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The Alchemist
by Paul Coelho
Amazon.com:
Like the one-time bestseller Jonathan Livingston Seagull, The Alchemist presents a simple fable, based on simple truths and places it in a highly unique situation. And though we may sniff a bestselling formula, it is certainly not a new one: even the ancient tribal storytellers knew that this is the most successful method of entertaining an audience while slipping in a lesson or two. Brazilian storyteller Paulo Coelho introduces Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who one night dreams of a distant treasure in the Egyptian pyramids. And so he's off: leaving Spain to literally follow his dream.

Topic: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (1 of 90), Read 84 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Monday, February 12, 2001 05:04 PM This is going to be an interesting discussion. I got curious, and found the following: Philosopher's Stone http://members.tripod.com/~icanseefar/philosophersstone.htm "This thing is called by a great variety of names in the books of the Sages, but all are said to signify One Thing, viz., The "Philosophers' Stone". And what, in brief, are the qualities and virtues attributed to the Stone? It is said to be a substance intellectually discoverable, and producible, but only by a secret process, known to a few advanced sages in the history of the world. Of course, it is impossible to know how many of such have existed, but very few are recorded. The Stone has the inherent, or developed, power of bringing everything with which it comes in contact into a state of harmony and perfection. It changes all the baser metals into gold, and restores man to perfect health." Melchilzedek (with several references to Alexandria and Hermetic Science) http://www.mormons.org/basic/organization/priesthood/melchizedek/Ancient_Sources_EOM.htm More info on Melchilzedek Priesthood (Mormonism) http://www.mormons.org/basic/organization/priesthood/melchizedek/
Topic: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (2 of 90), Read 71 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Gail Singer (gailsinger_gross@hotmail.com) Date: Monday, February 12, 2001 08:55 PM greetings KAY.. YOU simply amaze me.. .there you are with some interesting links for a discussion.. .you really know how to participate... thanks again!! gail..a passionate reader!
Topic: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (3 of 90), Read 72 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Tuesday, February 13, 2001 01:29 PM Thanks, gail. I found another site on Powell's that discusses the "Emerald Tablet." I found the "Publisher's Note" particularly helpful. http://www.powells.com/biblio/9800-10000/0140195718.html
Topic: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (4 of 90), Read 63 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) Date: Thursday, February 15, 2001 02:52 PM Okay, folks, is this a masterful fable with deep insights, or is it a simplistic easy-answer pop-psych book? The floor's open. Sherry
Topic: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (5 of 90), Read 66 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Thursday, February 15, 2001 03:26 PM Jonathan Livingstone Seagull Redux. But then you knew I'd say that. Ruth, glad she didn't buy the thing In human existence, permanence is a temporary condition. Donna Pohlman
Topic: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (6 of 90), Read 67 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: David Moody (davidmoody@prodigy.net) Date: Thursday, February 15, 2001 05:54 PM Ruth: My thought exactly. It seemed to have some promise at the beginning, but never seemed to get anywhere. The final scene seems to make the whole quest a fool's errand. That being said, the book was an enjoyable, easy read, and did leave more time for David Copperfield. But it just didn't seem satisfying. David
Topic: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (7 of 90), Read 71 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) Date: Thursday, February 15, 2001 06:14 PM Oh, Ruth, I knew. I knew. But he did get to see the Pyramids. That's something now. Sherry
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (8 of 90), Read 69 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Nancy Hudson (nhallo@charter.net) Date: Thursday, February 15, 2001 07:15 PM I enjoyed the book. Even though it had a simple message, it was a profound message and told in an enjoyable and easy way that kept me going until the end. It didn't hit you over the head even though it seemed to be oriented to Christian religion. ie. it wasn't really proselytizing, IMO. I haven't read anything else by Coelho. Are his other works similar? Does anyone know? ----- Original Message ----- From: "Listmanager" To: Sent: Thursday, February 15, 2001 5:30 PM Subject: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho > From: "David Moody" > > Ruth: My thought exactly. It seemed to have some promise at the beginning, but never seemed to get anywhere. The final scene seems to make the whole quest a fool's errand. > > That being said, the book was an enjoyable, easy read, and did leave more time for David Copperfield. But it just didn't seem satisfying. > > David > > > > To reply: mailto:monthlydiscussion.69775@webboard.mcsdallas.com > To start new topic: mailto:monthlydiscussion@webboard.mcsdallas.com > To login: http://webboard.mcsdallas.com:8081/~2
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (9 of 90), Read 69 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Karen Slongwhite (kmbookworm@hotmail.com) Date: Friday, February 16, 2001 12:06 PM I'm only halfway through, so I probably shouldn't comment yet, but I can't resist... For a short period of time, Rami sold Amway. I don't know if any of you have ever been involved with Amway, but they have a recommended reading list for their salespeople. Mostly motivational and how-to type of stuff. I read several of the books from their list when Rami was doing this. One of the books is The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino. For some reason, I keep thinking of that book as I'm reading The Alchemist. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/055327757X/constantreader Karen
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (10 of 90), Read 71 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: S. Bohinka (bohinka@riconnect.com) Date: Friday, February 16, 2001 01:11 PM Karen, Good connection---much of the same 'motivational thinking', positive attitude, you can do anything if you set your mind to it type stuff. This may sound really stupid but I was reading along last night and I felt that there was a real change in the book when he met the Englishman who was/wanted to be an alchemist. The alchemy stuff, I think, took away from the book. I'm thinking this as I was reading last night and then it dawns on me that the title of this book is The Alchemist. Duh! Did anyone else feel that way? I've got 15 pages to go. Bo
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (11 of 90), Read 72 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Anne Wilfong (anne.wilfong@gte.net) Date: Friday, February 16, 2001 03:04 PM I was in the mood for this book several months ago, so I plunged ahead. All I could think of at the time was that I'd be better off with a reread of SIDDHARTA. That was, to me, the ultimate "search for self and meaning in life" book. I knew this one would give Ruth hives! Anne
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (12 of 90), Read 74 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Friday, February 16, 2001 06:32 PM "Universal language, the Soul of the World, Destiny," and the other lovely, important-sounding, yet ultimately meaningless phrases used in this book reminded me of a quote from E.B. White about words "whose only virtue is that they are exceptionally nimble and can escape from the garden of meaning over the wall. Of them, Woolcott Gibbs wrote '...they are detached from the language and inflated like little ballons' ...words that at first glance seem freighted with delicious meaning but that soon burst in the air, leaving nothing but a memory of bright sound." Ruth In human existence, permanence is a temporary condition. Donna Pohlman
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (13 of 90), Read 74 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Friday, February 16, 2001 09:28 PM The only thing that intrigued me about The Alchemist was that alchemy was a spiritual quest. I'd always thought alchemy was simply the "science" of attempting to turn lead into gold.
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (14 of 90), Read 76 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Friday, February 16, 2001 10:24 PM In what time period do you suppose this was supposed to be set? It didn't say, but it read like it was way back during the time when alchemy had credibility. If that's so, then Coelho had a dreadful anachronism in mentioning Esperanto, which, as far as I can remember, is a 20th century invention. Ruth In human existence, permanence is a temporary condition. Donna Pohlman
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (15 of 90), Read 80 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: S. Bohinka (bohinka@riconnect.com) Date: Friday, February 16, 2001 11:22 PM Ruth, I had a sense that it was early 1900s from some of the attitudes. But you're right--that Esperanto stuck out like a sore thumb. The other thing that vaguely bothered me but I couldn't put my finger on was a sorta cultural chauvinism. I had the feeling that he took the setting as a cardboard background without much care for the people involved. I wouldn't really call it racism because it wasn't that blatant but there was an undercurrent that made me uncomfortable. Anyone else sense this? I gotta go finish this so I can make some intelligent comments. ;) Bo
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (16 of 90), Read 81 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: S. Bohinka (bohinka@riconnect.com) Date: Saturday, February 17, 2001 01:20 AM Sherry, >>Okay, folks, is this a masterful fable with deep insights, or is it a simplistic easy-answer pop-psych book? I'm sure a CRer (what do we call ourselves?) suggested this book for some reason. I'll admit that I do read self-help and motivational stuff from time to time. I tried to read this with an open mind. To answer your question, I think it could be either one depending on the reader. For me? Well, I thought there were a few good things that it raised. On page 22 there's a bit about what I'd call the idealism of youth that's squashed as we age. It starts out in the paragraph, "At that point in their lives, everything is clear and everything is possible...." I for one would like to have some of my idealism back where life's experiences didn't sour me as much towards thinking again that 'everything is possible.' On the next page, "He never realized that people are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of." Again, I'd like to have that kind of optimism again. LOL! What I marked will tell you more about me than about the book. The next one is from page 60, "Now that I have seen them, and now that I see how immense my possibilities are, I'm going to feel worse than I did before you arrived. Because I know the things I should be able to accomplish, and I don't want to do so." :) I'll quit here before I depress myself with all that I haven't accomplished! Bo
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (17 of 90), Read 86 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Saturday, February 17, 2001 01:23 AM Yes, those are important ideas, Bo, but I feel that they are already so obvious to everyone, that we don't need a pseudophilosphical fable to point them out to us like they were great, newly discovered truths. Ruth In human existence, permanence is a temporary condition. Donna Pohlman
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (18 of 90), Read 84 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) Date: Saturday, February 17, 2001 07:03 AM Bo, I asked that question because I knew there would be CRs here who agree with Ruth, and CRs who are diametrically opposed. I just figured I'd start out there at the beginning. My own personal opinion is that this might be a good first "motivational" type book for someone who hasn't done a lot of that type of reading. It reiterated in a pretty well-written way some things that may need to be repeated to keep us all from becoming jaded. The anachronisms didn't really bother me, because I don't expect fairy tales or fables to be real anyway. But I did think it was a bit simplistic. As Ruth said, the "truths" seemed a bit obvious and I didn't find anything original here. Sherry
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (19 of 90), Read 84 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Pres Lancaster (plancast@neteze.com) Date: Saturday, February 17, 2001 01:30 PM RUTH said above: Yes, those are important ideas, Bo, but I feel that they are already so obvious to everyone, that we don't need a pseudophilosphical fable to point them out to us like they were great, newly discovered truths. I agree with this. I cannot count the books I started to read and then cast aside saying, "I know that". But I had a kind of epiphany in reading that post: That ideas have to be recirculated and served up again for young people who are going to come to them as new. End of philosophical discourse. FRUMIOUS BANDERSNATCH, FRIEND OF OGDRED WEARY
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (20 of 90), Read 87 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Saturday, February 17, 2001 01:35 PM Then serve them up in something that is bright and challenging, something they can really chew on. Don't spoonfeed them with trite, obvious Pablum. Give them a steak. Ruth In human existence, permanence is a temporary condition. Donna Pohlman
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (21 of 90), Read 75 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: S. Bohinka (bohinka@riconnect.com) Date: Saturday, February 17, 2001 03:48 PM OK, I kinda agree that this is pablum. If it wasn't for CR I wouldn't have read this. OTOH, I didn't mind the reminder that I could have a better outlook on things. What bothered me more were some of the other things I mentioned. Anybody see racism in this? Some people said that the end was a letdown. I actually thought that having the treasure be where he started was one of the more interesting plot twists. I kinda liked the time he spent with the crystal merchant. That was more fun to me than the alchemist parts. I also wonder how much was lost in translation. This book seemed rather coarse to start with and flowed better as it went on. I raise this issue because the other thing that bothered me was the two women in the book. It seemed to me that there was more emotional content with the first girl he was looking forward to seeing than with Fatima he 'fell in love with' but expressed no feeling for. This may seem like picky details in a 'fable' but it was something that bothered me through the whole reading. I kept wondering why he so easily left the first girl since there was more *feeling* expressed. (He also expressed quite a bit of feeling for his sheep.) Unless this was all a translation problem. Someone also alluded to the Christian underpinnings of this book. I was uncomfortable with the weird combination of 'messages'. We have Bible verses interspersed with Alchemy and other philosophy. I'm weak in philosophy but wasn't this 'soul of the world' or whatever he called it a sort of Oversoul idea? Stuff that I kinda thought was b.s. was stuff like the following from p. 80 "We are afraid of losing what we have, whether it's our life or our possessions and property. But this fear evaporates when we understand that our life stories and the history of the world were written by the same hand." Anybody like/dislike the "books are like caravans" comparison on p. 81? I thought this could have been done better but at least it left room for people's differences. Bo
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (22 of 90), Read 80 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Saturday, February 17, 2001 05:03 PM Pres, I loved your post here. I feel stories are organic things that are absolutely necessary to us for survival(all except Ruth, she doesn't need them, she has her head screwed on!, a sensible person!).And so many myths are told over and and over in different cultures. Every culture has a flood myth. Instead of this making it a silly story or demystified, I see it as having an organic root a need in us. And I wouldn't go so far to limit the 'reworked' made over stories JUST for young people or for new generations, although I think that works in Hollywood very well with new movies, but please please show me a person who 'knows it all' and doesn't need to always be reminded of the important things in life(LOVE!!!! and the need for kind and sympathetic gestures) and show me someone who could sleep at night after saying, "I know it all" and then you'll have shown me an idiot.
