landscape. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melanie | 4/28/2013

    " A coming-of-age book that isn't traditional. It's the coming-of-age for both Lisa (the author) and the country of Bhutan. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hira | 3/26/2013

    " What an amazing book. Not only is it a beautiful memoir, it is also an incredibly wonderful book showcasing the history of the region. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kuen | 3/9/2013

    " 3.5 star. Was interesting and captivating 2/3 of the way and kind of falters after that. Nonetheless was still a good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Colleen Zambole | 9/8/2012

    " I really enjoyed this book. The author really brought the people and culture of Bhutan to life! I will be visiting Bhutan later this year and her story has really got me very excited to experience this amazing place as soon as possible!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nicholas Carpathia | 7/22/2012

    " The Book is well structured in leading to the main point in the story. It was pretty predicable in some areas, but always with an inspiring twist. The end also ended with a nice twist. Pretty Inspirational just the character placement was a little off. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Stephanie | 4/24/2012

    " It was interesting learning about Bhutan from the author's personal experience. However, I felt the end of the book was dragging on a bit when she continued the story after her original return home. Otherwise it was a fairly educational and entertaining read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brandi | 2/19/2012

    " I got this free from ReadItForward, and it is my favorite free read yet. I love learning about life in other countries, and I had never even heard of Bhutan. I would recommend this to any fellow arm chair tourists out there. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rob | 12/1/2011

    " Interesting take on the changes taking place in Bhutan. And what happens when people come to visit from Bhutan and then disappear when their visas expire. Not a fairy tale, but realistic reactions of an American who spends more time living/working in Bhutan than the average tourist. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elena Czarnowski | 11/8/2011

    " AMAZING -- so much more that I thought it would be...I miss it already... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mara Gaulzetti | 9/16/2011

    " I really liked this book! I got it as a library eBook and read it quickly because it was such an interesting and fun read. It takes place during the democratization of Bhutan, when the kind stepped down and his son took over, and the country held its first democratic election! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Joy | 5/16/2011

    " abandoned this one too. though I think it's worth it for the cultural insight, the author is a little too self-absorbed and it grates. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tania | 4/4/2011

    " Great book! Wonderful and easy read! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elena | 3/30/2011

    " AMAZING -- so much more that I thought it would be...I miss it already... "

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