Boxall's 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die discussion

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Specific List Authors > Paulo Coelho

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message 1: by Apokripos (new)

Apokripos (apokalypse) Any Paulo Coelho fans in this group?
I'm been reading for a while now some of Coelho's internationally acclaimed books, most notable of this (and the one I truly love and liked the most is The Alchemist).
I would just like to know the opinion of those who have read some of Coelho's works, if this author deserves to win a Nobel Prize in Literature...
What's your take on this...?


message 2: by Lynn (new)

Lynn I've been wanting to read him... Does anyone have any suggestions on where to start? I was thinking Veronika Decides to Die...


message 3: by Bishop (new)

Bishop (A_Bishop) | 74 comments I would not consider Coelho to be a Nobel-caliber writer. If he won, I'd be very disappointed.

That's just one man's $.02...what do I know?


message 4: by Apokripos (new)

Apokripos (apokalypse) I think Lynn it would be great if you start with The Alchemist.


message 5: by Sowmya (new)

Sowmya (sowmyas) | 17 comments Bishop wrote: "I would not consider Coelho to be a Nobel-caliber writer. If he won, I'd be very disappointed.

That's just one man's $.02...what do I know?"


I agree. I love his books too, however it's the ideas he puts forth rather than the writing which is so amazing.



message 6: by Judith (new)

Judith (jloucks) | 1203 comments Bishop wrote: "I would not consider Coelho to be a Nobel-caliber writer. If he won, I'd be very disappointed.

That's just one man's $.02...what do I know?"


Ditto that one for me, Bishop.


message 7: by LDB (new)

LDB | 55 comments I have only read two of his books but rank "The Alchemist" as one of my all-time favorites. I have also read "The Fifth Mountain", which was okay but nothing special. I agree with Sowmya that it is the idea I love, and the way it is presented, but not necessarily the writing.


message 8: by Apokripos (last edited Jan 28, 2009 07:45PM) (new)

Apokripos (apokalypse) Guys, do you think that one of the possibilities that Coelho may not win a Nobel is that his novels are that simplistic and doesn't have that much literary merit in it?


message 9: by Laura (new)

Laura (Laurita) | 45 comments That would be my estimation, jzhunagev. Never been able to take him seriously.


message 10: by Diniasih (new)

Diniasih | 6 comments I have read The Alchemist, one of my favourite :)
The other books are The Zahir, By The River Piedra I sat down and wept, Veronika Decides to Die, The Devil and Miss Prym.

I always like his book....coz its spiritual stories and poetic. I could felt comfort feeling when read his book.


message 11: by Rachel (new)

Rachel (rhamstra) I've read two books by him, Eleven Minutes and The Alchemist. I thought that Eleven Minutes was completely fascinating because it gets into the head of a prostitute, and she's not exactly your average narrator.

When I started The Alchemist I liked it, but by the end the writing got boring and the plot got predictable. It felt like I was being pounded over the head with the same idea over and over and over. After all the hype I'd heard about it, I was expecting A LOT more from it than I got. I was left pretty unsatisfied by it.

I can understand why a lot of people love his books so much, but I don't think that a popular writer is or should be the same thing as a Nobel winner.


message 12: by Chel (new)

Chel | 377 comments I really liked Coehlo's deeply personal and heartfelt portrayal of a mental institution, its population, and the main character and plot twists of Veronika Decides to die which I read recently. I would highly recommend it.


message 13: by Olga (new)

Olga (Olgush) | 4 comments So far I have read only 3 Coelho´s books, The Alchemist, Eleven Minutes and The Pilgrimage. The last one because I was preparing myself for my year abroad in Santiago de Compostela, Spain and I knew the book was about the pilgrimage (el camino) the author did. All of them were great, I am a big fan. Studying Portuguese at the moment, hoping to read some of his work in original in the future. Which one do you recommend as the best one ever?


message 14: by Leora (new)

Leora | 42 comments I am just getting ready to read 'The Witch of Portobello', I had a hard time with the Alchemist, I am hoping this one is better.


message 15: by Sowmya (new)

Sowmya (sowmyas) | 17 comments Lynn, I just finished Veronica decides ... and it is really good. I would recommend it for all PC fans. He shares a bit of his own life, drawing from his own personal experience to share some uncomfortable facts of life.


message 16: by Kristine (new)

Kristine (foreveryearning) | 5 comments I haven't read all of Coelho's works so far, but from the few that I have read, Veronika Decides to Die is my absolute favorite.

The Zahir was really hard to get into; I didn't bother finishing it. The Alchemist was alright; I wasn't wowed by it. But that was a long time ago and perhaps I need to reread again. By The River Piedra I liked. Eleven Minutes I started but didn't finish.

