As you might imagine, once we learned we were indeed going to Bhutan, we wanted to learn everything we could about Bhutan and its religion and culture. Smithsonian Magazine had a recent feature about Bhutan, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/da-bhutan.html and the country had just been a part of the 2008 Smithsonian Folklife Festival and a topic of discussion on the Diane Rehm Show on NPR. One of the books recommended on her show was "Bhutan, Himalayan Mountain Kingdom" by Francoise Pommaret. We also found an excellent list of books on the website of the Bhutan Foundation http://bhutanfound.org/?page_id=13 (scroll down to "Books" and click on "HERE"). One book about Buddhism I enjoyed was "Entering the Stream, An Introduction to the Buddha and his Teachings" edited by Samuel Bercholz and Sherab Chodson Kohn. Finally, I heartily recommend "The Geography of Bliss, One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World" by Eric Weiner. Even though only one chapter concerns Bhutan, it was a pleasure to read.
We also found a few delightful movies! I really loved "Travelers and Magicians," about a young Bhutanese bureaucrat posted to what he considers a small village backwater and a trip he makes to the capital. The same Bhutanese director made "The Cup", about Tibetan monks in a monastery in northern India who want to watch the soccer world cup tournament. "Little Buddha" intertwines an account of the life of Buddha with a story about three children who may be the reincarnation of a beloved lama. The opening scenes and last quarter of the movie were set in and filmed at the beautiful Paro dzong in Bhutan. "Dzongs" are fortresses, historically built by lamas. Many dzongs are now museums or government buildings, but many remain monasteries, like the one in Paro.