Saturday, May 5, 2012


One of the benefits of reading used books is: I get to sort thru the books available and choose the ones that have done well. Its a kind of a mob-intelligence thing. Yeah, I choose some of my books the way ants build amazing underground cities: by dumbly following each other around and doing what most of the others do.

Baaaa! yes, mixed metaphor. what?

But lots of times it works!

Enter Paulo Coelho and The Alchemist. Simple tale. Short and sweet. Powerful lessons. But with, you know, complete sentences. Coelho is a thoughtful guy, and clearly believes both in God and in faith. Funny thing is, I think you could bring one or the other with you to this story--maybe both, maybe neither--and you'd still get something out of it. Every book is a conversation between the author and the individual reader, and what we bring to the reading makes the conversation, and the ultimate result, different for everyone. So how is it that some books, especially books like this, connect with so many people? That comes from Coelho's simplicity in story telling, and the simple, personal way he describes faith as faith in ones self first. Because his ideas are centered in the self, we all get it. Its a kind of middle-east meets east idea.

Coelho has written a bunch of books, but I haven't read any of the others, and my guess is that I won't. The ideas presented in this book are clear and powerful. So much so that I think its something Coelho has been working on for a while. I'm guessing this book took off because its his best attempt to express these simple ideas. And once you've read it, why bother reading it again? The others will pale in comparison.

Is this feeling completely contrary to what I've just read? Maybe, but then again, maybe not. My conversation with Paulo Coelho is different than yours; but its one you should have.

Read this book.

And support the public library. It still is, what the promise of the internet was. and still could be, by the way.

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