Thoughts on Book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

I’ve never been a huge fan of self-help books.

My siblings and I come from a small town, population: 3,500. We only recently opened a super-Walmart (which is still kind of small).

We don’t get to see the big city often, but when we do, our favorite thing to do is go to Barnes & Noble.

No, really. We love it there.

It’s crazy how excited we get come the day we get to go. It is, in fact, the only thing we do in Atlanta. And we go there just to read all day long! We would yearn for the weekend to come just so that we can spend an entire day sitting under the store’s tree nook and read.

This time, I chose to read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I’ve heard of  this title through various lists of books one should read during their life, and it seemed short, so why not?

The book captivated me.

It was a perfect dose of fantasy and reality. It asked questions that I’ve been asking myself, such as: What was I meant to do with life? What if I just wanted to enjoy life versus working the life expected of me? 

But it didn’t write the book in the typical tell-you-facts kind of book. There were adventures, adversities, and realizations.

Published in 1988, in Brazil, The Alchemist started out modestly. Copies of the books were sold through word of mouth, but exponentially grew as Coelho had appealed to an American publisher to translate and sell it in the United States. Then, everybody was reading it. 

The Alchemist tells a fictional story of an Arab “boy” (as he is referred as throughout the whole book) who has a recurring dream and the tug of fate to pursue it. He is discouraged by many obstacles, but always has guidance “omens” to pursue what his legacy is. Along the way, he learns to read the signs of the world, understanding how everything in the world is connected. As he reaches the “X” where his treasure is supposed to be located, he finds out that it was buried alllll the way back where he started.

It wasn’t a life changer like The Four Agreements, but I was hooked and finished it within 3 days. The short 200 page book (100 if you read on the phone) had given me a lot of thinking on my current life phase.

The book highlights his resilience, quick wit, weakness, bravery, compassion, logic, ambition, sorrows, and regrets. The boy is so human. 

Yet, there were magical elements, which reminds me of all the fantasy books I used to obsess over.

Time and again, I found myself rooting for the boy, wondering what happens next, as if it were happening to me. I want him to reach his treasure, as I yearn to reach mine- whatever that may be.

I related to the book on a personal level, because I felt it throughout my life.

There is an impression that seems like the book has an overdone cheesy, silly, time-wasting story of you-can-do-anything-you-put-your-heart-to kind of attitude. I don’t believe that the book is meant to be taken seriously by any means.

There were many important lessons I enjoyed through the book, such as:

The book highlights the boy’s resilience, quick wit, weakness, bravery, compassion, logic, ambition, sorrows, and regrets. The boy is so human. Yet, there were magical elements, which reminds me of all the fantasy book I used to obsess over.

If you want something bad enough, the universe will conspire to help you

If one wants something to happen, they have to go after it like crazy. I find that when I search for things, there are always ways to make it happen. Sometimes it comes from a different place than expected, but the signs are all there.

Awareness of the disconnect between people and the surroundings

People don’t listen to the signs in nature. The book also teaches us that all things are connected. The life and energy of every living being can affect all others around it.

Nothing is insignificant, knowledge and sincere, hard work will pay off on the long run

In this part of the book, the boy had gotten all of his life savings taken by a thief. He is left with nothing in a strange land where he begins working at a jewelry store. Slowly he helped the shop-owner expand his business over the months. The business amazingly takes off.

The book spoke out to my naive self, that dreams will eventually come true, if you keep pursuing it and not lose sight of your treasure.


Thanks for stopping by! Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? Do you know of similar books that is similar to this and can recommend? Thanks!IMG_0281

Review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

“Are you happy with your life?”
Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Book: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller

Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you had made a different decision? If you went back and took the road not traveled? Atomic physicist professor Jason Dessen did. On his way to buy ice cream one evening, Jason is abducted and drugged, and wakes up to find himself in a version of Chicago that isn’t his own: he’s not married, he has no child, and he now appears to be an award-winning quantum physicist. Jason journeys through various nightmares to find his way home, or is it his home anymore?

Prices as low as $4.88 on Amazon!

I recently discovered this book at our local library’s recommendation list. We’ve been searching for a book to read together, and the book’s cover and name had hooked my attention. I’ve always loved fantasy/sci-fi fiction books and it’s been awhile since my last Michael Crichton book. I thought I might try something new.

Read it for:

  • Mind-blowing, epic and nerve-wracking journey with a scientist through different universes. Due to the intensity of the events, I stopped reading halfway through the first chapter. I know, weak, but the beginning was rough. When I finally regained my courage to continue, I was hardly able put the book down. Crouch’s prompt and no-nonsense narration of the sequence of events keeps me at the edge of my seat (or more literally, bed).
  • The deep themes of regret. The million of times I spent wondering what would have happened. Dr. Dessen sees both his lives first hand, and has to decide what’s best. The big looming question in the book is something that I’ve fretted countless of hours over before. Do I choose a path that will lead me to success or a path that takes me to true love? These are tough questions and helps me redefine my own views. And if you’ve somehow had a perfect past without regret, there are themes of loss, selfishness, love, fear, and trust in it for you too. I feel the pain that he feels, I experienced his grief, longing, hunger, cold, anger. Where does that leave me? I started to get existential on this roller-coaster ride of emotions.
  • The possibility of something impossible. It was surprisingly easy to follow the physics to it. There were abundant amounts of WHOA, whaaa-?, and aha! moments in this book as I trail behind Dr. Dessen’s series of unlikely events. Picture an alternate you in another universe is dead or that the world is apocalyptic. No one can possibly know what happens. It’s a beautiful mash of Star Trek, Fringe, Doctor Who, and Inception.

Not so fond of: 

  • There’s not a huge character development across the board. It mainly focuses on Dessen, his thoughts, and his discoveries. Side characters could be more dynamic.
  • The big nerdy science theories and excitement aside, the fast paced and action-oriented book seems as if it’s written to become a movie. Sure enough, Crouch already has plans with Sony to get it on the big screen. Regardless, the final chapters of the book made it completely worth it. Read the book. Then watch the movie, because it will be epic.

Overall

The concept of the book is excellent, I was hooked from beginning ’till end. Despite the thriller movie vibe to it, the mind-boggling ending is worth the read. <3