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (23 of 90), Read 81 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: S. Bohinka (bohinka@riconnect.com) Date: Saturday, February 17, 2001 06:57 PM Hi Candy, One thing I've been thinking about since people are throwing around the word "fable" for this one. How do you think this book holds up as fable/myth? I guess on that level it didn't work for me. I found some little kernels in the midst of the 'preaching' (telling not showing) parts but overall as a story it didn't really have any impact for me. Why? Because even though I think that 'the journey' was part of the main point that too much emphasis was put on 'finding the treasure' and it wasn't some symbolic thing but a literal treasure. I guess that's part of it anyway. Bo
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (24 of 90), Read 83 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Saturday, February 17, 2001 08:45 PM I think this is a book that it doesn't matter how it holds up as a fable or a novel. People love it or not. The ones who love it, it's personal. It's like Bridges of Madison. A lot of critics don't think it was a 'literary' type of book. So what, they were wrong, the people loved it. It's like me trying to explain books like The Story of B. I KNOW it's not great literature. THATS not the reason its a cool book. It's the content. I think this may be the deal with The Alchemist. I have always been intriqued by the book sales and popularity of self-help books. I think because our 'elders' (it seems the parents of the hippies and baby boomers)have such a reputation for being against the environment and selfish and money grubbing and the baby boomer generation was responding to those kinds of parents/role models that they love these self help books because they don't have people in their life they could look up to. I see these self help shoppers all the time, they are almost all in their 50's to early 60's. It so strange. I wonder if anyone has done a study on the self help readers? God the money!!!!if someone comes up with a slogan for these books! Don't Sweat The Small Stuff....Men Are From...and Who Moved My Cheese. It's crazy. But I give Coelho points for at least trying to put his ideas into a novel/fable. Same as Castenada, at least they did it in an imaginative way! but the best one by far is The Story of B and Ishmael!!!! If you liked The Alchemist...please read Daniel Quinn whoever nominated this book!!!Karen have you read Quinn?
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (25 of 90), Read 86 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: S. Bohinka (bohinka@riconnect.com) Date: Saturday, February 17, 2001 09:18 PM Hi Candy, You may be right about the self-help thing. I hadn't thought about it that way but this generation might be the problem. I liked the other Ishmael a lot better (the one by Barbara Hambly where the women from "Here Come the Brides" meet Mr. Spock). :) Actually I did read Daniel Quinn's book and well, didn't care much for the gorilla idea. If it hadn't been for that, the stuff itself wasn't bad. Just didn't like the packaging. What I particularly didn't understand why this was given the Turner Award for what I thought was supposed to be "how people can work together to 'save the world'" (can't remember the exact wording but it seemed pretty far from the message of Ishmael, IMO.) I guess I just wanted to talk about the book some since I spent the time reading it. This may be a case of beating a dead horse, though. Bo
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (26 of 90), Read 92 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Anne Wilfong (anne.wilfong@gte.net) Date: Saturday, February 17, 2001 11:35 PM A thought on the self-help genre...we have a generation of "searchers" now, looking for some kind of meaning or validation to their lives. When I have been in my own search mode, these books have added comfort as well as insight to my plight. When I moved beyond the issue at hand, the particular book had no more meaning for me. From "The Celestine Prophecy" to Dr. Phil and Oprah, there's a ton of money being made in the name of our poor, misguided souls! Though I read THE ALCHEMIST a while back and haven't retained much of it, I do remember being certain he'd find the treasure in his own back yard. I mean, I learned that lesson from Dorothy in "The Wizard of OZ" many years ago...there's no place like home, you just gotta look hard. Anne, clicking together those ruby slippers
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (27 of 90), Read 81 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) Date: Sunday, February 18, 2001 07:18 AM Anne, I knew there was something familiar about that. Thanks for showing it to me. Sherry
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (28 of 90), Read 86 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Dottie Randall (randallj@ix.netcom.com) Date: Sunday, February 18, 2001 09:51 AM Or the old Acres of Diamonds tale, the guy is tired of farming his land so sells it and roams the world looking for diamonds -- who found the diamonds? The guy who bought the farm of course -- in the fields. Dottie -- thinking this book is just another version of the oldest of these and it all ties to the spiritual quest and has not a thing to do with the hippies and their parents -- it's every generation's gap with the next ID is an oxymoron!
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (29 of 90), Read 82 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Nancy Hudson (nhallo@charter.net) Date: Sunday, February 18, 2001 10:18 AM Yeah, and look how popular and timeless THAT story (and movie) is!People love this stuff, esp. the boomers. I think you are right about that. It maintains the idealism we had and then lost somewhere along the line. I like books like this is small doses. It gives me some measure of hope, regarless how trite or silly it may seem Nancy ----- Original Message ----- From: "Listmanager" To: Sent: Saturday, February 17, 2001 11:10 PM Subject: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho > From: "Anne Wilfong" > > A thought on the self-help genre...we have a generation of "searchers" now, looking for some kind of meaning or validation to their lives. When I have been in my own search mode, these books have added comfort as well as insight to my plight. When I moved beyond the issue at hand, the particular book had no more meaning for me. > > >From "The Celestine Prophecy" to Dr. Phil and Oprah, there's a ton of money being made in the name of our poor, misguided souls! > > Though I read THE ALCHEMIST a while back and haven't retained much of it, I do remember being certain he'd find the treasure in his own back yard. I mean, I learned that lesson from Dorothy in "The Wizard of OZ" many years ago...there's no place like home, you just gotta look hard. > > Anne, clicking together those ruby slippers > > > > To reply: mailto:monthlydiscussion.70056@webboard.mcsdallas.com > To start new topic: mailto:monthlydiscussion@webboard.mcsdallas.com > To login: http://webboard.mcsdallas.com:8081/~2
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (30 of 90), Read 77 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Nancy Hudson (nhallo@charter.net) Date: Sunday, February 18, 2001 10:14 AM I think that making the treasure both literal and figurative was a good idea. It really did link it more to "real life "as we live it since we are not really at a point where we can say worldly possessions are unimportant. In fact, (I am not a religous person, perse) but doesn't Christianity and other religions preach that in heaven you have both spiritual and "wordly" riches? Besides, once he had the treasure he could return to Fatima with a good dowry indeed. Nanyc ----- Original Message ----- From: "Listmanager" To: Sent: Saturday, February 17, 2001 6:32 PM Subject: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho > From: "S. Bohinka" > > Hi Candy, > > One thing I've been thinking about since people are throwing around the word "fable" for this one. How do you think this book holds up as fable/myth? > > I guess on that level it didn't work for me. I found some little kernels in the midst of the 'preaching' (telling not showing) parts but overall as a story it didn't really have any impact for me. > > Why? Because even though I think that 'the journey' was part of the main point that too much emphasis was put on 'finding the treasure' and it wasn't some symbolic thing but a literal treasure. I guess that's part of it anyway. > > Bo > > > > To reply: mailto:monthlydiscussion.70039@webboard.mcsdallas.com > To start new topic: mailto:monthlydiscussion@webboard.mcsdallas.com > To login: http://webboard.mcsdallas.com:8081/~2
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (31 of 90), Read 79 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Pres Lancaster (plancast@neteze.com) Date: Sunday, February 18, 2001 01:40 PM CANDY, you wrote: . A lot of critics don't think it was a 'literary' type of book. So what, they were wrong, the people loved it. IMHO, the people's love does not make a book "literary". There have been heaps and heaps of enormously popular books that have vanished except when disinterred by the occasional writer looking for a subject. And, IMHO, critics don't bestow "literary"-ness. There were no critics such as we now know them when The King James Version of the Bible appeared. People do bestow literaryness but only over time and with a vast consensus of love for the book. I thank no critic for "pronouncing" or "guiding" or "feeding" but only for "showing". FRUMIOUS BANDERSNATCH, FRIEND OF OGDRED WEARY
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (32 of 90), Read 73 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Monday, February 19, 2001 06:59 PM Ah Pres, right as rain, I'm with you dude. No one but a writer makes a book literary. Uh the love of a book is up to it's readers as opposed to just the critics...I guess I was trying to say, and the reason this interests me at all to mention is I kind of like to check out the books that have mass appeal...I tend to read a lot more 'literary' books myself, and ussually enjoy them more than the 'mainstream' books out there. But...I am intriqued when books get this undercurrent this following that seems to be out of the hands of marketers and critics...a kind of grass roots following. Pres, I have no argument with your good strong points in past post and hope I have made myself a bit clearer. Bo, you and I talked about Ishameal and Daniel Quinn about the first month you came to CR. I remember very well that you had problems with this book. I can imagine a telepathic gorilla would be a conceptual block for most people. For what ever flaky animal loving reason, I didn't blink an eye!!! I swallowed no problem. I think Ishmael and Story of B are both logical contenders for the Turner prize. I didn't even know there was such a prize!!until I read a bio about Quinn. I thought it was a very cool idea(note to self, try to find a website listing other winners) I am still running into YOUNG people who LOVE Daniel Quinns books. Pres, you may find this interesting. It seems that Quinn has struck a nerve with these young readers. I don't think it matters if older people can't suspend their disbelief to dig a telepathic gorilla!...it is with energy and wisdom and hope that any revisions to the way people live together and work together will happen. Bo, one of the reasons Ishmael won the award was because of the information analysisng what causes cultural collapse. It was because the book offered any programs to revise the way we live-it actually as all his books do, say there is no one program or*solution* but it demonstates and explains where the ACTUAL PROBLEMS ARE IN OUR CULTURAL CONSTRUCTS so that an indivual or group can take it from there. there are a lot of businesses that have been inspired by Quinns books. I think this is so cool. I think what is interesting with these self help books is that innovative businesses and people and workers are into these kinds of books like The Alchemist or all of Quinns books(which are better stories,better written as far as *literariness* goes). Now I am off to see if I can find a list for those book awards....
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (33 of 90), Read 75 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Pres Lancaster (plancast@neteze.com) Date: Tuesday, February 20, 2001 06:28 PM CANDY Knowing some of the people I have known, a telepathic gorilla is a right-at-home idea. I'll look for Quinn. This talk gives me to think that over time I have surely read and enjoyed many more "popular" than "literary" books. And a questioning thought: WIND IN THE WILLOWS, surely a "classic", but literary ? FRUMIOUS BANDERSNATCH, FRIEND OF OGDRED WEARY
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (34 of 90), Read 84 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Wednesday, February 21, 2001 02:16 PM ah funny you should mention Wind In The Willows, definately a classic and I was just defending it yesterday! Well, I wonder if my very favourite books that I re-read are literary so much as good stories! That more more important that all to me. I do read a lot of the so-called literary. but I don't even bother to recommend them because well, they can be nasty(like American Psycho or Blood Meridian) or they can be too long or too much intelectual (Underworld) Well, I think it would be cool if more people read Quinn, but it's a little odd. When I work at my friends book store its always kind of fun when someone comes in looking for one of his books. They look so excited to turn their friends on. The thing about the stories is that it opens dialoque even if you don't like the story or premises. These kids are REALLY into him, and they are trying to figure out how they want to live for the rest of their lives and make conscientious political and personal and consumer decisions inspired partly from reading Quinn. there was a new book non-fiction out in the fall and it was heavily influenced by Quinns books. It was called Cultural Creatives.