I loved Veronika (there's actually a movie coming out soon); I thought the message in the book resonated with how I was feeling at the time I read it. But sometimes I just feel like he's writing a message in such a convoluted way and it just gives me a headache, trying to figure out what he's trying to say. Or maybe it's just me?


message 17: by Duygu (new)

Duygu | 17 comments I have to say that I really didn't like the Alchemist. I don't really know why but Zahir was so much better than the Alchemist. I just though that there wasn't a very coherent message in the Alchemist and it was just a waste of words. My favorite of all of his books so far was the Witch of Portobello which I highly recommend. I still haven't read Veronika though which I will as soon as I find it.


message 18: by Sowmya (last edited Jun 24, 2009 10:49AM) (new)

Sowmya (sowmyas) | 17 comments The first book I read was '.Witch of Portebello' and right away I was quite impressed. It was touted as non-fiction but as I was reading it I realized Coelho deserves his own Genre.
Since then I've read 'Veronica ..' and 'The Devil and Miss Prym.' all very good reads.
Now I've managed to collect almost all his English translated books into my library (except for the Alchemist) and can't wait to get to it!

I will definitely see the movie.



message 19: by Alicia (new)

Alicia I first read The Alchemist, when I was very young. I don't think I fully appreciated it then, and since have picked up a couple of Cohelo's novels (Eleven Minute & Veronika Decides to Die). I really love his work now. It's a little strange, not your typical book. I really enjoy his books because after I read each one it really makes me think about love, life, the universe, and pretty much everything. I'm not sure if that's the effect they're supposed to have, but it's the effect they give me. To me, they just make me think a lot, so I would highly recommend them to anyone else who is feeling particularly introspective.


message 20: by Apokripos (new)

Apokripos (apokalypse) It affected me the same way you did Alicia...


message 21: by Ana (new)

Ana (anacnunes) | 7 comments Rachel wrote: "I've read two books by him, Eleven Minutes and The Alchemist. I thought that Eleven Minutes was completely fascinating because it gets into the head of a prostitute, and she's not exactly your aver..."

I've got to agree with Rachel there.
I first read "The alchemist" and didn't like it at all. I realized why people liked it, but I just couldn't enjoy it.
Then I got my hands on "Elevn minutes" and I loved it. It's one of my favourites, but, I think with Paulo Coelho it's a hit or miss kind of thing. I may read a few other books of his, but I'm skeptic.
And no. I don't think he deserves the nobel prize. But that's just me.


message 22: by Misty (new)

Misty | 5 comments Sowmya wrote: "I agree. I love his books too, however it's the ideas he puts forth rather than the writing which is so amazing."


That's exactly how I feel about him. I find myself thinking about things beyond the book, or really like some point he raises, but I never feel wowed by his writing. He has a simple style, though, that I think offsets his seriousness well, but he tends toward didacticism, which I don't love.



message 23: by Sowmya (new)

Sowmya (sowmyas) | 17 comments Misty wrote: "Sowmya wrote: "I agree. I love his books too, however it's the ideas he puts forth rather than the writing which is so amazing."


That's exactly how I feel about him. I find myself thinking about..."


As preachy books go.. I like his style the best though, without making a pretence about it, he states his messages in an interesting way through seemingly real, interesting characters, sometimes drawing on personal experiences.

In Veronika.. for ex. as she is about to die, her emotions are so profound that she is unable to convey them in a simple suicide note .. and (not to be a spoiler) the end result is ridiculous, without meaning to be! That is such a marvellous observation; sometimes words are just not enough.And yet this is one situation where it should definitely be necessary to convey exactly what the matter is. It's the end! And oddly(or not) it's one of the reasons for her depression!

Each of his books are similarly filled with simple universal truths wrapped up neatly in a unique experience. What's unusual is that sometimes the moral precedes the story.
Since English was not the original language the books were written in (I didn't realize that when I posted the comment replied to here) the language is perhaps meant to be utilitarian, a medium to reach more readers.






message 24: by Lauren (new)

Lauren | 1 comments Lynn wrote: "I've been wanting to read him... Does anyone have any suggestions on where to start? I was thinking Veronika Decides to Die..."

Definitely start with the alchemist, which in my opinion is his best, I think I've read about 7 of them...


message 25: by Sowmya (new)

Sowmya (sowmyas) | 17 comments Lauren wrote: "Lynn wrote: "I've been wanting to read him... Does anyone have any suggestions on where to start? I was thinking Veronika Decides to Die..."

Definitely start with the alchemist, which in my opin..."


It's difficult to suggest a first book because for some, a particular PC book may just not gel. I'd say read any one and if you don't like it, don't give up on him. Read another.




message 26: by Apokripos (new)

Apokripos (apokalypse) But The Alchemist is a very good book to initiate one to the philosophies of Paulo Coelho...


message 27: by Sowmya (new)

Sowmya (sowmyas) | 17 comments jzhunagev wrote: "But The Alchemist is a very good book to initiate one to the philosophies of Paulo Coelho..."

