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Jeff Greenwald's classic travelogue takes the reader on a journey across the Himalayan peaks and through the rustic lanes of Kathmandu in search of the "perfect" Buddha statue. At turns hilarious and moving, his quest features a cast of amazing characters—from a passionate palmist to a flying lama —who provide unforgettable glimpses into the daily life and culture of the f Jeff Greenwald's classic travelogue takes the reader on a journey across the Himalayan peaks and through the rustic lanes of Kathmandu in search of the "perfect" Buddha statue. At turns hilarious and moving, his quest features a cast of amazing characters—from a passionate palmist to a flying lama —who provide unforgettable glimpses into the daily life and culture of the former kingdom (including a wild rise on Kathmandu’s very first escalator). Nor does Greenwald shy away from Shangri-la’s darker side. Along with colorful descriptions of Hindu and Buddhist mythology, the book tells of the rampant corruption, art smuggling , assassination attempts and human right abuses that would ignite Nepal’s violent "People Power" Revolution in April 1990. (The subject of Greenwald’s most recent book, Snake Lake.) A new Afterword by the author recounts Nepal's tumultuous recent history—including the massacre of the Royal Family—in vivid detail. And a new Preface introduces this 25th Anniversary Edition with some thoughts about how Nepal, and travel writing, have evolved since the book’s first publication. Winner of the Lowell Thomas Gold Award for Best Travel Book, Shopping for Buddhas remains a must-read for anyone who has visited, or plans to visit, Nepal.


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Jeff Greenwald's classic travelogue takes the reader on a journey across the Himalayan peaks and through the rustic lanes of Kathmandu in search of the "perfect" Buddha statue. At turns hilarious and moving, his quest features a cast of amazing characters—from a passionate palmist to a flying lama —who provide unforgettable glimpses into the daily life and culture of the f Jeff Greenwald's classic travelogue takes the reader on a journey across the Himalayan peaks and through the rustic lanes of Kathmandu in search of the "perfect" Buddha statue. At turns hilarious and moving, his quest features a cast of amazing characters—from a passionate palmist to a flying lama —who provide unforgettable glimpses into the daily life and culture of the former kingdom (including a wild rise on Kathmandu’s very first escalator). Nor does Greenwald shy away from Shangri-la’s darker side. Along with colorful descriptions of Hindu and Buddhist mythology, the book tells of the rampant corruption, art smuggling , assassination attempts and human right abuses that would ignite Nepal’s violent "People Power" Revolution in April 1990. (The subject of Greenwald’s most recent book, Snake Lake.) A new Afterword by the author recounts Nepal's tumultuous recent history—including the massacre of the Royal Family—in vivid detail. And a new Preface introduces this 25th Anniversary Edition with some thoughts about how Nepal, and travel writing, have evolved since the book’s first publication. Winner of the Lowell Thomas Gold Award for Best Travel Book, Shopping for Buddhas remains a must-read for anyone who has visited, or plans to visit, Nepal.