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (35 of 90), Read 88 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Ian Marks (comfortably_numb@ecosse.net) Date: Thursday, February 22, 2001 05:50 PM Back to The Alchemist... I shall make one very brief, subjective contribution to the discussion, then return to my shell, eschewing any desire to enter into any further correspondence on the matter. I read this some time ago and thought it was possibly the greatest waste of time (a mercifully short waste of time) in my entire reading life. Coelho actually enjoyed writing this? End of comment. Have a nice day! Ian
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (36 of 90), Read 93 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Thursday, February 22, 2001 11:53 PM Agree, Ian. Except I'd say it was the second biggest waste. First was Jonathan Livingstone Seagull. Third was Love Story. Fourth was the back of the Corn Flakes Box. Ruth ďThere ainít no answer. There ainít going to be any answer. There never has been an answer. Thatís the answer.Ē Gertrude Stein
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (37 of 90), Read 100 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: S. Bohinka (bohinka@riconnect.com) Date: Friday, February 23, 2001 01:19 AM Ian et al, I'm going to pick on you because you were at least honest enough to say what you were doing. (Not fair and it's not you.) This note is really directed to everyone who's done the same thing--cutting off any possibility for discussion of this book. >>then return to my shell, eschewing any desire to enter into any further correspondence on the matter. This seems to be quite a few people's reaction to this book. I have to say that I find this pretty annoying. At least be willing to give some reasons why you thought it was a waste of time. Where are the 10 or more CRs who **VOTED** for this thing, anyway? And if you voted for it and hate it, at least come and do some DIALOG. I feel really suckered by CR again this time. I figure that no matter what people think of a book that if it's one of the discussion books that it should at least be given the same respect as any other book on the list. How would you feel if you were the one who liked and suggested this book? I honestly think that it's MUCH WORSE to ignore and throw idle comments around about a book than to tear it to shreds. This is the second time I've invested time in a discussion book that other people didn't want to 'bother' with. I must say that this doesn't motivate me to read any more of them. How am I going to know which one will be the next one you reject? And why do I care about this book? I don't. I didn't like it any better than the rest of you did. There's a principle here that obviously really bugs me. I'm sure many of you feel like you wasted your time reading Coelho's book. I've always felt that a good discussion can make you feel like you've redeemed some of that time. I tend to believe that you can always and I mean ALWAYS get something out of a discussion of even the worst book. I was certainly prepared to do so. But I've taken my post-its out of the book and taken it back to the library. I give up. Now I've wasted my time too. Bo
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (38 of 90), Read 100 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) Date: Friday, February 23, 2001 08:54 AM Bo, All I can say is, sometimes book discussions just take off, and sometimes they don't. People vote for titles, usually because they haven't read them and are interested in them. Often they are disappointed and don't have a whole lot to say. There are so many really good discussions going on here, that once in a while, something doesn't catch on. I'm sorry you invested so much and got so little in return for your work. I would hope that an unfavorable "review" of a work, wouldn't discourage someone else from discussing a work. One of my problems with this book has nothing to do with whether I liked it or not. I finished it about a week before the official discussion began and was so immersed in other reading, that I had a hard time going back to it. Sherry
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (39 of 90), Read 68 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Dick Haggart (law@haggart.com) Date: Friday, February 23, 2001 11:04 AM I was curious about Bo's comment, not having read this selection, so I went back read the entire thread from top to bottom. As a complete outsider to the discussion I can say several things. First, I have no idea how a book this poorly received garnered 10 votes, but we all ought to know by know that democracy really sucks (See, Recent Events in Washington D.C. and Florida). As to the failure of a discussion to materialize, I noted that there really didn't seem to have been any positive comments made from which a discussion could develop in this topic. The negative comments, of which there were many, tended to mirror each other and the thing just fizzled out. I don't think you can hang the failure of a discussion to take off on the folks with the negative views only; the people with the positive side have to come forward and say something interesting and/or sensible, otherwise there's simply nothing to discuss. This is known as the "it takes two sides to tango" book discussion theory. For example, Ruth said, several times, this was a shallow, obvious and tedious story along the lines of Jonathan Livingston Seagull. I didn't see that anyone contradicted her in any meaningful way or offered a suggestion as as to why even shallow, obvious stories can be engaging. ("I liked the book" is fine as a sentiment, but not a basis on which to proceed to any kind of spirited discussion.) So, from the perspective of a first-time reader of this thread, I'd say the fault for any failure of discussion lies with those who liked the book but simply failed to speak up in its defense. As Sherry says, sometimes this happens. Not everyone likes or appreciates a clash of opinion, and when one develops some folks tend to hibernate. Personally, I think this is a good thing. Otherwise everyone would want to be a trial lawyer. And finally, I'd say: this is reading, not castor oil. We should do it for ourselves to savor both the inner magic of reading which we experience alone, as well as the more occasional magic we experience when a fine discussion over a fine (or not so fine) book actually emerges. And when a book doesn't suit us -- toss it in the recyle bin. But life's too short to be reading and discussing books that don't ring your personal chimes. Dick In The 21st Century
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (40 of 90), Read 66 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Pres Lancaster (plancast@neteze.com) Date: Friday, February 23, 2001 01:50 PM I must say that Ian's forthright and forceful statement helped me decide my course with respect to The Alchemist. In general, "alchemist" is a magnet word for me, and I would have been on the alert for the book if the CR discussion had suggested content or writing that would interest me. Apart from the book itself, I admired the clarity of Ian's statement. I was in no doubt about what was being said. [GGG} FRUMIOUS BANDERSNATCH, FRIEND OF OGDRED WEARY
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (41 of 90), Read 69 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Friday, February 23, 2001 01:55 PM Hey, Bo, I found your post so thought provoking and well, pretty brave. I am sorry if my lack of participation here has caused you to feel that this discussion is dead in the water. I have my excuses, I am so scattered and running all over the place with various friends and duties and fun stuff too, like out on the water and fishing...and I don't really have a set up to go on-line at this point in my life that any time I spend here at CR is really doled out by my irresponsible self at the judgement of my responsible self. In May I think I will have an address and a computer...so I imagine I will have a lot more to contribute to these various discussions. One approach I have adopted here for myself at Cr is to veer away from my personal opinion of a stories merit or whether it is one a so-called A list of literature. For many of the books at Cr I would not normally have read them, or they are not to my taste. I see taste as a qualifier only as interesting as the person who is declaring their taste in art or books. It could be argued if there is even such a thing as good taste-it's such an ultimatium, it's such a one note way of looking at human activity and is a dead end in it's self. I know lots of people who have great taste and they are such dead beats at a dinner party. They can't talk about pop music or movies or books or religion or philosophy or sex or love or clothing or food. It all ends where they put their line in the sand of taste. Meanwhile a strange craze like The Alchemist happens...and a hundred years from now it will probably be studied by some student as a time in the world when such a book would hold great meaning for a group of people. Is the Pilgrams Progress a great novel. I don't think so, it's not that well written, is it literay? uh, I don't know...what about Beowulf? I mean it's virtually unreadable(until recently) and it has to do with metaphysics. The people who didn't enjoy this book, say Ruth or Ian or yourself will be wise to pass on reading Beowulf, it is flaky and symbolic and self help just like Johnathhan Livingston Seagull. (except Bo when all is sadi and done, you are a surprising soul because you seem at first to be harsh, but then open minded all at once, very charming and rare, I mean this as a compliment after slowly getting used to your opinions and insights here) But these stories like the Alchemist and Beowulf and Johnathan Livingston Seagull are not about good taste or beauty or or fancypants or *reality* or logic or high art or literature. Ironically, they are about honour and being open minded and single hearted and loving and to make ones mark in life with the less material aspects of living. Johnathan Livingston Seagull and Beowulf have an awful lot in common!! It's kind of weird!!! They are about an individuals ultimate opportunity in life as being more important in their behaviour and choices and acts of charity and honour than in their belief in immortality or material goods and that includes ones sense of ego and taste of ones ego. I noticed over in poetry that it was almost impossible for a group of us to sustain our disbelief and pretend that genesis was an interesting story and open dialoque about it. Everyone was Oh I can't talk about religion! and yet I am a deeply unreligious person, not even a Christian!!! and I find the story of genesis a strange haunting puszzle to ponder(not sure if there is a solution-but varieties of interpretations!). Oh the delightful conversations I have shared on this weird story about a plant that god says not to eat. And all the various ways that people have interpreted this emblem this parable!!! It is ahugely ambiguous story that holds up in discussions with people from various backgrounds and religions and cultures! So I was pretty disappointed over in poetry actually the moral illiteracy in the poetry section is a daily surprise and shock to me! How sad people can not or will not use their imagination to explore all the wonderful and even badly written stories out there. The thing every good novel worth it's weight in time spent to read or discuss...shit I'll just say it! every novel is a parable! Whether we like it or not but the potential for moral imperatives or moral examinations is EXACTLY the reason people are compeeled to read whether they can accept this unconscuious drive about them selves or not. The thing with The Alchemist or Beowulf or Johnathan Livingston Seagull is that they are jst *upfront* about their motives. And by the way, when I was a little kid I totally loved Johnathan Livingston Seagull begged my parents to take me to the movie! But I am a total sap about things like bird and animal stories well I am just a sap anyway... cheers Bo and don't lose faith, theres lots more book discussions out there!
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (42 of 90), Read 61 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Ian Marks (comfortably_numb@ecosse.net) Date: Friday, February 23, 2001 05:16 PM I used the word "eschew" in my original post, but... Bo, I meant to cause no offence, and I apologise if I did. Yes, I considered The Alchemist a waste of time, but the tone of my post was meant to hint at my tongue poking gently into my cheek. You did ask for reasons, so I'll try to summarise my reaction to the book, although it's about three years since I read it, and it made little enough impression on me at the time. It was touted as some sort of modern fable, "an excellent adventure" as I think one of the encomiums called it, all about pursuing your dreams, really going for it; wall-to-wall glowing reviews. That alone built up my expectations. It wasn't. It was "just" a story, and, to be frank (IMO), a pretty flat story at that. "The boy did this, the boy did that"; "This happened, that happened". What sort of (inspirational) narrative is that? I also just could not relate to the shepherd boy (I've forgotten his name). He just seemed such a wishy-washy creation. If the book did have a positive effect on me, it was to tell myself that if I want to pursue goals in my life, I'm not going to do it reading stuff like this! Still, to each his/her own, and if this sort of thing galvanises someone into major life changes, then good luck to them. I really find it hard to add much more; as I said above, the book did so little for me I really find it hard to think of anything I'd want to discuss about it, and that in itself is pretty rare for me. And if the unintentional tone of my original post seemed rather cynical, then that's because I do not like being disappointed by books which are hailed by "everyone" as masterpieces, and The Alchemist is a perfect example of that. Are we still pals!? [G] Ian
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (43 of 90), Read 60 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Ian Marks (comfortably_numb@ecosse.net) Date: Friday, February 23, 2001 05:30 PM Since I've just been sounding off about inspirational stuff (or lack thereof), let me add this (and you can chuckle if you want, call me a buffoon, scratch your head, whatever): I'm currently reading GWB's A Charge to Keep (3 bucks 75 at BookCloseOuts.com), and, while it's by no means one of the great political memoirs, it's given me more food for thought on any handful of pages than Coelho managed to provide in the whole of The Alchemist. Different type of book, yeah, but still. I guess you take your inspiration where you find it. Ian
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (44 of 90), Read 63 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Friday, February 23, 2001 06:43 PM If I in any way put the kibosh on the discussion by my outspoken distaste for this book, then perhaps I need to confess that books like this really push all my buttons. Somehow I feel personally affronted that they spell everything out for me as if they couldnít present me with a more complex story and trust me to figure it out for myself. A shortcoming on my part, Iím sure. Ruth ďThere ainít no answer. There ainít going to be any answer. There never has been an answer. Thatís the answer.Ē Gertrude Stein
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (45 of 90), Read 59 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Friday, February 23, 2001 09:06 PM Ian, you bring up a good point that might have helped with this discussion is if we had found more comparable books...books that are uplifting and meet our own personal criteria for enjoyment. I know a lot of people don't like 'best of' lists, but one reason I like to qualify my favourite novels of all time is because it reveals where I'm coming from and what my standards for assessment in reading are.
