The Alchemist The Alchemist discussion


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This is an excellent book.

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message 1: by Hannah (new) - added it

Hannah Aanderud I found The Alchemist to be very intriguing and meaningful. The simplicity of this novel, though flawed, sets it apart from others as a profound read that anyone can learn from. Surprisingly, the quality of this book is not what determines the one's opinion. It is the personality of the reader that lends to a verdict. For example, cynics and realists will despise this book for its cliché themes and irrational conclusion. Dreamers and romantics such as myself will see it for what it is: a beautifully profound book with a simple story that made me, and many others, question the direction their life is going.
The simplicity of this book provides for a wonderfully layered contrast with deep meaning. Like an onion, this book is layered. Those who are detail-oriented and overly realistic will see only the two-dimensional fable, but the ones who can really dig into this book will certainly appreciate its depth. The Alchemist is filled with simple truths like "it's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting", and "everyone seems to have a clear idea about how other people should live their lives, but none about his or her own" that when taken out of context seem as though they could have come from a poster on a counselor's wall. How peculiar that such a simple tale could have so many lessons for us to learn? Regardless of your opinion of this book, everyone will get something out of it. Whether it be a lesser respect for Paolo Coehlo or an evaluation of the direction your life is going, I can guarantee you will leave this book different then when you entered it.
Another thing I love about this book is its broad meaning. Regardless of your religious affiliation or lack thereof, you will find something to relate to and interpret it personally. The way Coehlo narrates Santiago's journey is picturesque and lacks specific religious terms or ideas. Instead of writing a novel specific to a particular religion, he takes ideas from many religions to create a mishmash of beliefs that almost anyone can identify with.
I can see how some people would not like this book, and it would probably be for the same reasons that I love it so much. This book is a story of a young boy searching for his destiny, yet is so simple that it can be interpreted differently for each person who reads it. There is no single theme; the theme is whatever you think it to be. It is vague yet hit me very personally. I would highly recommend this book to nearly anyone, especially those like me who can identify personally with almost any story. If you are debating reading this book, I would recommend trying it out!


Monica Hannah wrote: "I found The Alchemist to be very intriguing and meaningful. The simplicity of this novel, though flawed, sets it apart from others as a profound read that anyone can learn from. Surprisingly, the q..."
I really didnt enjoy this book it just wasnt a good read for me but i respect ur opinion and enjoyed reading ur take on the book it was very insightful and i have had the same feelings u felt for this book in others i have read. And although i didnt care for the book i too have recommended the book to coworkers who i thought would like the book based on their personalities. But that is what makes reading so beautiful bc different people can read the same words and interpret the words differently


withdrawn Hannah,
Your love of this book is impressive. You have really laid yourself on the line here and I appreciate it. On the other hand, I detested the book when I read it when it first came out. I haven't related so negatively to a book since I read Johnathan Livingston Seagull in 1972, when I was 22 years old. I admit to seeing myself as both a cynic and a realist as you have suggested.

Your impassioned plea for the book, however, has set me thinking about why we read fiction,or at least literate fiction. (I would exclude most romance novels, pulp westerns, mysteries, and thrillers, although some of those would seem to fall into the literate category at times.) What are we, you and I and many other readers, searching for when we read? Your defense of The Alchemist suggests that you are looking for something beyond entertainment or art for arts sake. Is it the truths to which you allude? ..the meaning of life? ...a new way to see the world? Are we all just wanna-be writers looking for a model to copy? ..or a bunch of neurotics seeking therapy? Another take, does literaure actually shape our lives, our personalities, our hopes and dreams?


Literature is a strange creature. Consider that it is basically a story which we take to be untrue but which we are willing to read through pretending that it is true. We become passionate about some works and are severely disappointed when a work fails. We speak of events and characters as though they were real. Indeed, we often greatly admire fictional characters and dispise others. Some mystify us (The Judge in Blood Meridian). Others stay with us for weeks, months, a life time (in my case Don Quixote). And yet, they are not of this world. It is enough to make one question one's own cynicism.

