Monday, January 24, 2005

Paulo Coelho

Was introduced to this great author by a good friend, Praveen. We were walking along MG Road and were footpath-book-shopping. He wanted me to read the book The Alchemist so much that he bought it for me then and there. It was unputdownable.

I was going through my second bad patch in life at that time and this book was literally a saviour. Somehow I had reached a stage where I had become very complacent and used to accept anything and everything that came my way. Be it at work or in my personal world. My whole outlook changed after reading this book. This book may have sold millions of copies....but for me this is not just a book with a good message in it, its much much more.

“Travel the world until you see that our castle is the greatest, and our women the most beautiful.”

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

“I love you because the whole universe conspired for me to come close to you.”

There are only very few books whose lines make so much impact on me that I still remember them. This is one of them. The long journey by Santiago, the people he meets, his experiences and finally his realisation that the journey was more valuable than the treasure and that the “treasure lies where your heart belongs”. The books tells you to listen to your heart and to follow your destiny. The symbolisms used throughout the book and the simple writing style adds on to the charm of the book.

Have been waiting to read more of Paulo's works. Thats when I happened to come across another of his great books. "Veronika decides to die". The book starts off in a very light note…..something like a Hitchhiker’s guide style. And if one doesn’t read carefully or doesn’t take time to think in between the lines there is a good chance that this would seem like another fantasy story.

"There are people who spend their entire lives searching for "the moment",
but they never achieve it.
Many people don't allow themselves to love,
precisely because of that,
because there are a lot of things at risk,
a lot of future and a lot of past.
Actually there is only the present."

“Who is mad?
Anyone who live in their own world is mad. People who are different from others.”

“Madness is the inability to communicate your ideas.”

“There’s always someone who wants exactly what you want.”

The story of the king and the water of madness, Dr.Igor, Mari, Zedka, Eduard – the schizophernic, madness, the clever plan by God to trick Adam and Eve, how veronika lives it out in Villette – a mental hospital and how she loses her inhibitions and starts to understand what was missing in her life. Perfect book for someone who feels like a misfit anywhere and everywhere.

The book screams – every second you live is a choice you make between living and dying. You can be alive, yet dead. The choice is yours.


Anonymous said...

hi pri..

Yeah even i feel that paulo's writing "The Alchemist" does has life changing impact..Fabulously written book..

Do read "The Pilgrimage" and "By River Piedra I sat down and wept." I hope u ll like these also.

Have a nice day !!

Mang Q said...

It is a great book, indeed!
This is my favourite quote: “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

So, have you found your personal legend?

Anonymous said...

u seem to be into a lot of philosophical reading. chillout and read something light too...i would suggest Dave Barry - Dave Barry does Japan or Dave Barry is from Mars AND Venus. picks u up on a low day!!
-anon from IIM (hel)L

Girl With Big Eyes said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Girl With Big Eyes said... many book recommendations.

Let me see if I can get my hands on any of these...but then 3rd term is fast gaining momentum here. Almost every other day we discover that there is yet another project to do done. :(

neeta said...

Yup! I loved Alchemist too... but I read it when I was right out of school, when everything seemed bright and wonderful AND possible... cynicism seems to have caught up with me since them.
For some reason, I like "Veronica decides to Die" better now. More realistic in some ways, tells you how important life becomes when it seems its gonna slip outta ur hands.

Girl With Big Eyes said...

Neets, got any more PC books?

neeta said...

Nope, not here. Though I saw someone with Eleven Minutes. Would advise against reading that one though. Very non Coelho'ish... quite crappy... dont know why he bothered writing it. Try Gabriel Garcia Marquez that you have though... you'll enjoy it. Me reading his Love in the time of Cholera... good read, though a little slow

Darth Midnightmare said...

I refuse to accept Alchemist as anything other than a piece of make-believe fiction. I am stopping short of calling it trash because there are some decent bits.....but the underlying philosophy of "the universe conspires" strikes me as silly.

And he contradicts himself in Veronika Decides to Die.....after all, if some1 wants the same thing as you and only 1 can have it, then one of you is disappointed.....where is the Universe then??

Darth Midnightmare said...

By the way, if you really like philosophical readin, then I would actually recommend "Symposium" and "Republic"....both by Plato....they give you a really fantastic perspective on life....and get you a lot closer to reality....

Nike said...

I too think alchemist is a great book and has changed my life for the better,though not in any spectacular way.i have met many friends who hold very contradictory views on this book,i am amazed and wonder why,and how differently can people view the same book(from a gift to trash). i really dont think i have the competence to resolve or debate on this issue.i am just amused.

Maddy said...

I am a voracious reader and I have three of his books which I have
never got to reading so far (just putting it off for a rainy day) the third being by the river piedra....I started on Alchemist, the first few pages were a bit abstract and I out it off.. Why did you like it so much and why should I start reading these three books? should I or should I not delay the reading?

Girl With Big Eyes said...

Well Maddy, there are some people who like PC's work and some who don't. I have read only two of his books and I liked both of them - mainly because they helped me handle certain situations in my life that were a roadblock to my peace and happiness. You can say, I happened the read the books at the right time :)

So it's upto you! If you feel like it, go ahead. If you don't, just let me be there in your collection. It will call out to you when the time comes.