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (46 of 90), Read 58 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Friday, February 23, 2001 09:08 PM Hey, who did nominate this one, and who did vote for it-is this a weird question? And does the nominator feel sad about the reception here or does it matter?
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (47 of 90), Read 60 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Anne Wilfong (anne.wilfong@gte.net) Date: Friday, February 23, 2001 10:39 PM I don't know who nominated it, but I voted for it. The blurb sounded compelling. So much for blurb. I have read many a metaphysical-type book before, and have enjoyed them...they fit my needs at the time. Now I find I "need" that less and less. And I tolerate them less and less. It's just where I am right now. Nonetheless, I read the whole book, which I can't say for every CR selection that didn't turn me on. I wanted to finish this, to see what the treasure was all about, and to see if I was right in my predictions. I mentioned before, I much preferred Hesse's "Siddhartha" for the type of message. It had much more depth as I recall, though it's been ages since I read it. I have little to say about why I disliked the book other than to echo Ruth's observation that it was too much spoon-feeding. Anne
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (48 of 90), Read 63 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: S. Bohinka (bohinka@riconnect.com) Date: Friday, February 23, 2001 11:22 PM Wow, look at all these notes. :) Sherry, >>I would hope that an unfavorable "review" of a work, wouldn't discourage someone else from discussing a work. I don't think that this should be the case either. I don't think anyone really put up an unfavorable *review* though. No one (including me) has really said all that much. This is really the crux of what I was complaining about. One thing that reading all the responses here today has done for me is help me to clarify some of my own thinking (one of the reasons I come to CR to discuss books.) Dick, >>This is known as the "it takes two sides to tango" book discussion theory. I don't really buy this. If you're preparing for a case and have someone brainstorming with you, you can be creative and have good discussion all about that 'one side', right? (Maybe even having someone play devil's advocate pretending to be the other side?) >>("I liked the book" is fine as a sentiment, but not a basis on which to proceed to any kind of spirited discussion.) YAY, this it the issue. I don't think that it matters that we all hate it. I want to know if other people don't like it for THE SAME REASONS I don't. I think this is discussion material. I don't remember Jonathan Livingston Seagull enough to know what was in there compared to what was in here. >>And finally, I'd say: this is reading, not castor oil. Sure. I know not everyone wants to read everything or has the time. What surprised me, though, was that those who actually *invested* the time, didn't want to talk about it. >>as well as the more occasional magic we experience when a fine discussion over a fine (or not so fine) book actually emerges. And when a book doesn't suit us -- toss it in the recyle bin. I'm not talking about 'the magic' of a great discussion that just 'happens'. (I'm still regretting that I didn't read Wings of the Dove in time?) I'm talking about a discussion that can only happen when people make the effort to say more than "Liked it", "hated it". >>But life's too short to be reading and discussing books that don't ring your personal chimes. I agree. But quite a few people DID read this one anyway because it was on the CR list. And I'm guessing only BECAUSE it was on the CR list. I figure there's a lot I can learn from people about why it didn't ring their personal chimes. I know I'm belaboring this. It's just that no one likes to be misunderstood and I wanted to clarify what I was trying to say. Candy, >>Hey, Bo, I found your post so thought provoking and well, pretty brave. Thanks Candy. Brave or stupid. I certainly don't want to antagonize anybody which I hope by now is apparent by my months of postings. >>In May I think I will have an address and a computer...so I imagine I will have a lot more to contribute to these various discussions. That'll be great for you! >>Meanwhile a strange craze like The Alchemist happens...and a hundred years from now it will probably be studied by some student as a time in the world when such a book would hold great meaning for a group of people. Is the Right. WHY is this happening? What makes this an international craze, too? >>Pilgrams Progress a great novel. I don't think so What other books have had this kind of following and what have they had in common? Are they all 'religious' in some sense? What does this particular book have to say about the religious/seeker/unrest of our society today? Is this just a rehash of the same metaphysical questions that people have always faced or is there something new here? Pilgrim's Progress is usually read by Christians as devotional type material. How is the Alchemist being read and by whom? IMO, this book is sorta like B'hai, it smooshes 'em all together and IMO that makes it more pablumesque. It also says to me that there's a lack of philosophical and critical thinking involved. But is that bad? Are simple messages enough to transcend all the 'critical thought' and make people happier? (I'd say there may be a good chance of that.) The unexamined life may just be a bit happier. Heck if I know. :) >>it's not that well written, is it literay? uh, I don't know...what about Beowulf? I mean it's virtually unreadable(until recently) and it has to do with metaphysics. The people who didn't enjoy this book, say Ruth or Ian or yourself will be wise to pass on reading Beowulf, it is flaky and symbolic and self help just like Johnathhan I know, let's compare the Alchemist to Beowulf! ;) (Be forewarned everybody, now that Candy's suggested it, I may just read Beowulf just to do this.) ;) >>except Bo when all is sadi and done, you are a surprising soul because you seem at first to be harsh, but then open minded all at once, very charming and rare, I mean this as a compliment after slowly getting used to your opinions and insights here) Thanks Candy. Harsh, huh? I've had online friends tell me when they talk to me on the phone or in person that they're surprised that I actually have a sense of humor. (Or that I can actually be funny. :) I think I come across as a lot more serious in print. Isn't all of reading about being open-minded and seeing things from another perspective? >>But these stories like the Alchemist and Beowulf and Johnathan Livingston Seagull are not about good taste or beauty or or fancypants or *reality* or logic or high art or literature. Right. And since this is already too long and I'll get back to you on some of the content you presented. What I must struggle with now is now that I've complained about it, am I wiling to put my money where my mouth is and actually DISCUSS the damned book? :) Thanks everybody, I will seriously consider all the points raised and try to make some intelligent comments. Bo
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (49 of 90), Read 63 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: S. Bohinka (bohinka@riconnect.com) Date: Saturday, February 24, 2001 03:32 PM Candy, Following up on some content. BTW, I compared 3 'new' translations of Beowulf in the library today and I liked Heaney's the least. I didn't write down the names of the others (we were on our way out) but I'm going to go back for them when we do the book. >>Johnathan Livingston Seagull and Beowulf have an awful lot in common!! It's kind of weird!!! They are about an individuals ultimate opportunity in life as being more important in their behaviour and choices and acts of charity and honour than in their belief in immortality or material goods and that includes ones sense of ego and taste of ones ego. Since everyone's been talking about Jon Liv Seagull could someone summarize it? I know I looked at it when it was so popular. It was presented in story form like The Alchemist, right? With "life can be anything you want it to be" as the main theme? >>Everyone was Oh I can't talk about religion! Do you think that this might be part of what's happening here with this book? Is our 'philosophy of life' too close to 'religion' so there's a discomfort level talking about these things? >>The thing with The Alchemist or Beowulf or Johnathan Livingston Seagull is that they are jst *upfront* about their motives. The Alchemist seemed to be 'all over the map' to me, though, compared to some of these others. There was 'the treasure' which in this case was material goods. Found at home but the 'searcher' had to go all over the place to learn things first. (But did get rewarded with money.) (I'm guessing that most of the others are not material goods-oriented.) You and I keep mentioning Quinn's Ishmael. As I remember it there really wasn't a 'story' shell to that one. Just the guy getting to talk to the gorilla but it was mostly "meaning of life" stuff coming from the mouth of the gorilla, right? Do you think the structure of one of these types of books has anything to do with how it influences people? IOW, does a story/parable do more than a 'lecture'? Bo
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (50 of 90), Read 68 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Dick Haggart (law@haggart.com) Date: Saturday, February 24, 2001 03:55 PM Bo: The short version of Jonathan Livingston Seagull: Most sea gulls live to eat and poop, but Jonathan, in addition to having a Yale-quality name, was a dreamer. He lived to fly, to soar, to write the poetry of the air with his little gull wings. The other gulls laughed at him. He felt bad and he also felt sorry for the other gulls, who not only shopped at K-Mart but ate out of the dumpster at K-Mart. He tried to enlighten them but they beat him up and threw him out of the sea gull Kiwanis. But, Jonathan kept on his lonely path and finally found happiness and love and stuff. The above description is nearly as long as the original story by Richard Bach, who was a professor at Yale and just wished he had a name as New Haven as his character. It's been 30 years or so since I skim-read this in horrified disbelief at Dupont Books in D.C., so I may have missed something. Dick In The 21st Century
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (51 of 90), Read 70 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Saturday, February 24, 2001 03:59 PM I think you've pretty much got it, Dick. The spirit if not the details, which are equally mercifully blurred for me. Ruth ďThere ainít no answer. There ainít going to be any answer. There never has been an answer. Thatís the answer.Ē Gertrude Stein
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (52 of 90), Read 69 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: S. Bohinka (bohinka@riconnect.com) Date: Saturday, February 24, 2001 04:02 PM Dick, Best laugh I've had all day! Thanks. I did just go to Amazon to see if they had a description of the book and you pretty much had it summed up. So JLS is pretty much a metaphor for life. How would you all describe the Alchemist? It's a 'fable' but there's a heck of a lot of 'lecture' there in each section. (Did JLS have this too?) Bo
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (53 of 90), Read 69 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: S. Bohinka (bohinka@riconnect.com) Date: Saturday, February 24, 2001 04:14 PM Ian, >>I meant to cause no offence, and I apologise if I did. No offense taken. >>Yes, I considered The Alchemist a waste of time, but the tone of my post was meant to hint at my tongue poking gently into my cheek. Guess there's some value to emoticons and smileys. I know I overuse them here but I know that my sense of humor seldom comes across in print and it's my lame attempt to try to get it across. >>It wasn't. It was "just" a story, and, to be frank (IMO), a pretty flat story at that. I felt that it had *some* potential in the first half and deteriorated as it went on. I at least liked him playing with his sheep. :) >> "The boy did this, the boy did that"; "This happened, that happened". What sort of (inspirational) narrative is that? Well, I suspect that the little 'lectures' various people gave him along the way were meant to be the profound thoughts of inspiration. Because they were little 'mini-lectures', the style was less than desirable. (The structure was just an excuse for the author to string together all the inspirational things he wanted to put in a book. Could have done exactly the same thing with a 'thought a day' calendar.) Though a few of them had some merit, IMO. >>was to tell myself that if I want to pursue goals in my life, I'm not going to do it reading stuff like this! :) Is there a type of reading that you think would help you to pursue your goals? (It's actually a serious question.) >>Still, to each his/her own, and if this sort of thing galvanises someone into major life changes, then good luck to them. I think that we can find our inspiration anywhere. I'll never forget a conversation I had with a good friend of mine about Terry Brooks' Elfstones of Shannara. Brooks is a fantasy writer and his stuff isn't very deep. There was one scene in here where a guy who's half-elf and half-human is getting in touch with his elfness. For some reason this struck my friend and where he was at in his role as a father. We had a lengthy 'life issues' discussion prompted by elfness! You just never know. >>I do not like being disappointed by books which are hailed by "everyone" as masterpieces, and The Alchemist is a perfect example of that. It IS annoying, isn't it? >>Are we still pals!? [G] You betcha! Bo
