Wednesday, December 13, 2006

book clubbing in December

This month my book club read The Alchemist by Paul Coelho. (I picked a short book because December is always so hectic).

Subtitled ‘A Fable About Following Your Dream,’ the book is:
the story of an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles along the way. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasures found within. Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is an eternal testament to the transforming power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts.

It received a pretty mixed response from our book club members: some loved it, some hated it, some were indifferent. I liked it, but probably just because I thought it was so much better than The Why Cafe, another one of these fable-about-following-your-dreams books.

I honestly don't really have much to say about it, for me it was forgettable. However, reading the book did make me wonder what Coelho's other work is like so I guess it did succeed in being a good introduction to the author.


  1. Hello,
    I also love Paulo Coelho`s The Alchemist. It changed my life totaly.
    Do you know, that Paulo has blog:
    and also newsletter:
    it`s realy great.
    i enjoy his work as you :)
    cheers and best reagards!

  2. Indeed quite forgettable. Especially for people with some reading experience. I think the book would be amazing for 6th-7th grade (which is in Serbia 13-14 years of age) but later it's little shallow and predictable. I don't know how anyone who has read (at least) Hesse could be amazed by Coelho?

    He is extremely popular in Serbia. His ex wife is from Belgrade (and knowing Serbs that must have something with his popularity LOL), he is often in Serbia and writes column in one Serbian magazine. But in the same time many are reading his novels secretly. Stupid I know, but the reason is I guess precisely that etiquette of digested literature he has.

    Sometimes I do need escapist story, easy and fast and he is quite good for that. I've read beside "The Alchemist"; "By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept: A Novel of Forgiveness"; "The Fifth Mountain"; "Veronika Decides to Die: A Novel of Redemption"; "The Devil and Miss Prym: A Novel of Temptation" (Ok, I guess I've read quite a lot of him!) and indeed they are all forgettable but while reading might be satisfying (although "Veronika" was irritable).
    I do have "Eleven Minutes" on my tbr (and people are saying that is his best novel so far and so not like previous; I know one of the character is my namesake and is from Serbia :)).
    Also I'm interested in "The Zahir: A Novel of Obsession" because "Zahir" was taken from Borges, I wonder is there any connection?

    So about Coelho – you've already read all that but keep it for kids in your family.