Tag Archives: The Alchemist

Book Review: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (4/5)

19 Jan

I was trying to finish my reading challenge and thought to myself, “Maybe pick a book published in the time period rather than set in it.” I’ve let myself use this interpretation before and this seemed like a fun time to try it out again. I never read The Alchemist in school like I know some have. So this seemed like a good opportunity to pick it up.

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Cover image via Amazon

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

Summary from Amazon:

Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago’s journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.

This was a lovely little book. I really didn’t know what to expect and I enjoyed this story much more than I thought I would. I’m iffy on anything that calls itself a fable so I had a lot of skepticism going into it. The young shepherd was a great character and I loved how often he had to steel his resolve to keep going in the direction he needed and the amazing riches that finally came from it, monetary and otherwise. The people he met along the way were memorable and I appreciated how much each was able to direct him.

I never expect fable characters to be realistic but these were more realistic than I expected. The Englishman stands out to me as one who was so self absorbed and determined to cheat his way to wealth that he doesn’t see the good things right in his path. The crystal merchant was great and I loved seeing someone so stuck in his ways that he was more comfortable with failure than change. These qualities were very real and we see them in those around us daily.

The shepherd was my favorite character. He was brought low so many times and always found a way to believe and could think that things were going to get better and he wasn’t going to meet failure when it all seemed impossible. He was a good ‘every man’ for this journey.

It can often feel like we’re not heading in the right direction or that we’ve taking a detour. The shepherd had this many times and almost abandoned his mission more often than he wanted to admit. But he was able to keep pushing forward. No matter how much he thought he strayed, it always landed him exactly where he needed to be. When I sometimes feel stuck, it can be hard to remember that the moments of turmoil make us ready to excel when we need to.

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Paulo Coelho Image via Wikipedia

When the shepherd finally reached the pyramids, his encounter with the thieves was my favorite. Skip the rest of this paragraph if you don’t want the ending spoiled! It was the final irony, that the riches he was seeking were back in the land he came from and that he’d traveled all that way just to learn that he needed to go back. I thought it was a beautiful ending to the story and played into it so well. A very fitting end.

I zoned out a bit when the shepherd and the alchemist were talking to the wind and the moon and whatever other elements of nature they communed with in the desert. I know the book is magical and there’s a major suspension of disbelief needed to enjoy this story, but that bit seemed to go too far for me and I found myself waiting for it to be over.

The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Jeremy Irons. He did a fantastic job. I loved the different voices he was able to use for the characters and the light, innocent tone he struck for the shepherd. There weren’t too many women in this story for me to have an opinion on how he did feminine voices so that’s the one area where I can’t comment.

The book focuses so much on chasing your dreams, something I think very few people really do. I was struck by this while I was on vacation recently. My partner and I made friends with a couple from Italy who shared with us that they’d lived abroad together and were working jobs they really liked and loved to travel to explore history. I thought to myself, “How many other people have those same passions but don’t pursue them?” Living abroad can be challenging. Searching for a job that you enjoy can take time. Traveling to excite a passion takes a lot of planning. Sometimes it’s easier to keep your head down and push forward on the same path you’ve been on. But when you don’t, that’s when life really happens.

Writer’s Takeaway: Coelho’s biggest lesson for me is brevity. He was able to tell an amazingly complex and deep story in a very limited number of words. There was nothing extraneous in these pages- everything kept pushing the shepherd toward his treasure. This is something I know I’ve struggled with and many writers do. Longer books are not always better books- they’re often worse.

This was a great little book and I could see myself rereading it years from now. Four out of Five Stars.

This book fulfills the 1980-1999 time period of the 2022 When Are You Reading? Challenge.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Related Posts:
The Alchemist | The Misanthropologist
THE ALCHEMIST – A Review | House of Living Stone
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (Spoilers!) | Pages Unbound Reviews

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WWW Wednesday, 4-January-2023

4 Jan

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


REAL QUICK! If you haven’t heard, I’m running the When Are You Reading? Challenge for the tenth year! Please consider joining in for this landmark year!