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (54 of 90), Read 58 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: S. Bohinka (bohinka@riconnect.com) Date: Saturday, February 24, 2001 05:25 PM Anne, >>they fit my needs at the time. Now I find I "need" that less and less. And I tolerate them less and less. It's just where I am right now. Do you cycle in and out of reading them or do you think this is a sign of maturing or growing out of them? I used to read a lot more self-help than I do now. I'm not sure if it had to do with how I felt about myself or a particular time in my life. >>I wanted to finish this, to see what the treasure was all about I wanted to see how he tied it together, too. >> I mentioned before, I much preferred Hesse's "Siddhartha" for the type of message. It had much more depth as I recall, though it's been ages since I read it. I haven't read any Hesse. I remember when I was in college that this was 'the' book everyone was reading. Did it have a story like this or was it more expounding on life? Did it meet that need for this type of book at the time for you? I know that I remember people saying that it was a 'life-changing' book. All, Have any of you read a book that you thought was 'life-changing'? in the sense that people are referring to when they talk about these types of books? Or another type of book that was life-changing? I have to admit that I've read many that were very influential in changing a way of thinking. Right now I can't think of any that made a real difference in how I look at life or the world in a real 'gee whiz' sort of way. Or affected the way I live my life. Bo
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (55 of 90), Read 59 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Dick Haggart (law@haggart.com) Date: Saturday, February 24, 2001 05:37 PM I read a "life-changing" book a week when I was a teen-ager and in my 20's. Since then, life-changing events have tended to be more sourced in the real world, until now I've reached the point where it would probably take a couple of literary bull-dozers and a D-8 Cat of a novel to effect me thus. My misfortune, I think. Dick In The 21st Century
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (56 of 90), Read 60 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: S. Bohinka (bohinka@riconnect.com) Date: Saturday, February 24, 2001 05:46 PM Dick, Were you that influenced by things back then or are we having a 'definition of terms' issue? To me 'life-changing' is almost a 'conversion' experience. Something big. Influential, OTOH, to me is something that gets me out of a thinking rut (perhaps it's a thinking vs. feeling issue?) The most recent example I can think of is a book that convinced me that I ought to consider trying a vegan diet, something I did for about 6 months. This book got me reading more books in that vein and I'd say that I've changed some of my thinking as a result. To me, though, this isn't 'life-changing'. Perhaps to be life-changing something needs to get at the philosophical underpinnings of our belief system? Bo
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (57 of 90), Read 57 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Ian Marks (comfortably_numb@ecosse.net) Date: Saturday, February 24, 2001 05:50 PM >>Is there a type of reading that you think would help you to pursue your goals? (It's actually a serious question.)<< And a good one, Bo. Books which have inspired me (or made me think really hard about life, the universe, whatever) are seldom those you find on the inspirational / self-help shelves in the bookstore. Most of the stuff that has inspired me (to whatever degree) has come from between the covers of "ordinary" novels or non-fiction. The earliest "proper" (i.e. adult) novel which made a profound effect on me was The Caine Mutiny, which I first read when I was about 14, and have re-read several times since at various stages of my life. I would make that book compulsory reading for anyone aspiring to a management position in any line of business. It also provided me with one of my favourite phrases, one I've fallen back on countless times in both my personal and professional life: "Never assume a goddamn thing." I remember also being inspired as a student by the (short) fiction of Heinrich BŲll, who was the first writer to show me that the lives of ordinary people could be full of meaning, and that ordinary people could battle bureaucracy in countless little, but ultimately significant, ways. More recently, there's Nelson Mandela's Long Walk to Freedom. Well, if this one doesn't inspire anyone, at any age, to look at their life, their relationships with and their attitudes towards their fellow man, then nothing will. And there are others. I guess what I'm trying to say is that a well-written, meaningful book, be it fiction or non-fiction, should be able to its job without being labelled "self-help". Ian (bringing a whole new dimension to the word "eschew" [g])
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (58 of 90), Read 58 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) Date: Saturday, February 24, 2001 06:18 PM Dick, I don't think Richard Bach was ever a professor at Yale (but I could be wrong). I think you're getting him mixed up with Eric Segal who wrote Love Story. Segal was actually quite an excellent Classics professor, who needed to make a buck (they didn't pay well at Yale) so wrote a popular novel. I know this because my husband took a course from him. One of the best courses he took there. I used to see him jogging when I biked to work. Sherry
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (59 of 90), Read 57 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: S. Bohinka (bohinka@riconnect.com) Date: Saturday, February 24, 2001 06:43 PM Sherry's right, he was an airplane pilot. His webpage is down but got some bio off of another site. http://www.aquanet.co.il/vip/tashlik/bach/biography_bach.htm This is a bit hard to decipher--pretty poorly written site! (I can't believe I just did a websearch for Richard Bach who apparently was a descendant of JS Bach.) BTW, Amazon's got a pretty good description of Siddhartha. I found it interesting that a teen who did a list of books had it on his list. So I guess kids are still reading it today. Bo
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (60 of 90), Read 61 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Dick Haggart (law@haggart.com) Date: Saturday, February 24, 2001 06:46 PM Told you I skimmed it. And, yes, Bo, I think our definitions of 'life changing' or whatever are reasonably close. I was forever having epiphanies in those days. Over it now though. Dick In The 21st Century
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (61 of 90), Read 63 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Robert Armstrong (rla@nac.net) Date: Saturday, February 24, 2001 08:03 PM Bo, I'm just over half way through THE ALCHEMIST and I'm not falling down over it. I absolutely loved Hesse's SIDDHARTHA, but my most life changing book was Jane Roberts' THE NATURE OF PERSONAL REALITY. It remains my favorite book. Robt
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (62 of 90), Read 68 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: S. Bohinka (bohinka@riconnect.com) Date: Sunday, February 25, 2001 12:20 AM Robt, Haven't heard of Jane Roberts, please tell me more. Bo
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (63 of 90), Read 63 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Sunday, February 25, 2001 12:20 PM These have been some of the most interesting posts here I've read at CR. This is personal I guess because, the ideas in here form what a writer may struggle with! I think EVERY novle is a self-help book, and story telling is natures back up program or *re-set* button to keep us living etc. I have had so many books and paintings and poems that have kicked my ass and been life altering or life enhancers that I really don't know if I can begin to list them. We had a small thread on this very subject a few months ago, and I remember Robert giving quite a great post on Jane Roberts, some one I read when I was growing up and she had a big influence on me at the time...only it was a little novel called The Education Of Oversoul Seven.(there was a punk band called this in the 80's!!!)and the premise of the story was about a retirement home, and we *read* the minds of the people who were in this lodge. It was to me a combination of Coccoon meets Cuckoos Nest! I couldn't tell you if it was a *great novel* or literary. I imagine it wasn't but I know it made me feel quite diferently about the human body and the human mind and compassion and imagination. Recently, I would say that Don Delillo 's new book The Body Artist was strangely related to the way I felt about The Education of Oversoul Seven...it has a character who can transform her bbody she literally uses her body as sculpture and characters. I can not explain this book, I'm not sure I understand it even ha ha. I have meant to start a thread here to see if anyone else has read it and can explain it to me!!!heh heh. But she goes *beyond* her body, its transcendence ugh, but it's so deep I am still scratching my head, but I loved it!!! Daniel Quinn's Ishmael has almost NO PLOT and that is why it is not a *great* novel, Bo in my opinion, it could use some plot. And the gorrilla doesn't lecture about 'the meaning of life' he kind of dismisses that desire of the human brain to have THAt kind of resolution philosophically but he is more successful with this goal in Story of B. The novel is a dialoque and that is what makes it hard for em to say it is a good literay novel. But his goal and intents are very successful... it's kind of like Gorrillas in The Mist MEETS Sidhartha!!!! I loved Herman Hesse! the Glass Bead Game I still think is under-rated and brilliant! I loved Siddhartha , which I just re-read to write a book review on it because it was re-published as a 50 yr aniversary...and I loved Journey To The East. I think Hesse is not taken too seriously he is seen as a writer for teen agers or young adults. My first, very first life altering read was Jack London and Call Of The Wild. That was it, I have read novles with animals or non-fiction by vets etc ever since. But of American *great* writers who meet all my "qualifications" of novels needs for ME I have this list:Faulkner, Hemingway, Conrad, Melville,McCarthy, Fitzgerald,Burroughs, London. They have it all. there isn't one of their novels that didn't kick my ass and think about how I live and how I treat others and how I think and where I came from!!!(I hope I didn't forget one!I'll add later if one comes to me...) I almost willing to add Toni Morrison and Don Dilillo to that list. But I'll have to think about it. Every other American book and writer I read, is held up to those above. Um, I am sure I have more to say on this topic ha ha but I better go think for a bit. This was just off the top of my head, and I hope it makes sense to you Bo. But most important is my feeling that EVERY novel sets out or is held out by nature to be a story that may help us by merely describing who we are and how we live or showing us how we think and live etc. I believe that that is the organic function as an animal that makes us human but is much from nature as any species. We tell stories and they help us .live and live WELL! and what makes one novel better than an other is for ME that I don't notice it's function, I can escape in the story but come out the other side learning something. I mean I read to LEARN< if I didn't feel I needed to learn anything I would do something else with my time other than read. And as far as the popularity of The Alchemist versus Heart Of Darkness, well different strojkes for different folks, one person will have their ass kicked by the Alchemiast, and hate Heart of Darkness, it could happen! That's where it comes down to taste, both books set out to produce a sensation and deliver a moral imperative. Who likes what, is just personal. (I didn't think the characters were strong enough or interesting enough in The Alchemist and that is why I didn't like it and found it a weak read, but that has everything to do with my personality and what I look for in my reading rather than readers who happen to enjoy this book)
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (64 of 90), Read 61 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Sunday, February 25, 2001 12:31 PM bo, I am pretty sure that Jane Roberts Robert was talking about is the same one as I am talking about, but it just occurred to me they might NOT be the same. That would be so weird to me now that I think about it, if they were the SAME!!!is this possible? Jane Roberts I know is/was a spiritualist. My mum was into her she *wrote a* a book by trance called Seth Speaks. My mum is really into everything from ufos to reading auras to conspiracy theories to reincarnation. she is quite a riot and when we were growing us we went to *healing* and strange churches and seances!!!And my mum gave me this book Seth Speaks to read. I actually can't remember it, it was very big and convoluted almost like reading Thomas Pynchon heh heh!!!(who I am ALMOST willing to almost put on my greatest American writer list , but not quite!)
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (65 of 90), Read 59 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Dottie Randall (randallj@ix.netcom.com) Date: Sunday, February 25, 2001 01:58 PM Okay -- have to say that I am reading this thread and thinking about the whole thing -- as I think I said earlier -- The Alchemist didn't do all that much for me -- I just felt sort of ho-hum. I think because I have read other books which do what it appears was intended in The Alchemist but in a much more relevant to me fashion -- having said that -- I should name one but am blank. Like some here I feel I read books in this vein in cycles and that I have really benefitted from such readings at major crossroads or perhaps that the reading at some points has triggered epiphanies of concept or reconnected me with some deeply rooted part of my own thinking/philosophy of life and thus SEEMED to be major crossroads. I also feel that I have reached some level of definition of myself that needs less of the philosophy/spiritual reading such as this and others of the same type -- or perhaps it is just that when I need refreshing I turn to those books which have had a big impact on my thinking in the past -- like reminding myself of what I have claimed as a part of my thinking -- I think one of those would be Gift From the Sea which Bob mentioned when speaking of Anne Morrow Lindbergh's death. I will try to review this and look at the Coelho book again once I am back in Belgium midweek and make further comment. Dottie ID is an oxymoron!
