Sunday, May 27, 2012

Book Club Read #3: "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho

Our Book Club Read for May was Paulo Coelho's "The Alchemist". I am almost embarrassed to admit I hadn't heard of this book until it was chosen by our book club. It is a phenomenal book which is why I can't possibly wait to write my review until after our Book Club meeting on Tuesday.

Goodreads description:

A Fable About Following Your Dream
Paulo Coelho's enchanting novel has inspired a devoted following around the world. This story, dazzling in its powerful simplicity and inspiring wisdom, is about 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.

We first meet Santiago, a young shepherd, at the ruins of an old church in Andalusia. He was supposed to become a priest, but instead followed his heart, bought some sheep, and started traveling all throughout Andalusia. After a reoccurring dream which tells him to find his treasure, he begins his quest to do just that. Along the way he meets very different people - a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself King of Salem, a crystal merchant, an Englishman, and an alchemist. They all have a part in fulfilling Santiago's quest.

At first, Santiago thinks it is all about finding a treasure of gold, but the longer his journey goes on and the more he interacts with those he meets, the more he realizes his quest is about much more than just material things. He learns to speak the Language of the World and see the Soul of the World.

His quest is not only about the physical journey he has to undergo, but more importantly the journey within himself. It is a tale of following one's dreams and never loosing sight of one's goals, no matter what obstacles might get thrown in one's path. One might doubt themselves at times and even wonder whether one will ever be able to fulfill their own quest - wonder if it will all be worth the while - but as long as one has hope and keeps believing in their dreams and following their heart, anything is possible.

This story is so mesmerizing and just so beautifully written, you will want to read it again and again and again. I know for a fact I will be reading this book over and over again.


Here a few of my favorite passages:

"It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting, he thought, as he looked again at the position of the sun, and hurried his pace."


the man who calls himself king:

"[...] The Soul of the World is nourished by people's happiness. And also by unhappiness, envy, and jealousy. To realize one's Personal Legend is a person's only real obligation. All things are one.
"And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it."


"When he looked into her dark eyes, and saw that her lips were poised between a laugh and silence, he learned the most important part of the language that all the world spoke - the language that everyone on earth was capable of understanding in their heart. It was love."


There are a few more beautiful quotes but some are better left to be discovered for yourselves...


So, this was May's pick and since I can't find my list, I'm not even sure what we will be reading in June. I'm okay with that though, because I'm still living in this wonderful book...

Believe in yourself and in your dreams and always follow your heart.

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