I would invite you, or anyone else interested, to put forth suggestions. We have a great many bibliophiles (bibliomaniacs) here who must have a sense of what they are spending their time doing. I would hope not to hear from a bunch of relativists ("We each have our own reasons"). I would like to think that there is something about the creative written word that attracts us all in common. Any ideas? I'll promise to put forth my ideas soon, as I formulate them, if I see others are interested in the challenge. So the central question is "WHY DO WE READ LITERATURE?" Any takers?


Cinthia I read the Alchemist over 10 years ago and loved it. I think there was in fact a clear theme which has stuck with me after 10 years of reading it. The central message is one that both dreamers and cynics can appreciate: everyone has a destiny but you have to work to get it. It will not be handed to you. The closer you are to your goal the more temptations show up to derail you from your destiny, but if you don't continue on your life will stagnate because you will have squandered your gifts.
Yes, the book is clearly a child of "new age" tendencies including a often repeated idea that the "universe conspires" to make people's destiny happen, but the message is still strong and it is still a lovely read.


Jalilah I love this book too. I have read it many times over the years and have always found something new and never found anything I would change.


Brett I was going to write a review & then I read Hannah's articulate & thought provoking treatise-> which expresses anything I could say.


Yazid (Ciel) First read: OMG this book is AWESOME!

Re-read: Nah, this book is nothing when I thought about it.


Maryam I was not really impressed by this book. Maybe because it was originally written in Portuguese so the translated versions were not as deep.


Cinthia Maryam wrote: "I was not really impressed by this book. Maybe because it was originally written in Portuguese so the translated versions were not as deep."

You are right Maryam. Something is lost in the translation, especially from a romantic language such as Portuguese.


Adormina Maria Klingsporn Hi everyone. Unfortunately, I can not judge the English version of this book. I am Polish and I was reading polish translation.I love this book. Every sentence was supposed great importance. For me personally every sentence was like a hint, what & how to make choices, and be guided how to go through life. For many years this book was nearly like bible for me. But maybe only for me................


Maria I love this book. I read it or the quotes from it whenever I lose the sight of hope


Baubau I read this book in about a day and found it very inspiring. I just wish it was longer.


message 13: by Tom (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tom Stevens I hesitate to criticize Coelho, because I am aware of the cruelty his parents subjected him to due to his desire to be a writer rather than a doctor.
Completing this book in spite of extreme adversity is a testament to his character and this depth comes through in the way he crafts his story.
The vivid imagery engulfed me, even though it is a short book and he does not use lengthy descriptions to set the scene.
The feeling I was left with at the end of the book was that the story could have continued and kept drawing the reader in deeper and deeper.
I was a little disappointed that the book didn't go past the simple object lesson of trusting intuition and following your heart. I could almost see this as a Disney movie with most things wrapping up neatly. Admittedly happy endings are more popular, and in the end it's evident to me that Coelho accomplished what he set out to accomplish, writing an inspirational parable, and it could be that the book's size makes it less daunting to those less inclined to read anything.


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

I enjoyed it.


Readn Surf beautiful book with lots of meaning into it....


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

nice book


Isabel =) I Totallly love this book i fell in love it very quickly


Robert Fiacco I thought it was great, short, inspirational and a read I want to share with others.


Monica I found the book simple, round and easy to follow, with some profound ideas. I have recommended it to my kids and some friends that want to adventure in this type of fiction. I would not recommended it to a seasoned reader that enjoys the complexity of stories as much as the content. In other matter, applaud Coelho for his support to file sharing.


Marcela Monica wrote: "I found the book simple, round and easy to follow, with some profound ideas. I have recommended it to my kids and some friends that want to adventure in this type of fiction. I would not recommende..."