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (66 of 90), Read 54 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Anne Wilfong (anne.wilfong@gte.net) Date: Sunday, February 25, 2001 03:30 PM Ian, I, too, had that Caine Mutiny experience. It was on my grandma's bookshelf when I discovered it at age 12, and I reread it every summer I visited for the next 5 years, I think. It was my first real "adult" type book aside from some classics, and set the tone for my choice in novels for years to come. From Wouk I moved to Michner, Irving Stone, Irving Wallace, and Taylor Caldwell. None of these am I tempted to reread now, but boy do they bring back good memories. And I owe it all to The Caine Mutiny. Anne
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (67 of 90), Read 55 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Sunday, February 25, 2001 04:47 PM I forgot Steinbeck. I should be lashed. Um, I was just talking to a friend about thiese ideas of books that affected us and she said, yes the JOLT. And I asked her what books are like that now and does she feel it, and she said NO. It's a little like what dottie just said, that she feels defined. She feels she has her life changed how she likes it, PLUS, she said our culture has this concept of being mature and grown up-and that is a static state...it's no longer soul searching or to be questioning authority or values or the general run of the world once you are grown up. she said it's also called in cliche 'set in your ways' is the negative side of that coin. Hmm, I was intriqued by this idea that we can or do reach a static state...and a place where the JOLT doesn't happen or isn't desired... Hey, I was thinking that this is an explaination for the popularity of spy and crime books. Crime and spy books are like the LSD of literature.They simulate the JOLT mechanism hehheh or the jolt muscle, but without out the emotional payoff or philosophical payoff. Sure they have a moral imperative, but it's so EASY. I am half expecting there to be a discovery in gene research that there is a storytelling gene. And then the other thing the quest myth like Wizard of Oz or a perhaps poorer version in Alchemist...we can know that there is 'no place like home' but we also know that we have to leave home to feel this or learn this...or travel in stories to learn these various paprables. The thing is most religious paprables are so basic that it is common sense the lessons they enclose like Quinn characters say 'the golden rule' even other primates know/practice THAT! here are a few *jolt* novels and with the asterisk are ones from the most recent... Suttree(one of the best self help novels) The Magus Generation x A Good Day To Die Blood Meridian Billy Budd The Trial The Confidence Man *The Good Brother *No Great Mischeif Hucleberry Fynn Less Than Zero Catch 22 The Glass Bead Game *Emergence by Holland *The Other Side of Eden Farenheit 451 *The Museum Guard by Howard Norman The Fall/Camus The Idiot/Camus and it's funny, I don't think that I don't get a jolt more now because I'm settled or set in my ways, I really don't think writers are locking horns with big ideas or big picture as much as they have done at various times or rather it is harder to find these books if they are getting published...JUST MY OPINION...
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (68 of 90), Read 55 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Robert Armstrong (rla@nac.net) Date: Sunday, February 25, 2001 05:15 PM Candy, Your A list of writers is hot! That's the same Jane Roberts all right. Her best books are the ones she didn't write! Robt
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (69 of 90), Read 55 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Sunday, February 25, 2001 05:36 PM My jolt books? Here's a few, just off the top of my head. The Death of Jesus, Joel Carmichael Brave New World Gulliverís Travels The Act of Creation, Arthur Koestler Invisible Man Johnny Got His Gun Feminine Mystique A Dollís House/Hedda Gabler/Ghosts Poems of T. S. Eliot Babbitt/Main Street No Exit The Magus Ruth ďThere ainít no answer. There ainít going to be any answer. There never has been an answer. Thatís the answer.Ē Gertrude Stein
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (70 of 90), Read 56 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Dottie Randall (randallj@ix.netcom.com) Date: Sunday, February 25, 2001 07:48 PM Oops -- Candy -- I would differ from your friend's definition here in that I would separate having some level of self-definition in place from having my life changed to suit me or as I want it to be -- I am in a state of complete flux at any given moment as to what life needs too "be" in order for me to survive it and experience it and endure it -- and I would certainly never say that I will not continue to experience new epiphanies from reading new books -- but I will agree that I find them perhaps less often as I read in a different direction during certain periods of life. Also, Candy, I forgot to mention or maybe not -- I wanted to say that Glass Bead Game is on my Belgian bookshelves -- I bought it rather than the CR book by Hesse that was on the list in 1998 or 1999 or whenever it was. I have not read it yet BUT it just moved up several notches with your reco above. I think we have had varying threads in which these types of books/ this type of effect of a book has been addressed -- but it always interesting to see the range and the passion which these types of books evoke in those of us who have had a strong response to them on first reading or on the fiftieth reading. SOME Taylor Caldwell I would agree are NOT for rereads but there are SOME which bear revisiting -- trust me on that. Dottie ID is an oxymoron!
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (71 of 90), Read 56 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Sunday, February 25, 2001 08:56 PM Ah, yeah, Dottie these books have such dear spots for most of us. Ruth I almost fell over when you posted your jolt books. I have to admit if I thought Bo was harsh at first, she was mellow compared to you. I am very surprised to hear that you ever felt this way about a book. It's warming my heart, not that you would care, but you know I was taken aback. I thought about The Magus when George wrote the fake poem a couple weeks ago, seemed like something Conch would have done. I would add to my quick list above No Exit.
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (72 of 90), Read 57 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Sunday, February 25, 2001 08:56 PM Robert, I guess my list is hot, but in a way I can see it as Kind of safe, I mean doesn't every body LOVE those writers? I think my stand on that list of writers is determined by what I haven't put on there as well.
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (73 of 90), Read 57 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Sunday, February 25, 2001 08:58 PM and Ruth, I would change the term *harsh* to I thought you were intolerant, would be a better description of my impressions. Intolerant of what you ask? The intellectually challenged.
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (74 of 90), Read 54 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Sunday, February 25, 2001 09:13 PM Bo, and one other thing I was thinking of in response to you saying something like"brave...brave and stupid". No I think it has opened dialogue on a lot of issues around reading and sharing our ideas about stories...I made a blunder when I first came to CR and I have regretted it since. I said I hated a book, and I said I wasn't a feminist. The book was The Archivist...and I later saw that it didn't matter if I liked it or not(I thought it was phony just to explain)that I had alienated a few people to my future posts and thoughts. I now play it as cool as I can regarding my politics or actually anything much to do with myself. Actually, I don't have any politics ha ha! And ultimately, I do think I guess like someone like Joeseph Campbell(who mentioned him a couple months ago, I've been trying to track that old post down! anybody remember? maybe under poetry?)that all stories work off each other or are one... anyway, I am multiple posting again, how scary...
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (75 of 90), Read 37 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: S. Bohinka (bohinka@riconnect.com) Date: Monday, February 26, 2001 12:16 AM Dottie, >>Like some here I feel I read books in this vein in cycles and that I have really benefitted from such readings at major crossroads or perhaps that the reading at some points has triggered epiphanies of concept or reconnected me with some deeply rooted part of my own thinking/philosophy of life and thus SEEMED to be major crossroads. I liked the way you put this. I think this is probably why I questioned Dick yesterday about what he meant when he said "life-changing". I started looking at influential books about 20 years ago when a friend of mine's son died and he found a list in his son's things listing his top 10 most influential books (the man omited Shakespeare and the Bible because he considered them 'givens'.) My friend and I talked about what our top 10 would be and since then I've thought about the subject in this way. What was hardest for me then and would probably be hardest now is limiting it to 10. But I digress. What your note said to me, Dottie, is that over time we see our lives as more of a journey and can see how things influenced us at certain time (depending on how reflective and introspective we want to be). Since I often measure my life by the books I've read, I think it makes sense for me to look back at what I've read and see how it's influenced my thinking or living of my life. But what may have seemed like a big deal 20 years ago, seems just like a bend in the road now. This is probably why I said that I didn't have any reading epiphanies. I may have seen something differently or altered my opinion or even some of my philosophy of life but looking at it over time, it doesn't look like that BIG of a thing. I should probably give a few examples. I hesitate to do so because last time I mentioned one of my influential books people wanted to go out and find it. Much of what's influenced me isn't great literature but what hit me at my particular life in a particular way at the time. Everyone, What interests me most about your lists is what did reading a particular book do for you? How did it change you? How did it influence your thinking? What's different now that you've read it? And how big was this change? If this was epiphany level, how did that happen for you? What did it feel like? What happened to you because of it? If it was influential, how? OK, and to try to bring this back to the Alchemist :) if you could rewrite the Alchemist to be *your* life changing book, what would it take? I have a couple ideas off the top of my head about what would have to change. I'd have to have a more philosophical end. It would have to have a human-value treasure instead of a material one. We'd also have to scrap the Alchemist. :) I'll see if I can come up with something positive to add, though. ;) Bo
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (76 of 90), Read 38 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Monday, February 26, 2001 01:33 AM Candy, books have been more important and influential in my life than almost anything. Please don't confuse my passion with intolerance. Bo, If I were to write The Alchemist over, I would make the story more complicated, and the characterization deeper. I would not let success in every endeavor just fall into the kid's lap. I'd make him struggle more. I'd let him lose his way a few times and not understand why. Like you, I'd deep six the alchemist, and his simplistic lectures along with him. I'd let the point of the book emerge from the story and the characters, and I'd make the reader think and work to find what truths were in the book. I'd hope to write it so that the reader wouldn't find right answers, but the right questions. Ruth ďThere ainít no answer. There ainít going to be any answer. There never has been an answer. Thatís the answer.Ē Gertrude Stein
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (77 of 90), Read 40 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: S. Bohinka (bohinka@riconnect.com) Date: Monday, February 26, 2001 01:54 AM Ruth, Would the right questions emerge for you out of narrative or philosophical dialog? For me it'd be from some kind of story. Though while I'm saying this I realized that most of my influential books aren't fiction. THE most influential one, is, though. So maybe I'm off the hook. :) Bo
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (78 of 90), Read 43 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Monday, February 26, 2001 02:07 AM I think they would have to arrive out of the narrative and from insight into the psyche of the character. That's why it's so important for me that the characters have depth and dimension. Philosophical dialogue between characters usually puts my back up because I feel like I'm being preached at, and whatever is being said usually ends up sounding simplistic. A deep rich novel, beautifully written, gives us an experience and an understanding that is far richer than can ever be expressed by the author's lecturing at us through the mouths of his characters. Ruth ďThere ainít no answer. There ainít going to be any answer. There never has been an answer. Thatís the answer.Ē Gertrude Stein
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (79 of 90), Read 40 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Monday, February 26, 2001 03:41 AM If I wanted to title the book, The Alchemist, I would include more of my research into the tenets of alchemy. My plot would use the spiritual nature of the field to create conflict between its tenets and the boy's quest and experiences. There would be no simple, obvious answers, and I would leave it to the reader to determine what has really happened. I would encourage the question, "Who is the real alchemist here - the self proclaimed "scientist" or the boy doing the seeking?" "How much of a role does chance play in our personal quests, and is it even feasible to expect any kind of order or means of harnessing chance? If it's not, then how are we going to survive and make any kind of sense?" If I were really good at what I was doing, the reader would be left puzzling over the merits of an alchemist approach in her own life. Why title a book The Alchemist if that's not going to play an important role in my plot? Is there anything specific to the field that sets it apart from other philosophical constructs? I would NOT write it as a parable, which leaves no room for the reader to ponder or think for herself. I hate being lectured to.
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (80 of 90), Read 32 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Monday, February 26, 2001 12:18 PM I really like your ideas, Kay, especially about working the theme of alchemy into the plot in some meaningful way. Ruth ďThere ainít no answer. There ainít going to be any answer. There never has been an answer. Thatís the answer.Ē Gertrude Stein
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (81 of 90), Read 34 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Monday, February 26, 2001 12:34 PM Thanks. That was one of my biggest disappointments with this book. I felt Coelho promised something he didn't produce.