30 review for Shopping for Buddhas: An Adventure in Nepal

  1. 5 out of 5

    Margitte

    This review is can also be found on my blog, where images of Nepal was added for visual vignettes - not part of the book, borrowed from the internet. I got carried away by the beauty and magic of Nepal. Pardon the many photos added to the text on the blog. I simply could not help myself! This text also contain many spoilers. Please skip it if you don't like it. If you're interested, which I hope you are, you can view the blog post HERE But let's get our travel boots on and get go This review is can also be found on my blog, where images of Nepal was added for visual vignettes - not part of the book, borrowed from the internet. I got carried away by the beauty and magic of Nepal. Pardon the many photos added to the text on the blog. I simply could not help myself! This text also contain many spoilers. Please skip it if you don't like it. If you're interested, which I hope you are, you can view the blog post HERE But let's get our travel boots on and get going! _______________________________________ The Publisher's Weekly review sums it up very nicely indeed: "Waist-high snow, a flying lama and the first escalator in Kathmandu are among the many attractions Greenwald experienced during his stays in Nepal. His often flip tone belies a serious purpose, and his account of shopping for just the right statue of Buddha illuminates various aspects of Nepalese culture. He discusses some of the gods and beliefs of Hinduism and proposes his own list of possible bodhisattvas, whom he describes as people who ``recognize . . . their peculiar function'' in life including Mother Teresa and John Lennon. He learns of the Nepalese concept of perfect art, seeks the advice of a guru who wears Ray-Bans and faces the maneuverings of shopkeepers who cater to foreign buyers. Nor does Greenwald overlook the darker side of this country, now undergoing political upheavals..." _______________________________________ Best-selling author Jeff Greenwald traveled extensively all over the world, writing stories, sending them back home to America, when technology was practically non-existent. That in itself became an adventure. The travel bug originated from his mom and the restlessness was a genetic favor from his dad. He wrote several articles for a variety of magazines and acquired valuable experience for his later work. He worked as a photographer and journalist during the Seventies and Eighties when the transition took place from fax machines, to slow internet, to the super-fast information highway and had to adapt to the challenges it brought to the survival of travel writers. He realized that he had to find an angle in his books that would make them unique from any other format available. He settled on writing a travel story, in which he writes his personal experiences around a central theme, and at the same time provide historical, cultural, geographical as well as political information about the country that will satisfy the traveler to the place too. His story would have a beginning, a middle and an end. And since he never ended up writing the novel, he decided to add a touch of character development to the people he share his travels with. And what characters they were! Intelligent, funny, innovative, diplomatic, mysterious. Shopping for Buddhas proof to be exactly what he set out to do with the book. It is the story of his personal growth and development, while travelling to Nepal in a quest to find the perfect statue of a Buddha. He also had to write an investigative article on the international illegal trade in artifacts. His personal mores and values clashed with the lifestyle of the people of the country, he visited more than once, and the more he returned there, the more he had to address the conflict it created within himself. (view spoiler)[ 'Every time I get off the plane in Kathmandu—right after climbing down the roll-away stairs and stepping onto the runway at Tribhuvan International Airport—I let out a whoop of jubilation. Something in the air is so immediately exotic, so full of the promise of liberation from the veneer of bullshit slopped onto my soul by Life in the Western World, that the moment of contact releases a shock of energy. I see it now as a kind of grounding: like touching a brass doorknob after shuffling around on a rug. (hide spoiler)] Shopping for Buddhas also provides valuable information to shop for quality products. It opens up the art scene, antique as well as modern, and provides the reader with fascinating tips on what not to buy and what to pay. He wanted a specific Buddha: "That pose: Buddha in full lotus, his left hand resting in his lap, untrembling. Fingers of the right hand gently grazing the ground. That was the pose I wanted." He wanted to discover a Buddha that made him sigh with a feline growl of primal longing. The real inhabitants of the country, in all their splendor, good and bad, is part of the story. He becomes part of the furniture himself, observing the superficial world of the tourist traps. This element in the book distinguishes it from just being a sterile travel manual and makes it a much deeper experience in the end. The political turmoil is discussed from the author's point of view: the outsider, looking in. He observes