I hadn't read that one. Just finished it and its really good. I love stories that have luck associated with coincidences and here there is an attempt to explain it, philosophically.




message 28: by Apokripos (new)

Apokripos (apokalypse) Sowmya wrote: "jzhunagev wrote: "But The Alchemist is a very good book to initiate one to the philosophies of Paulo Coelho..."

I hadn't read that one. Just finished it and its really good. I love st..."


I'm glad you liked it too Sowmya! Another Coelho fan on the loose...


message 29: by Merima (new)

Merima Beganovic | 3 comments This is one of the greatest writers of all time. I loved The Alchemist of course, but The Zahir is definitely worth of mentioning. Seems like everything he writes turns into pearls of wisdom.


message 30: by Apokripos (new)

Apokripos (apokalypse) Merima wrote: "This is one of the greatest writers of all time. I loved The Alchemist of course, but The Zahir is definitely worth of mentioning. Seems like everything he writes turns into pearls of wisdom."

Couldn't agree more with you. Had you read his latest? The Winner Stands Alone?


message 31: by Sowmya (new)

Sowmya (sowmyas) | 17 comments jzhunagev wrote: "Merima wrote: "This is one of the greatest writers of all time. I loved The Alchemist of course, but The Zahir is definitely worth of mentioning. Seems like everything he writes turns into pearls o..."

Just read it and I didn't like it as much as his other books


message 32: by Merima (new)

Merima Beganovic | 3 comments Sowmya wrote: "jzhunagev wrote: "Merima wrote: "This is one of the greatest writers of all time. I loved The Alchemist of course, but The Zahir is definitely worth of mentioning. Seems like everything he writes t..."

Well, what can I say, different people - different tastes :))




message 33: by Merima (new)

Merima Beganovic | 3 comments jzhunagev wrote: "Merima wrote: "This is one of the greatest writers of all time. I loved The Alchemist of course, but The Zahir is definitely worth of mentioning. Seems like everything he writes turns into pearls o..."

No, but I plan to read it soon :)



message 34: by Apokripos (new)

Apokripos (apokalypse) Thanks for the feedback about The Winner Stands Alone... I guess I'll have to go and see for meself if I'll like this books like the ones I've read previously...
It proved just one thing: different folks of different strokes have different tastes... LOLz... :D


message 35: by Erin (new)

Erin (ekcarroll) | 1 comments Reading Paulo Coelho is a spiritual experience and a journey of sorts...I would start with the Alchemist because that's where he started ;) It has left such an impact in my mind that nothing compares. However, 11 Minutes was also a phenomenal book that helped me grow as an individual too. enjoy...wherever you choose to start.


message 36: by Zee (new)

Zee (shimizusan) | 97 comments Coelho's writing style may be simplistic, but the messages he gets across do have a high impact. I first started with 'Veronika Decides to Die' and was fascinated by the ending. My third novel was 'The Alchemist' and by then I was hooked.

I have read 11 minutes, but am not sure of it. It doesn't have the same easy grace as his first novels. But I suppose that is just a sign that his writing is progressing and changing with time.


message 37: by Jessie (new)

Jessie (Jessie08) | 10 comments I've just finished The Alchemist. Its the first book I read by Coelho and I loved it! I look forward to reading more by him soon.


message 38: by Apokripos (new)

Apokripos (apokalypse) Jessie wrote: "I've just finished The Alchemist. Its the first book I read by Coelho and I loved it! I look forward to reading more by him soon."

It's a good thing you loved it too, Jessie. I'm now reading The Pilgrimage as a kind of spiritual renewal for this year...

I guess I just need a monumental paradigm shift, that's why I'm reading this...


message 39: by Zee (last edited Jan 20, 2010 10:07AM) (new)

Zee (shimizusan) | 97 comments "I thought The Witch was kind of.. empty"

Well said Ines... I also thought the character was on the weak side. Not at all like the ladies he portrays in 'Valkyries'.

"I'm now reading The Pilgrimage as a kind of spiritual renewal for this year..."

So it's not just me that reads Coelho in times of spiritual turmoil. They have a profoundly calming effect. In fact, I've found 'The Alchemist' to have an almost 'I Ching' like effect on me. I open the book to any page and just read what is written there. It usually just answers any worries I might have about things.





message 40: by Zee (new)

Zee (shimizusan) | 97 comments Ines wrote: "Zee wrote: ""I thought The Witch was kind of.. empty"

Well said Ines... I also thought the character was on the weak side. Not at all like the ladies he portrays in 'Valkyries'.

"I'm now re..."


