"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.' "
Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, November 12, 2012

My rant about books.

I have been on this Paulo Coelho kick ever since I got my Kindle for graduation.  I was looking through the week's specials and I downloaded By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept.  The plot sounded good, and it was only $2.99 that week or something like that.

I was in the midst of several other good reads that I needed/ wanted to finish before I started this River Piedra book.  Finally I got around to reading it, and I couldn't put it down.  It was such a beautiful, and beautifully written story.  I began looking into other recommended reads and The Alchemist caught my fancy.  I didn't need to download a $10 Kindle book because I still had several waiting to be read.

Another day I stumbled upon a free download of Paulo Coelho's The Way of the Bow.  Maybe I'm just a big book nerd, but his stories are short but so symbolic.  Read between the lines, and Coelho shares some inspiring life lessons.

Several weeks later, I was in the closet at school trying to see what books, if any, I could use in my class that week.  Everything is donated, so you never know what you'll find.  Well guess what I found?  You got it:  another Paulo Coelho Book.  This one was entitled The Zahir.  It's back page summary didn't make me want to plop on the floor right then and there to start reading, but I decided I would borrow it.

I can't say The Zahir, a love story, was my favorite read, because I was at conflict with some of the view points of the main characters.  Let's just say it was a bit unrealistic of a story, but still offered a few lessons applicable to daily life.

Well, when I was home a few weeks ago, I decided to stop by the Cassleberry branch of the library to see what books they had for sale.  I was looking for my kids of course, and found a few good books for us!  Before paying, I decided just to check to see if they had any Coelho books.  Doubted it, but it must have been my lucky day because there on the shelf was not only a hard copy of By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept, but also a gently used copy of....The Alchemist!  Yay.

I wanted to finish my current kindle read,  before starting to read The Alchemist.  To my disappointment, this much anticipated read of mine is only 167 pages.  I read it this weekend.  I split it into two days, just to spread the enjoyment out a bit.  I'd classify The Alchemist as an allegory, but that's asking me to think back to 11th grade AP Literature.  Anyways,  the words on each page are filled with beauty and some biblical references.

Santiago, the main character, has a prophetic dream, and this basically leads us through the whole story.  He's traveling in search of his treasure, or what Coelho calls his "Personal Legend."  Santiago is trying to get to Egypt, but has many stopping points along the way, each of which teaches him an important lesson.  Many times he questioned:  "should I just turn back now?  I don't know what I'm doing.  This is hopeless."

I saw myself in Santiago; in fact, I think there is a bit of Santiago in all of us.  I see myself on a journey right now.  Costa Rica may be my destination, but I tend to think it's only a stopping point along God's greater path for me.

I didn't intend on writing a book review, but  maybe I have done so.  I just wanted to recommend The Alchemist to anyone out there looking for a good read.  It may be among my favorite reads, second to Redeeming Love.  (If you've never read Redeeming Love, don't be intimidated by the size of the book;  it is AMAZING)

Some of my favorite quotes from The Alchemist are:

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

"When something (or someone) evolves, everything around that thing evolves as well."

" 'Why do we have to listen to our hearts?'  'Because, wherever your heart is, that is where you'll find your treasure.'  "

It's me again,  here's a quote that I found to be a good reminder.  How many times do you get stuck in the monotony of routine?

"Every day was the same, and when each day is the same as the next, it's because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises."

And possibly my most favorite:

"  'My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer,'  the boy told the alchemist [. . .]

'Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.  And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second's encounter with God and with eternity'"

How wonderful to think of fear and suffering in such a positive light?!  Yes, God is always with us!

So now I need a recommendation of what to read next!  Preferably a Coelho book if any of my readers have one to recommend.  Comment with any suggestions :)

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