Maryam wrote: "I was not really impressed by this book. Maybe because it was originally written in Portuguese so the translated versions were not as deep."

Yes, some things do get lost in translation.


Marcela Readn wrote: "beautiful book with lots of meaning into it...."

Very true, although there are those that did not like it at all. I found it very interesting, but it is the kind of book that should be read slowly while taking a few moments to think about life itself. Excellent book.


message 22: by MJ (new) - rated it 5 stars

MJ My belief is as many subjects in that it isn't the brush the painter uses as much as the mind in charge of what it does. This book is inspiring for those who seek inspiration; for those who aren't looking for someone else to give them the meaning of life, but the map that contains it.

This book was read a few years ago before I simplified parts and held discussions with my kids. We talked about the symbolism, had them predict what they felt would happen next, etc. This family experience with two young, elementary-aged children brought us closer together and allowed us more insight with each other.


Simsim I liked this book too, I also liked the way that this book has been written by, and how he gives an advice implicity without pointing to it literally.


Anudeep Hannah wrote: "I found The Alchemist to be very intriguing and meaningful. The simplicity of this novel, though flawed, sets it apart from others as a profound read that anyone can learn from. Surprisingly, the q..."

Hannah,
U gave a wonderful insight of the book. It is absolutely true that this book is only for the one who can think about others perspectives. It is truly intriguing and meaningful if u take the fact behind the mask of imagination. It all depends on the purpose of readers life.
Thank you for ur realistic feedback !!!!


Ibtihel Teal simple yet very deep....love it


Marcela True.


message 27: by Lora (new) - rated it 1 star

Lora I couldn't finish the book, myself, so I don't know how it played out. I couldn't take the mish mash of religious references, and the book in general felt vague and feel good like a certain percentage of new age stuff.
However, your review was beautifully done. Maybe you should consider trying your hand at some writing, Hannah!


message 28: by Lily (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lily I read the Alchemist because of its fame and because its praises were sung to me by some friends - I have to admit though that on finishing it I started wondering why was the book made such a great deal of....
I guess it's as some of the commenters said; the book has a streak of dreaminess and idealism that won't be realized and appreciated except by the romantics and the dreamers.
And even though I am not inclined to re-read "The Alchemist" despite being someone who re-reads books they like, I still recommend reading it - you never know what you'll get out of reading the book, you may locate treasures that escaped others...


Jayadeep V nair inspiring.


message 30: by Jesus of Suburbia (last edited Mar 17, 2013 12:46PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Jesus of Suburbia It's a book for those who haven't read much good books. The Alchemist is pulp fiction. Its written to be read and understood by a large amount of people who will go out and start philosophizing after the "great ideas" of this book get stuck in their little brains forever. I don't intend to be offensive, but to put it short I hate that book.


Sarah Mohamad good one


Sarah Mohamad Jesus of Suburbia wrote: "It's a book for those who haven't read much good books. The Alchemist is pulp fiction. Its written to be read and understood by a large amount of people who will go out and start philosophizing aft..." i agree with u bout the way it was written .. think it's obvious but not all get it


Marcela I don't think it has to do with the amount of books one person has read, but rather with the taste of that particular person. A perfect example is Deepak Chopra. My sister loves him and suggested I read his books and watch him as well. She reads in Spanish only. I read, if I remember right, two books and watched one of his shows on tv and I almost fell asleep. He starts talking, but what is the point? He never gets to the point of the conversation. But, again, my sister loves him while I would not bother with his books. Why? This is just a matter of taste. With that being said, I'd like to say that the Alchemist is an excellent book, and no stating your opinion is not offending others. It is always nice to get another person's input, opinion, ideas, etc.