the power at play and the manipulation and window-dressing applied to impress the outside world. (view spoiler)[ By now, at the eleventh hour, the “improvements” had expanded to a level far beyond a simple revamp of the city’s surface area. I noticed, as I bicycled down the street, that all the familiar cripples, the ragged men who scoot around on little carts or pull themselves along the ground on pieces of tire rubber, were mysteriously absent. They’d been “relocated,” I was informed—but to where? And where were the infamous rickshaws, with their barefoot drivers, garishly painted cabs and pathetically skewed awnings? Had they, too, like that ill-fated car within eyeshot of the King’s motorcade, been taken off to some “lonely place”? p.110 The cows, of course, remained; but even they seemed somehow manicured, deodorized and freshly shampooed. It was as if the entire city were being given a gigantic enema! (hide spoiler)] He lives among the Nepali people, make good friends, adapt to the local diet, and blend in with his new environment. (view spoiler)[ "We shared one of those perfect cohabitations that occurs maybe once every two or three lifetimes. I remember it as a constant stream of intelligent fun, punctuated by crippling stints of eye, nose and throat infections, worms, amoebas and boils. (hide spoiler)] He consults a corpulent guru, named Lalji, who could advise him on how to change his outlook in life to ensure success in his work. He would visit Lalji a few times during his visits to the country. Finally Lalji confronts him : “I challenge you to create something—one thing, however small, however large!—that does not reflect the fact that you are both completely dissatisfied and highly critical of everything in the world!” Lalji's insight into the author's life is rejected at first, but then, over a period of several years, reconsidered. It becomes the axis that will control all changes in his life and lead him to a dramatic moment of enlightenment.(view spoiler)[ "It sounded right, so I said it again—and again—realizing, as I continued to utter those two words, that I had lit on a great secret, had collected a fabulous blessing, entirely by chance. I had discovered my personal holy mantra; the incantation that would save me whenever I felt tempted by the luxury of self-pity, or distracted by the affectation of self-doubt. Not only was it my mantra; it was the ultimate, the highest mantra of all! (hide spoiler)] With a gentle subtle comment he warned against the water in the country. He showered with his mouth firmly closed. Tried not to breath in the shower to avoid inhaling "even a drop of the deadly local water (I actually knew one woman who showered with a snorkel)" He watches a little boy and his dad flying a kite in the park, and realized that technology developed in many more forms than the West could ever imagine. Even in the small, mundane things, developed manually, another magical skill was perfected. (view spoiler)[ "With their incense and prayer flags, their sacred architecture and tantric rituals, their ability to breathe life into wood, metal and stone, the people of Nepal and Tibet have spent centuries forging two-way bonds between the material and ethereal realms. It may have seemed like paper, sticks and string—but the tiny kite was a conduit for direct communication between heaven and earth" "Nepal seems so much more vivid than life anywhere else, I would answer with a single word: time. There is a quality to time spent in Nepal that can only be described as inhalant. Back home in the Wild West, time hips by with the relentless and terrible purpose of a strangling vine filmed in fast motion. A week, two months, ten years snap past like amnesia, a continual barrage of workdays, appointments, dinner dates and laundromats, television shows and video cassettes, parking meters, paydays and phone calls. In Nepal, the phenomenon is reversed. Time is a stick of incense that burns without being consumed. One day can seem like a week; a week, like months. Mornings stretch out and crack their spines with the yogic impassivity of house cats. Afternoons bulge with a succulent ripeness, like fat peaches. There is time enough to do everything—write a letter, eat breakfast, read the paper, visit a shrine or two, listen to the birds, bicycle downtown, change money, buy postcards, shop for Buddhas—and arrive home in time for lunch." (hide spoiler)] Enough. I made way too many notes! It was a fascinating read. I could go on and on about the prose in the book, the way the story enfolded, and elaborate further on the information provided to enrich the experience, such as the Hindu & Buddhist mythology, the detail of political corruption, horrific human rights abuses, and so much more. It was indeed highly interesting facts and impressions. Suffice to say, that this is the kind of travel book I expected to read when I chose it. I expected a subjective travelogue from the perspective of an outsider with compassion for a country, and that is what I got, with a plot and story line thrown in as well. It was an uplifting, informative, adventurous and entertaining read. Yes, it gets five stars. The publisher provided this Travelers' Tales; 25th Anniversary Edition (July 21, 2014) through Edelweiss for review. Thank you for the opportunity,

