Monthly Archives: January 2015

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

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Goodread Description:

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 treasure 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.

 

 

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

***2 stars***

The Alchemist was recommended to me by a friend, who had been put on to it by another friend, who thought it was magic. This book will change our lives… apparently. Well, my friend hasn’t finished it yet, and I can see why.

I actually feel like I should give this 2 ratings/reviews.One based on its feel good quality, because that’s probably why people pass it on to friends. You read this book and it makes you feel fantastic, the entire universe cares about you, the universe cares about your dreams, wants you to chase them, and will help you achieve them. I should have read this in high school! The morals on the surface are pretty sound, if you want to achieve something, go for it. There will be obstacles in the way, that’s life. There are other cultures out there well worth experiencing, travel. So yeah, 5 stars for making people feel good, and think about their own lives.

Two based on the idea that this is somehow meant to show us how to live. You know, ‘The transforming power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts’ easy on the cheese please!

Spoiler: The boy in this book has no real responsibility, so it makes sense that he could get up and leave on a whim. But what about people with responsibilities? Are parents or carers losers for not abandoning their loved ones in search of their personal legends?

On his journey he meets a girl he falls for (based solely on her looks), she seems to want him too. Now, apparently the role of women in this world is to sit and wait while men go to follow their dreams. No. Nope. Not for me, thanks. With absolutely no timescale on his return, she is meant to wait blindly till he comes back for her? What if he meets someone else along these travels? Afterall he actually ‘loved’ a different girl while he was home. Forget it mate. The women in this story don’t have their own personal legends, they can apparently only be part of a mans! Even though the minerals, like copper, have personal legends. Yeah, that’s not OK.

Spoiler: The boy is working towards finding his treasure. I kind of hoped the treasures would end up not including any material possessions. But it did, and he found it. Suggesting that all you have to do is work towards one massive jackpot, your big break,  like winning the x-factor or something. When in reality, much of life’s successes are built over time, with hard work and perseverance. This wouldn’t be such a problem if this was just a story, but The Alchemist to me is marketed as a sort of self-help, this is the way to live your life book. It’s suggested that by following your dream (whatever it may be) you’ll actually make the world a better place… but in reality, just because you have a dream doesn’t make it good and worth chasing, I mean, some people have awful dreams! Sometimes your heart is wrong, your brain needs to step in, ask you to use logic, sit down and shut up. Sometimes you have doubts, and they are well founded, refusing to self-doubt can be problematic and breeds ignorance.

This book basically tells you to be selfish, to do exactly what you want, regardless of who you might hurt or leave behind. That money is in fact the treasure we all seek, not love, not family, just gold that we didn’t particularly earn.

Basically, if this is read to be some sort of life mantra… maybe think twice about it. Otherwise its a cute story of a boy who followed his heart back home.

Happy Reading ❤

Teaser Tuesday #5

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“Everyone has his or her own way of learning things”, he said to himself. “His way isn’t the same as mine, nor mine his. But we’re both in search of our personal legends, and I respect him for that.”

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

My First Audio Book Experience

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As mentioned in my previous post, I listened to an audio book for the first time. A couple of friends use audiobooks exclusively and it seems to work for them so thought I’d give it a try to supplement my reading. I’m going to go ahead and outline what I feel are the pros and cons of audio books as opposed to paper or e-books.

The number one attraction to audio books for me is that I don’t have to pause the rest of my life, loved that I could do other mundane things whilst enjoying a book…. dishes, walking, pretending to listen to other people (I joke, I joke, I kid, I kid). It actually appears that when I’m doing something mindless like running on a treadmill, I pay better attention to the narrator! I think it’s quite a personal thing, each person will have to experiment and see where the audio book fits best in your day-to-day life

Obviously there’s the space advantage, you can carry a lot more audio books around than paper books.

Audio books are clearly very convenient but there are some pitfalls, for example, my imagination is a little less engaged. Normally when I read books I determine the characters voice, their inflections e.t.c. but with audio books, there’s no choice. It’s in your ear and that’s all you’re getting. Although when it’s done right and the narrator fits the story being told, then its bliss.

With a book, if you lose concentration, you can easily reread the sentence or paragraph you skimmed. But if your mind wanders whilst listening to an audio book you might not rewind? I didn’t have much trouble staying focused this time, but in all honesty if my mind wanders at this stage, I probably won’t rewind, that will have to be something I’d work at over time. In the book I listened to (Heartburn by Nora Ephron) there were recipes scattered in here and there, had I been reading a book, I could have easily skimmed them. There is the option of fast forwarding with audio books, but there was no way of knowing where the recipe ends? So, I really just had to wait it out. This in a way can be a plus since audio books make you hear each word. You experience the entire book as the author intended, no skimming!

I specifically avoided listening to the book lying in bed around bedtime because  that’s a recipe for sleep!

In my opinion, listening to a book can be the same as reading it, after all the story is still conveyed to you, you just process the words via a different channel. Some people, myself included on occasion, still enjoy the feeling of curling up with a physical book. Those moments where you want quiet solitude with the voices in your head that make the stories come to life.

I’ll definitely keep listening to audio books, I enjoyed the experience and it’s very convenient, but I’m still a fan of reading books. Perhaps I just like the voices in my head, who knows?! 😛

Happy Reading ❤