Currently reading: I’m back to Sophie’s Choice by William Styron now that my challenge-related priorities have wrapped themselves up. Maybe I won’t need a fourth renewal of this one from the library? Though I probably will.
I started the audio for Any Way the Wind Blows (Simon Snow #3) by Rainbow Rowell. It’s no surprise I’m absolutely in love with it. I love Rowell’s writing and this is no exception. It’s a longer story, which I’m excited about since it will last me a while.
I was a bit iffy on what my next ebook would be. I ended up putting holds on five books and I was excited when the first hold to come in was Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline! I hope this one doesn’t wallow in ebook purgatory as some others have.

Recently finished: The push to finish my reading challenges paid off! I wrapped up Soldiers’ Pay by William Faulkner on December 30th with little time to spare! I think some of my unenjoyment was because of how choppy my reading was. Maybe in a shorter time span, I would have liked it more. My review is forthcoming (I know I’m behind!) but I’m giving it a 2 out of 5 Star review for now.
Thankfully, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho was a short audiobook so I was able to fly through that as well! I took advantage of cleaning and driving time to make it happen. It was a great story and I can see why it’s studied in schools and popular for people to read more than once. Another review that needs to be done. For now, I’m giving it 4 out of 5 Stars.

Reading next: I’m at a loss for what book format I’ll need next. Knowing me, it will probably be either an ebook or an eaudiobook. I’m up in the air on ebooks since I put so many on hold. I have no idea what the next one to come in will be. For an eaudiobook, I think I’ll go for Mexican White Boy by Matt de la Peña. It’s one I got as a free download from my library that’s been lingering on my list for far too long.

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

WWW Wednesday, 28-December-2022

28 Dec

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: I’ m finally feeling motivated to finish Soldiers’ Pay by William Faulkner. I was unsure I’d finish my reading challenge so my motivation to get this one checked off was low for a while. Now that I see the light, I want this one done! I’ll keep pushing on but it will be close!
I’ve let Sophie’s Choice by William Styron take a bit of a back seat while I finish my ebook. I’ll get back to it in the new year.
I’m happy to say I’m flying through The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It’s a short audiobook and I was over half way through it the first day I downloaded it! That felt so good after feeling like I wasn’t going to complete this challenge for so long. Sometimes, you just need a short book to be motivated again.

Recently finished: I was able to wrap up The Birth of Venus by Sarah Durant! There was some holiday baking that lent itself well to powering through this audiobook. Combine that with traveling to see a friend’s new baby (I will drive pretty far to hold a 6 day old child) and I threw myself a little party for finishing another book. The review is not a priority for me right now as I try to finish other books first, so it might be a week or so. So far, I’m giving it Three out of Five Stars, but my ratings sometimes change as I dwell on them so we’ll see if that’s where I ultimately land.

Reading next: I’m hoping to get lucky with an eaudiobook of Any Way the Wind Blows (Simon Snow #3) by Rainbow Rowell. There’s only one copy available and I hope it’s available when I need it. These books are fun and I need some fun reading after having a few books I slogged through. Wish me luck!

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

WWW Wednesday, 21-December-2022

21 Dec

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: I keep pecking away at Soldiers’ Pay by William Faulkner. I know I need to buckle down and finish this one so I’m trying to do it more and more! I’m about 3/5 of the way through the book. I think I can push through and make it!
I’ve still not found my stride with Sophie’s Choice by William Styron. I don’t feel a huge rush to finish this one so I’m going to let it stew for a while. I’m hoping that I find something to enjoy in it soon so I pick it up more.
I’m so close to finishing The Birth of Venus by Sarah Durant! I have a few days off before Christmas so I’ll try to do some baking and finish this up! I’m really determined to finish my reading challenges.

Recently finished: Nothing again. But next week! Next week will be it! I’m pushing.