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (82 of 90), Read 29 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: S. Bohinka (bohinka@riconnect.com) Date: Monday, February 26, 2001 03:22 PM I really thought the story (the little there was) deteriorated considerably when he met "The Alchemist". It's almost like the alchemist was a plot device. At least the kid was somewhat of a character. We get some of the trappings of alchemy but this really could have been the 'voodo artist' or the "t'ai chi expert" or anything else for as much as it contributed to the story. Why do you think Coelho chose it? Do you think he had any real concept of Alchemy? I felt that he picked the setting because he didn't know it. It read like a stereotype of 'the desert' to me. I wonder if he did the same thing with alchemy. I have to admit that I don't know much about Brazil (I'm assuming he's Brazilian but perhaps I'm wrong.) Bo
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (83 of 90), Read 27 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Robert Armstrong (rla@nac.net) Date: Monday, February 26, 2001 03:53 PM THE ALCHEMIST was written by a Platitudipus. The structure of this fable is insufficiently metaphorical. It has some charming images but ultimately fails to deliver. I am left feeling ripped off especially since I bought the hard cover edition. It mixes insight with nonsense to the point where the value is eclipsed. I bet Coehlo rereads it ten years from now and doesn't like it. I'm big on metaphysics and this book sucks. Robt
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (84 of 90), Read 22 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Ian Marks (comfortably_numb@ecosse.net) Date: Monday, February 26, 2001 05:28 PM >>I bet Coehlo rereads it ten years from now and doesn't like it.<< Robert ~~ LOL! Ian
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (85 of 90), Read 22 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Ian Marks (comfortably_numb@ecosse.net) Date: Monday, February 26, 2001 05:26 PM >>I would NOT write it as a parable, which leaves no room for the reader to ponder or think for herself. I hate being lectured to.<< You know, Kay, you just hit the nail on the head. When I pick up a novel, I like / expect to have lots of leeway (the more the better) to make up my own mind and take out of it what I want to take out of it. Ian
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (86 of 90), Read 22 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: S. Bohinka (bohinka@riconnect.com) Date: Monday, February 26, 2001 07:16 PM Candy, >>and it's funny, I don't think that I don't get a jolt more now because I'm settled or set in my ways, I really don't think writers are locking horns with big ideas or big picture as much as they have done at various times or rather it is harder to find these books if they are getting published...JUST MY OPINION... I wonder if this is a function of getting older. I know I feel the same way. It's not me, it's the books! :) I guess that's one reason why I asked about the popularity of The Alchemist and ones we've compared it to. When was Ishmael, 10 years ago or so? And JLS was 25 or 30? Was there a similar book published in the 40s, 50s or 60s? Or earlier? Is this kind of literature something that cyclical or has it appeared more after the 60s? Is the more watered-down loosey-goosey thinking been here all along or is this something that's happening more nowadays? Eddie just read a book on cults and mentioned to me that there were more of them around 100 years ago. That's not something I would have thought. I'd have thought that we had more today. Bo
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (87 of 90), Read 21 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: S. Bohinka (bohinka@riconnect.com) Date: Monday, February 26, 2001 09:00 PM Candy, >>I made a blunder when I first came to CR and I have regretted it since. I said I hated a book, and I said I wasn't a feminist. It takes awhile for people to learn how to 'read' each other online. And it's still a medium that makes for quick and dramatic reactions. Stuff that would never happen if you could read somebody's body language. I haven't debated feminism with anyone in a long time. I haven't rethought my argument in a long time but the old one :) used to go something like this. Feminism by definition is 'women being equal to men' which is something that I object to. I'm more comfortable with the 'androgynous paradigm' espoused by Gale Graham Yates in her book What Women Want which says by contrast that men and women are 'equal to each other'. To me that's a huge philosophical difference. >>maybe under poetry?)that all stories work off each other or are one... I really don't know Campbell's work/philosophy. Does he believe that there is really just one mythic story? Ruth, >>I'd hope to write it so that the reader wouldn't find right answers, but the right questions. I've been thinking more about this since you posted it. I think that questions are an important part of personal growth and influential reading. A book that comes to mind from my earlier years was called Living the Questions. I'm not sure the book itself would provide much direction for me today but the title has stuck with me as a powerful thought. Last week I was reading a so-so book about work. I read a sentence which was thought-provoking and turned it into a question which I asked myself. It did help me evaluate my present work situation. It would have been a better book if the author had actually posed the question. :) But I still got something out of it. >>Philosophical dialogue between characters usually puts my back up because I feel like I'm being preached at, and whatever is being said usually ends up sounding simplistic. This explains why you had such a strong negative reaction to this book. I guess I sorta resigned myself to it when I saw that "that's all there was". I guess I find it even more repulsive when there's a really good story going and the author throws in a little lecture. Ruins the story. >>A deep rich novel, beautifully written, gives us an experience and an understanding that is far richer than can ever be expressed by the author's lecturing at us through the mouths of his characters. Writing 101: Show don't tell. Robt, >>THE ALCHEMIST was written by a Platitudipus. Good word. >> The structure of this fable is insufficiently metaphorical. I knew that but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. It wasn't even a very good outline, was it? >> It has some charming images but ultimately fails to deliver. I am left feeling ripped off especially since I bought the hard cover edition. Hopefully seeing the long thread didn't deceive you into thinking there was something there. >> It mixes insight with nonsense to the point where the value is eclipsed. Another good insight. I did feel that there were a few little gems tucked in there but you REALLY had to look hard. I think the mix is bizarre and probably what made me feel like it was such loosely thought out philosophy. Bo
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (88 of 90), Read 18 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Pres Lancaster (plancast@neteze.com) Date: Monday, February 26, 2001 09:18 PM That is, I assume, the Duck Billed Platitudipus ? FRUMIOUS BANDERSNATCH, FRIEND OF OGDRED WEARY
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (89 of 90), Read 13 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Jane Niemeier (jniemeie@hotmail.com) Date: Monday, February 26, 2001 09:18 PM Hi all, I just skimmed all of your notes because I have been off the board for two weeks. I have to say that I did not like THE ALCHEMIST at all. It reminded me of my least favorite book which is the CELESTINE PROPHECY. I thought at first that the book was going to be like CANDIDE, but THE ALCHEMIST is just too obvious. A person doesn't have to think at all after having read it, and it doesn't have the wonderful satire of CANDIDE. I probably voted for this one, but I can't remember since it was so long ago. Jane
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (90 of 90), Read 18 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Tuesday, February 27, 2001 02:48 PM Kay and Ian, I see what you mean about being lectured to. I actually like lectures, but thats a whole other story...I've had some great luck with lectures from amazing profs to my grandmother and John Irving or Burroughs about writing and Camille Paglia about pop culture, for example. I like resigning myself and relaxing and listening to someones elses ideas. It relieves me from the tyranny of my own ideas. And in that surrender is a form of learning...but I think I am a person who really needs to learn and try to think about other perspectives...and I am not the sharpest tool in the shed so any thing helps!!!heh heh. BUT I DO see what you mean, in comedy and movies scripts and writing Bo is right there is a rule, show don't tell. I think the thing for me is I don't WANT to think while I read a novel...the delightful function of being a listener is that you kick back and listen/read and meanwhile in our design we ARE learnign while we are being entertained or scared or enchanted all the things that great sories give to us. and then we go! Oh I see. I've said this before here so soryy for repeating, but tis a quote I love by Cezanne "great art reminds of something we already know, but forgot we know" I do believe that every story is a "self-help" book. But the truly fabulous ones entertain us and distract us and almost drug us so we are OPEN to the lesson when it hits us. I mean, I believe and just now reading it, am always amazed at all the lessons in David Copperfeild, one of the greatest self help books(I would agree with you on Mandelas book too, I read that last week Ian and Angelas Ashes, HELLO< these were problems people!) for exaple David Cs aunt says...and this is AFTEr we utterly love her for helping and LISTENING and believeing in him...she finds a school for him and says"Never be mean in anything, never be false, and never be cruel. Avoid these three vices, Trot and I can always be hopeful of you" I mean, simple yes, and what more do we need...but we have seen Copperfeild go through heck and back, and need support so badly and a wise person, at last we can respect this woman who at first we didn't...this is a kind of deliverance in art!
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (91 of 92), Read 20 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Dottie Randall (randallj@ix.netcom.com) Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2001 12:00 PM I am back and too tired to look at The Alchemist as yet but have begun reading another book which I am wondering about. More on this later. Meanwhile in spite of the tired frame of body/mind -- I pulled out The Poisonwood Bible to check out the names of the mother and the daughters -- I have begun The Red Tent and as I read the names of the wives in there felt they were tied to TPB -- and they are -- the twins were Leah and Adah -- Adah was Leah's mother in the Biblical based The Red Tent, the eldest daughter was Rachel -- also a daughter of the Biblical Adah and sister to Leah, and then Ruth comes into the picture -- but Ruth is certainly Biblical in its own right, and finally the mother Orleanna whose name I had found the source or at least a connection for and have now lost it. If we are thinking "jolt" books then I would have to list TPB because it hit me so hard that I returne the borrowed book and then ran out and bought my own so I could read it again immediately. But I'm not sure that kind of "jolt" is the same thing as these spiritual, self-help, guidance types of books. Dottie "Illusions mistaken for truth are the pavement under our feet. They are what we call civilization." Adah Price in her closing chapter in The Poisonwood Bible -- Barbara Kingsolver
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (92 of 92), Read 4 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: S. Bohinka (bohinka@riconnect.com) Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2001 07:19 PM Dottie, >>But I'm not sure that kind of "jolt" is the same thing as these spiritual, self-help, guidance types of books. What kind of 'jolt' did you get from reading The Poisonwood Bible? Did it change the way you think about something? Or feel about something? Or view the world? Or was it just a really good book? I ask because I've gone out and bought books like you have after reading someone else's copy because I just enjoyed it so much. Not necessarily because the book was important to me in my life somehow. I honestly don't think it matters what type of book it is as much as what the experience does for us on a personal level. And I don't think it has to happen in a proscribed way. If it's valuable to you in your life, that's what matters! One of the difficult things about the spiritual, self-help, guidance books is that they don't have the flexibility that other books have. It's tough to read one 'just for the fun of it' without having any expectations of 'life change' which is a pretty tall order! Bo
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (93 of 98), Read 16 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Thursday, March 01, 2001 11:30 AM My experience with the self-help/guidance/spiritual books is similar to Anne's. There was a time in my life when I turned to them. It was a time of crisis and I needed help in figuring out who I was and what I was doing with my life. What I found in those books was mostly that for me the answers are not to be found in books which purport to give answers. Books are written for a lot of people to read. Therefore their 'answers' must needs be broad, overall statements which seldom fit one's specific situation. They are abstract. They have to be. What each of us needs, however, is a book specifically written for us alone. And the only person that can write that book is us alone. And that process is called living. That's why the books that have affected my life are not of the self-help, etc. stripe, but books through which I have been able to enter an experience that I might not have had otherwise. Ruth ďThere ainít no answer. There ainít going to be any answer. There never has been an answer. Thatís the answer.Ē Gertrude Stein
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (94 of 98), Read 13 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Dottie Randall (randallj@ix.netcom.com) Date: Thursday, March 01, 2001 12:01 PM On 3/1/01 11:30:56 AM, R Bavetta wrote: >What I found in those books >was mostly that for me the >answers are not to be found in >books which purport to give >answers. Books are written for >a lot of people to read. >Therefore their 'answers' must >needs be broad, overall >statements which seldom fit >one's specific situation. They >are abstract. They have to be. Ruth -- this is at the core of my own differences with you over the abstracts in literature or writing generally -- because I think the answers ARE in there -- they are embedded in those generalities and abstracts and they will be known by the reader -- in other words one reader will get one answer and another reader will get another, different answer. >What each of us needs, >however, is a book >specifically written for us >alone. And the only person >that can write that book is us >alone. And that process is >called living. Each person living his own life is true and each reader thus approaches any reading with unique viewpoints and thus will interpret what he reads in a unique way -- hence the derivation of different answers for each reader from the same material. > >That's why the books that have >affected my life are not of >the self-help, etc. stripe, >but books through which I have >been able to enter an >experience that I might not >have had otherwise. Perhaps you are simply more inclined to approach your search for answers in writing of a particular type rather than through those labeled self-help? Nothing wrong with that but it still doesn't indicate that abstracts or generalities cannot offer answers to readers who arrive at the particular book from another path IMO. > >ďThere ainít no answer. There >ainít going to be any answer. >There never has been an >answer. Thatís the answer.Ē >Gertrude Stein > Yes, Ruth, and yes, Gertrude, -- but without the questions would any of us ever truly grow? I am inclined to think it is good to ask questions and I think I was born asking them {G}. Dottie ID is an oxymoron!