Carol Brill Hi all, my latest blog is about what writing and self-publishing have to do with The Alchemist Secret to Realizing Your Dreams http://www.4broadminds.blogspot.com/2...


message 35: by Ann (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ann This book is something you'd be wanting to read not only once because of it's content, lessons and the awful amount of things that it will inculcate in your mind.One way or another it will definitely question the way you see things and the way you live your life especially when it come to pursuing your dreams. 'Twas the first book of Paulo Coehlo that i have read and it made me read his other works.


Sameerah El-amin I read this book in Spanish and I found it to be a very inspiring book. When you read it you have to pay close attention to what the guy is doing, what he is going through. The writing is so good you get tempted to read it as just a novel but it's also an inspirational book. The life lessons in the story are easy to miss. Like the idea that you may have to leave home to find out that what you are looking for is at home. But if you never leave home you'll never find out. Read the book again paying attention to situations.


Marcela You are right. The life lessons in the story are easy to miss that's why you should read it slowly in order to appreciate it.


message 38: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Kerr Hannah wrote: "I found The Alchemist to be very intriguing and meaningful. The simplicity of this novel, though flawed, sets it apart from others as a profound read that anyone can learn from. Surprisingly, the q..."

I really liked this novel, as well. It's simple but I wouldn't call it flawed.


message 39: by Siva (new) - rated it 5 stars

Siva I read in Telugu awesome book!!!


Adormina Maria Klingsporn I was going to write a review & then I read Hannah's articulate & thought provoking treatise-> which expresses anything I could say. I agree in 200% :)


message 41: by Liz (new) - rated it 2 stars

Liz Lora wrote: "I couldn't finish the book, myself, so I don't know how it played out. I couldn't take the mish mash of religious references, and the book in general felt vague and feel good like a certain percent..."

I agree with everything you said. To me, it almost felt as though the author was making it up as he went. I thought it was aimless.


Jayadeep V nair I love this book. read twice. To me, this story is really an inspiring one, inspiring to move on,hold on to our hope, making life a meaningful one at all the conditions of life,and more than anything it conveys a lesson stating the very need of understanding the nature, and becoming a part of it, also, making it a part of ours.
I could feel the very positive energy flowing throughout the story. There was no lagging, nothing unwanted. Similar to life, every part of it were important. There is a short-poem written by Sir. Rabindranath Tagore. Its like this,"God expects answers for the flowers he sends us, not for the sun and the earth."
While comparing these lines with 'The Alchemist', we can see 'the sun and the earth'in the poem resembles the loneliness, family and other religious,financial aspects of Santiago. While the other characters resembles the flowers. What he gave to them and what he gained from them makes the answer.

Dream good, hold on to it. never Lose it at any condition of life, sure nature will take u there. Just because u r a part of this nature and its balance.


Firedge THIS IS THE MOST AMAZING BOOK I'VE EVER READ!!!


message 44: by Stacey (new)

Stacey Im with you Firedge!!!! THIS IS THE MOST AMAZING BOOK I'VE EVER READ!!!!!!!!!
I love how people are so black and white with it, they either hate it or love it... I picked this book up about 7 years ago and it made NO sense to me and then I had an opportunity to read it again through a book swap just the other day and well lets just say I WAS HOOKED!!!!! It made COMPLETE sense to me and I really loved every page, I felt like I had light bulb moment on EVERY PAGE :) For me personally it is a beautiful gift and I am savouring every word. I hope for all the people who haven't enjoyed if for whatever reason they have the opportunity like I did to read it again and embrace it x It truly is amazing :)


Paola Sanjinez OH! this is a really good book


Shivani Yadav This definitely is an amazing book. Every single line seems like an inspirational quote.


message 47: by Aswathi (last edited May 26, 2013 11:38PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Aswathi I read this Book in Malayalam Version.Inspiring...
My Favourite Book...is this...
I think this is the real life of human beings,,,


Lindsay Great Book! One of my favorites!


message 49: by Anum (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anum Zamir best book !!!! very inspiring .... n it makes us to think postive !!! awesome work by coelho


Paula I agree. Read it with my son and it is a great book.


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