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THE A5 BOOK REVIEW
Shopping for Buddhas is a funny book by the American travel writer Jeff Greenwald on his fascination of the culture and religion of Nepal, experienced through an obsession to find and purchase the perfect Buddha statue. On his quest, Greenwald shares a true glimpse into both the richness of the mystical Buddhist religion and the poverty and politics of this region. The writing certainly comes from an American, with the neuroses of a desperate shopper and the sarcasm and sense of humor of someone who grew up in the Bronx. Sometimes his tone is a little silly, but Greenwald’s insights on Nepal are authentic and meaningful. He shares both moments of amazement at Nepal’s beauty and ongoing concerns with its dark side: a long history of art smuggling, drug addiction, political corruption, and rampant human rights abuses. We recommend buying the most recent edition, as Greenwald adds commentary in a new preface with some more recent history of Nepal, including the massacre of the Royal Family in 2001.
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ABOUT JEFF GREENWALD
Jeff Greenwald is an avid world traveler and travel writer who lives in Berkeley, California when not out exploring the world. His has written essays for many publications including the New York Times Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Outside, and Salon.com. He is also generally known for the creating one of the first international travel blogs. In 2003, Greenwald co-founded a nonprofit called Ethical Traveler, created to “empower travelers to change the world.” Their goal is use the economic clout of tourism to protect human rights and the environment.
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GREAT QUOTES FROM SHOPPING FOR BUDDHAS
“There are deeper reasons to travel—itches and tickles on the underbelly of the unconscious mind. We go where we need to go, and then try to figure out what we're doing there. It took a surprisingly long time for me to realize that all these trips to Nepal and environs were united by a single, fundamental theme: the need to steep my cerebral cortex in the culture and religion of the region, in the hopes that as much of it would soak into me as possible.”
"I wanted it all. I mean, if I were prepared to spend a couple hundred dollars for one of these gods I wanted as much for my money as possible. Wisdom. Compassion. Protection. Peace of mind! And for sheer devotional value, ounce for ounce, nothing beats a Buddha."
JEFF GREENWALD - TALKS AT GOOGLE