Reading next: I’ll remain optimistic about fitting in The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho before the end of the year. It will be tight but I think I can do it!

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

WWW Wednesday, 14-December-2022

14 Dec

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


But Wait! First thing before we dive into it. I announced my 2023 When Are You Reading? Challenge on Monday and I’m so excited about it! If you want to learn more, please view that post or check out the Challenge Homepage. I hope some of you will choose to join in!

Currently reading: I made some progress Soldiers’ Pay by William Faulkner this week, but probably not enough. I hate reading on my phone before bed so I’ve found some other time to pick this up, but not a lot. I really need to focus on it if I want to finish my challenge!
I’m kind of bored in Sophie’s Choice by William Styron right now. I’m about 100 pages in and nothing has been very compelling so far. I hear this story gets very emotional at the end, but I’m not there yet and I’m wishing I was because this is dragging on and on.
Fortunately, I’m still moving forward well in The Birth of Venus by Sarah Durant and I expect I’ll have it finished by next week! This one picked up for me and I had some long car rides where I was able to knock out a few hours last week. With the weather getting colder, runs are less frequent so I’m appreciating the longer drives for that reason.

Recently finished: I feel more confident I’ll have something next week so stay tuned!

Reading next: I think I’ll still be able to squeeze in The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho by the end of the year. It should be a fast one but I’ll be cutting it close.

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

WWW Wednesday, 7-December-2022

7 Dec

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: I didn’t do great with Soldiers’ Pay by William Faulkner this week but I’m keeping it top of mind. I’m still determined to finish it up! Knowing I have a deadline is hugely motivating.
There hasn’t been much movement with Sophie’s Choice by William Styron either. My toddler is exhausting us in the evening and I keep collapsing into bed at night, too tired to pick it up. I’m not in a rush to finish so I’m OK with this taking some time.
Where I saw a lot of movement this week was The Birth of Venus by Sarah Durant. I had an event on Saturday that was over an hour drive each way so I took a good chunk out of this one! I’m glad to say I’m making progress somewhere, even if it’s not everywhere. I’m feeling like I’ve lined my books up well to finish my challenge by the end of the year!

Recently finished: Nothing new this week. I’m not confident I’ll have something next week, either. I’ll keep pushing forward, though. Slowly but surely.

Reading next: The plan is still to wrap up the year with The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho to finish my reading challenges. I’m feeling great at this one so we’ll see how it all ends!

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

WWW Wednesday, 30-November-2022

30 Nov

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: I’ve made an effort to keep pushing on with Soldiers’ Pay by William Faulkner. Though I’m not loving it, I am enjoying it a bit more. The first three chapters, that seemed pretty disconnected, have come together so that frustration has gone. It might be a push to the end, but I’m now determined to finish this one!
I haven’t made great progress in Sophie’s Choice by William Styron, but I continue to push forward. The writing is a little dense for me and it’s been hard to really escape into it like I’d like to. Since I realized I don’t need this one for a reading challenge, I might let it bleed into next year. I’m going to think of it as planning ahead for my next challenge.
I was able to start on The Birth of Venus by Sarah Durant, though I haven’t gotten super far into it yet. We did a Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving morning which was a decent chunk of time for me to listen. I hope to do some more running soon, but that’s also depending on the weather staying nice so I don’t have to worry about running on ice.

Recently finished: I wrapped up My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows! I really enjoyed this one. My review went up on Monday if you want to check that out. I ended up giving this one Four out of Five Stars, though I contemplated doing Five. It was really enjoyable, but there were just a few times in it that I found myself a little frustrated or confused so I didn’t go for the full Five Star rating. I know there are more in this ‘series’ but I also understand that maybe they’re not a series as far as the plot but more of the world? If someone knows more and can clarify, please let me know.

Reading next: I’ve got one more audiobook to wrap up my 2022 challenge! I’ll be taking on The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho as my final book. It’s nice and short so I’m not too worried about squeezing it in before the end of the year. It feels so good to be within sight of the finish line!

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.