  2. 4 out of 5

    Yigal Zur

    funny travel book that deal with the culture of Nepal and the religions beside other issues like drug smuggling human rights and of course the western young backpackers who are coming in hordes to find enlightenment with a joint. funny

  3. 4 out of 5

    H

    This book passed the time while idling in Nepal, but I found it oddly pointless.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Philip

    I bought and read this during a recent trip to Kathmandu (seemed appropriate), but was very disappointed – certainly with author Jeff Greenwald, but also with Lonely Planet for publishing such nonsense. I had hoped that the nominal theme of hunting for a perfect Buddha statue would serve as a vehicle for Greenwald to riff on a variety of religious and cultural themes; and while it did, these riffs were generally immature, poorly-developed and awkwardly written, (“my tongue flopped around in my m I bought and read this during a recent trip to Kathmandu (seemed appropriate), but was very disappointed – certainly with author Jeff Greenwald, but also with Lonely Planet for publishing such nonsense. I had hoped that the nominal theme of hunting for a perfect Buddha statue would serve as a vehicle for Greenwald to riff on a variety of religious and cultural themes; and while it did, these riffs were generally immature, poorly-developed and awkwardly written, (“my tongue flopped around in my mouth like an unpeeled banana” – really?). The author himself comes off as shallow and self-absorbed, with only a superficial understanding of some very complex issues – including but not limited to Central Asian politics, and the whole Buddhist/Hindu “meaning of life” thing. He certainly seems like someone who doesn’t yet know what he wants to be when he grows up – author, reporter, artist, hippy? – and throws himself (briefly) into different causes with the turn of a page – he’ll be enraged about antiquities smuggling for a chapter, then shocked over Nepal’s poor human rights record, and then back into full materialistic, obsessive/compulsive shopping mode. (On a personal note – and with the disclaimer that I also work for the State Department – I thought he also takes a few wholly unnecessary and undeserved swipes at the US Embassy in Kathmandu and its hard-working diplomats and Marine guards – even though that same embassy did a quick job of replacing his stupidly lost passport just days before his final departure from Nepal.) What potential there was at the beginning slowly peters out throughout the book and totally disappears by its bizarre last few chapters and weak attempt at a “wrap-it-up” ending. I hope other books in LP’s new series are better screened and edited, but it will be a long while before I read any of them to find out. Meanwhile, if you want to read a really excellent book about a Westerner living in Nepal (if only for a few months), I highly recommend Dervla Murphy's under-appreciated The Waiting Land.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Greenwald's book begins as a spiritual tourist's romp through Nepal, and becomes something more thoughtful. Humorous throughout, and yet, really, quite deep, as Jeff returns again and again to this puzzling, ironic country, seeking the perfect statuette of the Buddha. He does not realize at first that people just like him are virtually robbing the country of its religious artifacts through the small wayside shops of Kathmandu. And then he discovers the truth, that the people of Nepal are being r Greenwald's book begins as a spiritual tourist's romp through Nepal, and becomes something more thoughtful. Humorous throughout, and yet, really, quite deep, as Jeff returns again and again to this puzzling, ironic country, seeking the perfect statuette of the Buddha. He does not realize at first that people just like him are virtually robbing the country of its religious artifacts through the small wayside shops of Kathmandu. And then he discovers the truth, that the people of Nepal are being robbed, not just of their heritage, but by some of the most powerful people in the monarchy. This book was written toward the beginning of the Moaist insurgency. Much has changed in Nepal in the intervening years, but the people remain poor, and life expectancy is not long at all. In three months time, I will be in Nepal, in the middle of the LangTang Valley on a humanitarian mission with Clown One Italia. Because of this book, my understanding of what I will see and experience will be expanded. Not a lot of books written about Nepal. I'm glad this is one of them.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jim Lavis

    This memoir inspires me to travel to Nepal and really spend some time there. I’ve wanted to travel to Nepal for many years and reading this book confirmed that Nepal is a place I need to see. This is not a typical travel memoir. He shares so much of his personal thoughts, struggles, and insights as he travels, and I truly got caught up in his journey. He addresses the political challenges and corruption within the government and a bit of the history that fostered such an environment. I learned s This memoir inspires me to travel to Nepal and really spend some time there. I’ve wanted to travel to Nepal for many years and reading this book confirmed that Nepal is a place I need to see. This is not a typical travel memoir. He shares so much of his personal thoughts, struggles, and insights as he travels, and I truly got caught up in his journey. He addresses the political challenges and corruption within the government and a bit of the history that fostered such an environment. I learned some valuable insights about Nepal, and I felt like I was there with him. Jeff Greenwald loves Nepal and he’s a true traveler. I like this book so much; I’ll be tempted to read it again and again.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Chris Hays

