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Shopping for Buddhas: Travel Literature (Lonely Planet Journeys) Paperback – 1 Sep 1996

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Lonely Planet Publications (1 Sept. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 086442471X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0864424716
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 12.9 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,118,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

Review

Greenwald's quest reveals more about modern Nepal...than writings that take themselves much more seriously' -- Chicago Tribune

About the Author

Jeff Greenwald is a writer, photographer, and performer. He is the author of six books, including The Size of the World, for which he created the first Internet travel blog. His work has appeared in Wired, Salon, Smithsonian, Afar, The New York Times Magazine, and many other publications. Jeff serves as the executive director of the nonprofit Ethical Traveler. He has also created a critically acclaimed solo show, Strange Travel Suggestions, which draws from his tales as a travel journalist. Jeff's most recent book, Snake Lake, is set during Nepal's 1990 Democracy revolution. He lives in Oakland, CA. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book

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First Sentence
ON THE morning of Monday, 19 October, 1987, I woke up at a place called Gosainkund - a pocket of sacred lakes, dedicated to Lord Shiva, some four thousand meters high in the Nepali Himalayas. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
This is the kind of travel book I expected to read when I chose it. I expected a subjective travel memoir from 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 travel memoir.

The information provided opens up more than just a tourist possibility. The author embraces everything about the country: the Hindu & Buddhist mythology, the detail of political corruption, horrific human rights abuses, often hilarious moments shared with the Nepalese inhabitants, and so much more. He lives there for longer periods of time than an ordianry tourist will ever do, in which he become part of the landscape of Nepal, living among the people; meeting interesting characters, visiting the unbeliable beautiful natural surroundings. Through his eyes the country becomes a palette of multiple and very rich colors. It became a journey of discovery for me indeed.

"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.. "

Greenwald does not beat around the bush when he observes 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. "By now, at the eleventh hour, the "improvements" had expanded to a level far beyond a simple revamp of the city's surface area.
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Shopping For Buddhas is a book that describes the author's search for a "perfect" Buddha statue during his stay in Nepal, which sounds simple, even dull. That simple description doesn't tell you that the book is based on a series of stand-up shows and that Jeff Greenwald has a great eye for detail and a humourous turn of phrase. At the same time he provides a huge amount of detail about the cultural background of Nepal, of the Hindu symbolism that the statues and carvings, paintings and buildings all represent, the history of the country and he even manages to touch on subjects such as the problems in Nepal with drugs, art theft, poverty and the government.

All of the information is historic however since this is not a new book - my copy has an afterword dated March 1996 - and Nepal has changed a lot since then including a civil war and much unrest. As such the book provides a very entertaining and interesting background to the country but is probably not that helpful as a current guide for visitors planning a trip to the country - which you might expect from the Lonely Planet branding.

As someone who has visited Nepal more recently, I found this book to be a great way to backfill my knowledge of the country and a great way to map my experiences there onto the historical and cultural background of the country. And, of course, whether you plan to go there or not, the book is hugely entertaining: well written and thought provoking but without ever being dull or heavy to read.

I heartily recommend the book to anyone who enjoys travel literature, good stories and some culture and history thrown in.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book in a library out of general interest in Tibet/Nepal. However it was such a funny, charming, informative and very moving book that it was clear early on that it was more than just a "travel guide". Longing to read it again I ordered it from Amazon. My vague interest in Buddhism became far more than just an interest - because of the down to earth way Jeff Greenwald related his experiences. He somehow humanised the Buddha and the many deities connected to Buddhism and Hinduism, making this very complex subject easier to begin to understand. Greenwald has a wicked sense of humour and re-reading this book has opened a lot of doors for me. Namaste!
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Colin Bolton on 12 Feb. 2001
Format: Paperback
An author who can invoke the sights and smells of Kathmandu proceeds with an amusing character whose self imposed mission is to find the perfect statue of Budda. A very entertaining tale highlighting the tension between advancing the spritual self and amasing material goods. For those who have been to Kathmandu it will resonate with your memories, for those that haven't then it should inspire you to go!!
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Dec. 2001
Format: Paperback
The author has managed to keep a consistent story line, with the purchase of the Buddha statue as the main story. But you also get to know more about the country of Nepal, it's people and culture through his efforts to find his Buddha. Sometimes though it can be pretty annoying to follow his attempts to find the right statue and the authour gets lost himself in his story. Some chapters are pretty descriptive and gives you a deeper understanding about a subject, while other chapters just makes you lost and doesn't fit in with the overall story. If you haven't been to Nepal, it is a good purchase to get some basic understanding of it.
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