Saturday, May 2, 2015

"The Alchemist" By Paulo Coelho

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Now that it is summer, one of the things a lot of people will be looking for is a "light, breezy read" that they can pick up when the mood strikes - something they can take out by the pool, or out into the sun. If you do not do much reading, it can be tough to know exactly what book you should pick up, as there is a seemingly endless pile of options when it comes to books; but one book that you certainly cannot go wrong in reading is Paulo Coelho's masterpiece The Alchemist.

Paulo Coelho is a native of Brazil, and The Alchemist was originally written in Portuguese, and while Coelho is fluent in English, he did not translate the work himself; the book was popular when it was published in English, but it especially caught fire when Julia Roberts was photographed reading it, and the book has now been translated into nearly seventy languages and has sold over sixty-five million copies!

Because of the popularity the book has enjoyed, it has also gained many detractors; the good news, however - should you read it and become a detractor yourself - is the fact that the book is a short, breezy read that will not rob you of much time or energy.

As Coelho approaches the book with the intention of encouraging people to follow their dreams - and the entire story is wrapped in this idea - lots of people view the book as a "parable" more than as a work of literature. But whether or not The Alchemist is a great piece of "literature" - or is instead just a great "parable" - it has had an inarguable impact on the lives of millions, and if nothing else, it is worth reading for the pure, simple joy that Coelho pours into the story.

Consider picking up a copy of The Alchemist this summer; the worst case scenario is that you fall among the detractors and wish you had not used a few hours of your life on this book; but the upside of reading this book is extreme, as you just might find yourself among those millions who have had their lives changed by this jewel of a book.

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