    Well this book is not terrible, I just did not connect with the author's voice. It was nice to hear about Nepal as it was 25 years before I set foot in the country. I enjoyed some of the takes on tourism, politics, and what it is like to be a foreigner in a strange land. I was less interested in the author's zany attempts at humor, side tangents and hash trips, and his finish. I sure this might connect with others, yet it is not a style I prefer. Well this book is not terrible, I just did not connect with the author's voice. It was nice to hear about Nepal as it was 25 years before I set foot in the country. I enjoyed some of the takes on tourism, politics, and what it is like to be a foreigner in a strange land. I was less interested in the author's zany attempts at humor, side tangents and hash trips, and his finish. I sure this might connect with others, yet it is not a style I prefer.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Wierick

    God, I want to like this book. Especially since I met the author and he signed my copy when I worked at a bookstore. And he's really nice! But this book just seems SO self-indulging. I've started it twice now, flipped ahead to see if it gets better, and it doesn't. Seems to me that if your main objective is to buy a Buddha statue, then you're missing the point of Buddhism. God, I want to like this book. Especially since I met the author and he signed my copy when I worked at a bookstore. And he's really nice! But this book just seems SO self-indulging. I've started it twice now, flipped ahead to see if it gets better, and it doesn't. Seems to me that if your main objective is to buy a Buddha statue, then you're missing the point of Buddhism.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Pritchard

    In my opinion if you are shopping for Buddhas then you are missing the whole point of Buddhism. There are a few interesting descriptions of Kathmandu, but over all the book and the journey therein is rather pointless.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rita Malcata

    I read it recently during a trip to Nepal. Some of the interesting themes as politics, human rights are lightly touched but not discuss any further...do not add much new or any other insight. Sometimes, the author can be a bit patronising

  11. 4 out of 5

    Valerie

    This entire book is worth it for the description of the mall escalator.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tracey

    A pass-along from my mom, I picked up this book over the weekend & finished it up last night. Greenwald discusses his travels in Nepal from the 60's to the late 80's, looking not only for enlightenment, but for the perfect Buddha statue. He spends most of his time exploring the marketplaces of Kathmandu, but also visits far flung lamaseries and holy spots. Filtered through the psyche of a neurotic, Jewish-American, the experience is both humorous and at times, magical. Greenwald's Western arroga A pass-along from my mom, I picked up this book over the weekend & finished it up last night. Greenwald discusses his travels in Nepal from the 60's to the late 80's, looking not only for enlightenment, but for the perfect Buddha statue. He spends most of his time exploring the marketplaces of Kathmandu, but also visits far flung lamaseries and holy spots. Filtered through the psyche of a neurotic, Jewish-American, the experience is both humorous and at times, magical. Greenwald's Western arrogance is shown up time and again by the mindset of the Nepalese. I'm not sure how much he really learned from it, as he seems to use drugs as a crutch. The metaphor of an electrocuted crow to expose the political corruption of the regime seems grotequely apt; he mentions in an afterword that the kingdom was changing for the better. Books like this make me want to read more travelogues - discovering places I've never been, even if viewed through another's life experiences, can be transporting.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    This easily could, having been pared down, been an excellent long form piece, and although I gave it three stars, it was a difficult decision to not give it two. Perhaps I downgraded it because I kept thinking a writer such as Ferguson or Troost would have done a much better job injecting humor into the story. I almost gave up on it several times, but was intrigued by the forays into art theft and human rights violations, as well as royal participation in the drug trade, threads that surely dese This easily could, having been pared down, been an excellent long form piece, and although I gave it three stars, it was a difficult decision to not give it two. Perhaps I downgraded it because I kept thinking a writer such as Ferguson or Troost would have done a much better job injecting humor into the story. I almost gave up on it several times, but was intrigued by the forays into art theft and human rights violations, as well as royal participation in the drug trade, threads that surely deserved more attention and depth, more investigative journalism. I felt at times as if I were sitting at a party listening to the host drone on about how he finally found some treasure on his vacation, without the slide show.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kkraemer

