Sunday, September 30, 2012

Staff Picks

The Happiest Places on Earth

“How would you like to go work for a start-up radio station in Bhutan?”  

The answer from radio journalist Lisa Napoli is an enthusiastic “Yes!” and so begins her fascinating journey from Los Angeles to an isolated kingdom in the Himalayas.

Bhutan sparked Napoli’s interest when its citizens were ranked as the happiest on earth, and her 2008 memoir explores the reasons why.  Just what makes the Bhutanese so happy?  Check out Radio Shangri-La by Lisa Napoli to find out.

You’ll also learn why the reigning king decided to convert his absolute monarchy to a more progressive constitutional one, and see what a Bhutanese student thinks of the United States when she follows Napoli back to Los Angeles at the story’s end.

I was so intrigued by Radio Shangri-La that upon finishing it I immediately checked out The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World, by another radio journalist who researched exotic and not-so-exotic destinations.  Bhutan makes author Eric Weiner’s list, as well as Iceland, a haven for artists whether successful or not; Switzerland, where everything works and all of it’s clean; and Qatar, a nation of excess and exceptionally efficient air conditioning.  I even enjoyed Weiner’s enlightening description of his visit to the former Soviet Republic of Moldova, the least happy country on earth.
For anyone intrigued by human nature or foreign cultures, I would highly recommend this book, especially if you care to discover one of those “Happiest Places” a mere three-hour drive from your home here in Forsyth County. 

Happy Travels!

Alicia Cavitt
Information Specialist