Hello Ines, yes, it's funny how Paulo's books have that effect on the reader. I wonder what his secret is? How does he write so close to the soul? Maybe I should also sign up as a warrior of light. :)

Isn't it strange that people often say religious texts change the way they live or think?... I can't identify with this. I find that the humanity in books like 'The Alchemist', give me the strength to be a better person. Maybe we shouldn't aim for the god-like, maybe it is better to try to be the best human we can.

Oh, and it was a pleasant surprise to have someone respond so quickly to my post!




message 41: by Apokripos (new)

Apokripos (apokalypse) Zee wrote: "So it's not just me that reads Coelho in times of spiritual turmoil. They have a profoundly calming effect. In fact, I've found 'The Alchemist' to have an almost 'I Ching' like effect on me. I open the book to any page and just read what is written there. It usually just answers any worries I might have about things."

Reading Coelho is like getting up in the morning refreshed. The sun and the universe beaming upon me the harmony I need to start things anew...
Of all the exercises I found in The Pilgrimage it's the RAM Breathing Excercise I found easy to do... calming my soul...

I'm glad that so many regard Coelho as life-enriching writer... ^_^




message 42: by Kerem (new)

Kerem Mermutlu I don't think Coelho is a great 'writer' (in terms of amazing prose etc) but i think he has something great to say. The Alchemist is truly wonderful. Follow your dreams. I have read some of his others and i like them, but for me, the alchemist really rocks.

www.keremmermutlu.tumblr.com


message 43: by jb (new)

jb Byrkit (jbbyrkit) I have read one Coelho book. Veronika Decides to Die
I have to say I did like the book. I have not read any of his others yet. I tend to lean toward books that are twisted and a bit unexpected. I enjoyed this story.


message 44: by Lynn (last edited Jul 24, 2010 07:11AM) (new)

Lynn (qwerty0987) | 1 comments Lynn wrote: "I've been wanting to read him... Does anyone have any suggestions on where to start? I was thinking Veronika Decides to Die..."

I totally agree with your choice.
I have read:
Veronika Decides to die
The pilgrimage
The alchemist
The devil and miss Prym
Like the flowing river
Eleven minutes
Brida
By the river Piedra, I sat down and wept
=================
My favorite book of all is Veronika decides to die - it has been one of my fave books of all time. There really isnt any book like it - the message is strong, succint, powerful and dramatic. His other similar love theme - by the river piedra, pales very much in comparison. I encourage this read.
I also prefer 'the pilgrimage' to 'the alchemist', and my other favorite is 'Eleven minutes'


message 45: by Ajeng (last edited Jun 30, 2011 01:59AM) (new)

Ajeng (ajengmd) | 2 comments I've read all, and though I thought of myself as a real fan (I waited for his next book to come out, always), most of the storylines are fading from my memories. Winner takes all was the biggest disappointment, but of course I read a very poorly-made Indonesian translation of it. The basic ideas and ideals stay with me though, which for me proves that he really knows how to deliver his messages, and let people challenge and decide for themselves. As for the Nobel... art is art. Sartre declined the Nobel prize in 1964; perhaps a Nobel prize doesn't matter that much after all.


message 46: by Ana-Maria (new)

Ana-Maria Bujor (marabujor) I have read so far : The Alchemist, The devil and miss Prym and Eleven minutes. I give him the credit for a very enjoyable style, but I sincerely do not believe his writings to be Nobel Prize material, but hey, it's just a matter of opinion. I believe "The Alchemist" is overrated, "The devil and miss Prym" being more profound in the ideas expressed.


message 47: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (BarbaraSC) | 3 comments I've only read The Alchemist and Veronika Decides to Die. I read them around ten years apart from each other. I read The Alchemist around 10 (or more) years ago and I just recently read Veronika Decides to Die within the past year. When I first read The Alchemist, I got copies for all my friends because I thought it was so great, but now I cannot remember much about it, and I can't remember why I liked it so much.

From what I remember about The Alchemist, it seems to me that Veronika is a very different type of book. Yes, they both present important messages that Coelho is trying to get across, and I think he makes his point very clearly in both books (maybe even in all his books.)

I would definitely recommend Veronika, but I can't recommend The Alchemist until I reread it.

I'm trying to decide which of his books to read next -- I'm thinking maybe Brida, The Witch of Portobello, or The Devil and Miss Prym. Any suggestions???


message 48: by Ajeng (new)

Ajeng (ajengmd) | 2 comments Devil and Miss Prym is not so different from his "usual" style and philosophy. Portobello is already more towards the theme of mysticism, and Brida is too far into the witchcraft genre imho. So, depending on what you're looking for, you can start with any, but I'd recommend Devil and Miss Prym :)


message 49: by Amy (new)

Amy Neftzger (neftzger) | 28 comments I've read a lot of Coelho and some I liked better than others. My favorite by far was The Fifth Mountain.


message 50: by jb (new)

jb Byrkit (jbbyrkit) I have only ready Veronika Decides to Die. It was a great book.


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