Friday, November 9, 2012

The Alchemist

The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

Santiago is a shepherd in Spain who knows every last aspect of how to care for his sheep. He is intrigued by a recurring dream, though, that tells him he will find treasure at the Pyramids of Egypt. He finds a woman to interpret his dream, and she tells him he will find treasure at the Pyramids of Egypt. Then he meets a man, a King in disguise, who tells him to follow the omens in order to fulfill his Personal Legend. Those are the first omens in a long trip that takes him across the waters into a foreign land in pursuit of both his treasure and his Personal Legend. Along the way, he suffers hardships, finds talented teachers, and learns how to speak the Language of the World that will help guide him on his Personal Legend. Ultimately, he learns to live his life as a pilgrimage, instead of just the one journey to fulfill his Personal Legend.

Paulo Coelho is an international renowned author with (I’m not sure so I’ll estimate) who knows how many books in print, and probably even more honors and awards to his name, and it’s easy to see why. ”The Alchemist” is a thrilling story because it is so eminently relatable but also such a dream. Santiago drops everything he has to go on a journey to a foreign land in search of something. How many people actually have the opportunity to do that, but how many people always imagine going on a similar journey? It’s also a simple story. The wording is basic and understandable, the cast of characters is fairly uncomplicated, and the settings, although I’m not personally familiar with them, are easy to imagine. Not to mention all the quotable portions. Coelho has a magic pen that lets him write boggling life lessons in straightforward prose. It’s so easy, but so magnificent.

Absolutely, you have to read “The Alchemist.” Way back when, one of my friends recommended it to me and I was less than thrilled with it. But I reread it just a year or so ago, and loved it. And this time around, I still loved it. It’s an amazing book for thinking. It’s so easy to read that you can get through it in a matter of hours if you really want to, but if you are looking for a soul-satisfying discussion, stop and think about it a little bit. It could take you days to get through it that way, but it’s worth it. You must read this book.

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