    Like all things in this life, the meaning of this book is both simple and profound. On the surface, this is a traveling man's coolness writ large. It begins by telling typical cool guy travel stories, but quickly slows down to explain the history of Brahminism, the family tree of the Hindu faith, the story of the Buddha. These explanations are brief, clear, accurate, and often, funny. Then back to the cool guy travel stories, leading to another diversion into economics. And other stories and a di Like all things in this life, the meaning of this book is both simple and profound. On the surface, this is a traveling man's coolness writ large. It begins by telling typical cool guy travel stories, but quickly slows down to explain the history of Brahminism, the family tree of the Hindu faith, the story of the Buddha. These explanations are brief, clear, accurate, and often, funny. Then back to the cool guy travel stories, leading to another diversion into economics. And other stories and a diversion into culture...you get the picture. The book is a mixture of cool guy stories and incisive information and analyses, a journalistic ride of the best kind. His stories are hilarious and profound; the learning important and, possibly, life changing. This is not a book to miss.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alma

    I am enjoying this travel log describing the search for statues of buddha and other dieties. The book has a lot of lore around hindu gods and goddesses and also current reflection of the touristy and the not so touristy aspects of Nepal - i.e. there are treasures to look at and buy; however, the treasures and relics are being taken from various sites and sold off. It's a double edge sword of preserving history and the desire of the art collector and also the financial rewards that come from sell I am enjoying this travel log describing the search for statues of buddha and other dieties. The book has a lot of lore around hindu gods and goddesses and also current reflection of the touristy and the not so touristy aspects of Nepal - i.e. there are treasures to look at and buy; however, the treasures and relics are being taken from various sites and sold off. It's a double edge sword of preserving history and the desire of the art collector and also the financial rewards that come from selling these relics. Interesting peek into Katmandu.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mary-Marcia

    How amusing! Great for a used book bin find! Though I have just been shopping in Thailand for whatever I could find, it was great fun to be considering all the amulets and plastic statues of the gods. And Buddha can't be dismissed! Enjoyed having having Jeff along with me as I toured the markets of Thailand, cynical and wise cracking, thoughtful and foolish. Not many pages, I took my time reading the book. The spirit of Asia lives large. As another reviewer has stated the scene on the escalator How amusing! Great for a used book bin find! Though I have just been shopping in Thailand for whatever I could find, it was great fun to be considering all the amulets and plastic statues of the gods. And Buddha can't be dismissed! Enjoyed having having Jeff along with me as I toured the markets of Thailand, cynical and wise cracking, thoughtful and foolish. Not many pages, I took my time reading the book. The spirit of Asia lives large. As another reviewer has stated the scene on the escalator is worth the price of admission.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Andrew G

    I read this book many years ago while travelling through Asia. I don't know if it was the casual way the book was written, the fact that the book offered some information on a topic I really knew nothing about or the stage I was in due to my young age but I connected with the book. I wouldn't recommend the book to someone who is well versed in Buddhism or someone who prefers 'serious' literature. It is more for 20 somethings who are spending a lot of time on trains and busses and taking in new l I read this book many years ago while travelling through Asia. I don't know if it was the casual way the book was written, the fact that the book offered some information on a topic I really knew nothing about or the stage I was in due to my young age but I connected with the book. I wouldn't recommend the book to someone who is well versed in Buddhism or someone who prefers 'serious' literature. It is more for 20 somethings who are spending a lot of time on trains and busses and taking in new life experiences ( I may be projecting a bit!)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nienke

    Definitely a fun and humorous book. I love the way how Jeff describes his surroundings, with wit and a cunning feeling for self-ridicule. It's a fast paced, fun book that would appeal to both spiritually minded people and those who simply like travel books, especially Asian-based ones. Shopping for Buddha's starts with the quest for the perfect Buddha, and ends with a need to give up all material wants in order to get closer to enlightenment. Definitely a fun and humorous book. I love the way how Jeff describes his surroundings, with wit and a cunning feeling for self-ridicule. It's a fast paced, fun book that would appeal to both spiritually minded people and those who simply like travel books, especially Asian-based ones. Shopping for Buddha's starts with the quest for the perfect Buddha, and ends with a need to give up all material wants in order to get closer to enlightenment.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    I truly loved reading this book. However, I need to confess that I love most things related to Nepal, along with Nepal’s people and culture. Of course much of this writing is set in Nepal, primarily Kathmandu. The writer has a central theme of looking for the perfect Buddha statue, but also manages to draw in many of aspects to his time spent in and around Nepal. More than likely I will pick this book up again one day.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Solid, entertaining read about the author's experiences living in Nepal and trying to find the perfect Buddha statue. In the intro he describes how this was originally conceived of and performed as a one man show for the stage. It suffers a bit because of that, with sentences that feel like punchlines rather than part of a narrative. But it has great sections about Nepal, religion, and culture. Solid, entertaining read about the author's experiences living in Nepal and trying to find the perfect Buddha statue. In the intro he describes how this was originally conceived of and performed as a one man show for the stage. It suffers a bit because of that, with sentences that feel like punchlines rather than part of a narrative. But it has great sections about Nepal, religion, and culture.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sheila

    My neighbor passed this on for me to read and I enjoyed the book and read it in a couple of and evenings as it was a fast read, funny at times. Greenwald is a good story teller! This is a good travelog for anyone interested in the culture and the people and politics of Nepal.I enjoyed the way he wove culture and history into his travels.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Dan Tasse

    He hung around in Kathmandu for a while. He went shopping for a perfect Buddha statue. He did some things and thought some things. If that sounds like your idea of a good time, this is worth a read. If not, well, it's not. But I enjoyed it. (I recommend first, "The Size of the World" - if you liked that, this is by the same guy.) He hung around in Kathmandu for a while. He went shopping for a perfect Buddha statue. He did some things and thought some things. If that sounds like your idea of a good time, this is worth a read. If not, well, it's not. But I enjoyed it. (I recommend first, "The Size of the World" - if you liked that, this is by the same guy.)

  23. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This is a funny, modest, and insightful account of the author's travels, as well as his political and spiritual awakenings. The short postscript in particular is a revealing account of Nepal's political situation at the time, whilst being helpfully seperate from the more humorous narrative in the rest of the book. This is a funny, modest, and insightful account of the author's travels, as well as his political and spiritual awakenings. The short postscript in particular is a revealing account of Nepal's political situation at the time, whilst being helpfully seperate from the more humorous narrative in the rest of the book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kristi Duarte

    This book may be interesting for people who are about to Travel to Nepal. I expected it to be inspiring and spiritual, but it's just a travelogue of a man shopping for a Buddha statue. It's not very well written and it doesn't have a clear storyline. But if you've never been to Nepal and are about to go there, you might find this book interesting. This book may be interesting for people who are about to Travel to Nepal. I expected it to be inspiring and spiritual, but it's just a travelogue of a man shopping for a Buddha statue. It's not very well written and it doesn't have a clear storyline. But if you've never been to Nepal and are about to go there, you might find this book interesting.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    An easy read about shopping for Buddhas in Kathmandu--I learned much about the art of Buddha shopping and the politics of Napal. I appreciate the authors candid, honest, and often humorous writing style.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Darlene

    The book, although written 25 years ago, is still appropriate commentary on Nepal's developing country status, and was a good summarizing adjunct to my recent dayhiking adventure in the Kathmandu Valley. The book, although written 25 years ago, is still appropriate commentary on Nepal's developing country status, and was a good summarizing adjunct to my recent dayhiking adventure in the Kathmandu Valley.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Eileen

    ***1/2. Thought this might be a painless way to learn some basic Buddhist teachings but the book contains very little of that. It is, however, a compelling, entertaining and thought provoking travel book about Nepal and shopping for Buddha statues from an art perspective..

  28. 4 out of 5

    Dennis C.

    I was never really cheering for anyone in this book. I found the author bothersome.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Susie

    What can I say, I am moving to Bangkok soon.

  30. 5 out of 5

    katen moore

    not a great writer, but good story teller. fun, fast and interesting -- what did I know about nepal prior to reading this book? nothing. I liked it's personalness... if that's a word. not a great writer, but good story teller. fun, fast and interesting -- what did I know about nepal prior to reading this book? nothing. I liked it's personalness... if that's a word.

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