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (95 of 98), Read 12 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Thursday, March 01, 2001 12:11 PM We're just going to have to disagree, then Dottie. That's okay. I've got plenty of other things on which I agree with you. And one of those things that I do agree with you on is the matter of questions. The day we stop asking questions is the day we die, whether we're actually dead or not. My Gertie quote doesn't say there are no questions, only that we're not going to find a definitive ANSWER TO IT ALL. So we'd best muddle along, asking questions, deriving our own partial, imperfect answers and doing the best we can. Ruth ďThere ainít no answer. There ainít going to be any answer. There never has been an answer. Thatís the answer.Ē Gertrude Stein
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (96 of 98), Read 12 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Dottie Randall (randallj@ix.netcom.com) Date: Thursday, March 01, 2001 12:11 PM Bo -- hmmm -- I had a deep and immediate connection with this book for many reasons -- not least of which is having heard tales concerning a relative who in his younger days was a "minister" (I have NO idea of his ordination or whether he was the mail-order snake-oil type of minister but it would seem the most likely type) and having some experiences with ministers properly ordained ones and otherwise myself and my own views on missionary and colonial movements and good and not so good proselytizing or evangelicalism and with the family dynamics represented in Rev. Price's family -- it just HIT -- and I was pulled into the underlying story of TPB by all these small ties to the bones of the book. Making any sense? ANYway -- I just think that is different from getting a real life-changing charge from a book -- yes, it gave me new thoughts on these things but it didn't really change my thinking on them so much as reaffirmed some of my own ideas. That's all I meant, Bo. Dottie ID is an oxymoron!
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (97 of 98), Read 10 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Dottie Randall (randallj@ix.netcom.com) Date: Thursday, March 01, 2001 12:22 PM Ruth -- I know the quote was not saying don't ask questions and I recall your saying that if we don't question we may as well be dead -- I was just trying to point out that answers can be sought AND found in different places by different people with the same positive result in each of their lives. AND I want to point out that I'm not at all sure I would have found any answers to questions I may still be asking in The Alchemist had I chanced to seek it out and read it on my own anymore than I feel it holds answers for those questions having read it here and now -- I am befuddled by the book generally and agree with the feeling of being cheated on the alchemy reference -- i don't think it was pursued as well as it might have been -- like you and Kay. I still haven't gone through this again but will now that I gulped down the rest of The Red Tent today. I know that part of my posts here/now on the Coelho book have been spurred by a recent encounter with one of those ministers who are love/hate personalities but that's ANOTHER story {G}. Dottie ID is an oxymoron!
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (98 of 98), Read 8 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Dottie Randall (randallj@ix.netcom.com) Date: Thursday, March 01, 2001 12:28 PM Oh and the reason I said yes to both you and Gert was that I am in absolute agreement on the whole with this. Although many, who because they have faith, would say they have an answer -- I know only too well that having faith will not necessarily give a person the answers -- harken to that Job discussion once more. Dottie ID is an oxymoron!
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (99 of 100), Read 9 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: S. Bohinka (bohinka@riconnect.com) Date: Thursday, March 01, 2001 06:06 PM Dottie, >>it just HIT -- and I was pulled into the underlying story of TPB by all these small ties to the bones of the book. Making any sense? Yes. >> ANYway -- I just think that is different from getting a real life-changing charge from a book Exactly what I've been trying to explain. I think both are *significant* and not always easy to explain to another person. :) >> -- yes, it gave me new thoughts on these things but it didn't really change my thinking on them so much as reaffirmed some of my own ideas. When an author expresses something that 'rings true' to us, I think that's part of what makes a great reading experience--if it's a new thing or not. Bo
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (100 of 100), Read 9 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Dottie Randall (randallj@ix.netcom.com) Date: Thursday, March 01, 2001 06:13 PM I have to confess -- I am REreading this one right now and taking notes -- I think I am THINKING about it more as a result and seeing things that while I recognized them as I read still didn't coalesce before. Of course they may not this time either -- we zullen zien! Dottie ID is an oxymoron!
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (101 of 105), Read 23 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Dottie Randall (randallj@ix.netcom.com) Date: Friday, March 02, 2001 12:14 PM First -- I wanted to say that I put it together that we are reading a book by a Brazilian born author living in England or somewhere and the story is about an Andalusian shepherd boy who was initially headed for the priesthood. and from the blurbs on Coelho's other books which are in the back of my edition - I would say they are all along these same lines of thought. I'm not going there and can safely bet most of you won't be either [G} --- STILL -- I was speaking of whether the thoughts would coalesce and -- yes, they did somewhat. I reread the entire thread as well as the entire book and while I feel there is little new to say on some aspects -- I do have a few comments that are scampering around my brain -- so here goes. I found some rather disguised references concerning following/leading -- some voiced rather directly by the boy in regards to his relationship with his sheep and his flock's dependence upon him or independence from him -- those ideas had fallen by the wayside first time through. These were tied to the relationship of child to family and family to child. Timeless topics all. Lots of references to sharing one tenth of the treasure and riches -- references to tithing perhaps? Many book references -- some good and others ho-hum but the description of the book he had chosen which was voiced by the King he met -- the evaluation of it as "... irritating" -- "...says the same thing almost all others say" "... the inability to choose one's own destiny..." and ends saying"...everyone believes the world's greatest lie..." -- the lie being that at some point in our lives we lose control -- become controlled by fate. For me, this tied into the references made by Nancy and others perhaps to the lost idealism of youth -- it was even addressed later in The Alchemist by the alchemist character. Another thing that struck me was the boy's comments on making new friends as he traveled and the reflection that old friends who become part of one's life want to change one and think they know how others should live rather than tending to their own lives -- that old friends tend to become meddlesome when they know one well enough. This bothered me but rung true -- this does happen at times. But the best of those old friends are not going to do this and some of us here have discussed such friendships before. While the Christian bias shows clearly I didn't feel references to other religions/philosophies were in the overall negated -- much was made of the oneness of the whole in fact. Much is included based on the safe and known vs. the unknown and perhaps dangerous. Omens and fortune-telling, luck/coincidence and balance, dreams sought and deferred, fear of failure and success breeds ill-content -- he throws it all into the stew, doesn't he? sort of like life IF one isn't living hidden in the corner with a bag over one's head. The encounter in the bar where he is bilked of his money by the hired guide -- that whole incident made me mutter sufficient unto the day and think of our Job discussion yet again while the term 'maktub' or so it is written reminded me of Billy's 'And so it goes.' in Slaughterhouse Five and yet I had not made the connection of Billy's litany with the So it is written of the Bible and had not previously heard/known 'maktub' -- do we see connectedness yet -- universals and generalities? The ripple effect of decisions made -- the unexpected turns taken once a decision is made -- the unknowns -- I started thinking of Six Degrees of Separation and Mindwalk and Dale's Dancing Wu Li Masters and a book I read years ago titled The Great Controversy -- a dialogue between Michael and Lucifer with other voices thrown into some chapters through out the book. THAT was an EPIPHANY book from long ago, Bo, which I just this moment recalled! NOT influential but yes influenced life-changes -- too long ago to give details which are intelligible -- you may have to just trust this vague statement. I LOVED the boy's reaction to the books as they rode along in the caravan -- if the alchemy key is written on an emerald -- then why all these books and codes and charts and so on? THAT connected for me to the Biblical admonition not to add to or subtract from the WORD as given therein which is the word of God. The Alchemist -- Jonathan Livingston Seagull -- Acres of Diamonds -- and on and on -- are all added -- all books are added but then what would I do if I didn't read books -- live life? We have talked here about life vs books before in passing and in earnest. The Englishman belittles the boy's steering for the simplification of everything encountered -- and yet -- looking at some of my own reading -- and things I hear discussed -- what about science today -- all the tao of physics and the particle theories and the big bang theory and the connections which appear (think the film Contact for example) -- there is SO much science where they are going further and further out there and then just when it seems there must be that connection of science to religion (which is not necessarily non-science) they back off. THIS is where I got caught back into this book -- while at home I had watched an afternoon of a minister who is a real wild hare for most who ever see and hear him -- and his message that afternoon was this idea of leaving God out of the theory by science. God left all these footprints and fingerprints all over the map and yet there can't be any room for God in science -- the minister scoffs. It was a fascinating message -- he DOES get going on things which get one thinking sometimes -- but so rarely that I don't wonder most folks can't watch him regularly. STILL I did enjoy seeing him on a really good tear once more! The one thing in The Alchemist which I found most appealing was the listening to one's heart -- one's heart, one's chosen god, the "still small voice" -- whatever you want to say -- I think this idea bears more attention for good in our world past and present and future. Another observation of the boy on the alchemy info -- all this obfuscation of the simple Emerald text took place when books were not readily mass produced and widely available -- i agree with him that it is odd. Meanwhile the Englishman felt the boy had missed so much -- all of that boiled down to the "trappings" vs the essentials in life -- at least for me. And the alchemist's take on it is that why do these ideas have to be passed word of mouth as they aren't really secret -- God has revealed all of it easily to all his creatures -- see that science above and the God's footprints thing with the minister above. There are all these discoveries and progressions and YET -- what? Truth is pure and lasting -- can be rediscovered -- if what is found or thought is a flash of light only then it will not be there (be true when one returns to it -- this is voiced by the alchemist late in the book. I liked that. And the references to known things -- like the world in a grain of sand business. The final element is love -- no? And love is the defining element -- no? Maybe the only problem Coelho had was cramming too much into this book and not fleshing out the people through the varying religious and philosophical ideas rather than keeping it all separated. One other part which i liked was this: "Everything that happens once can never happen again. But everything that happens twice will surely happen a third time." that somehow appeals to my mind and heart. Apart from a change of thinking on the book -- not turned to overwhelming praise -- just seeing more than I had -- making some connections due to recent experiences -- what I enjoyed most was the books mentioned and the ideas on defining influence and epiphany types of books. But now I will wind up -- they all sigh heavily -- at least if they are still reading! {G} Dottie ID is an oxymoron!
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (102 of 105), Read 23 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Dottie Randall (randallj@ix.netcom.com) Date: Friday, March 02, 2001 01:56 PM To clarify the vague reference I made up there somewhere I started to read the book The Four Agreements -- A Toltec Wisdom Book -- Don Miguel Ruiz -- I picked this up in the summer or over the holidays and left it in CA because my initial attempt turned me sour before I got started -- it may still go sour -- but in re-examining it I thought of The Alchemist and the discussion here and so it came to Belgium and I am reading it now. The four are -- without the paragraph of definition for each one -- as follows: - be impeccable with your word - don't take anything personally - don't make assumptions - always do your best Does anyone other than me see these barebones agreements as tied into the topics addressed in this thread relative to The Alchemist? Dottie ID is an oxymoron!
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (103 of 105), Read 25 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Karen Slongwhite (kmbookworm@hotmail.com) Date: Friday, March 02, 2001 04:44 PM Wow Dottie! There's a lot in that post. I still haven't finished reading it, even though it's short. I've been nuts this week. I wanted to comment on the tithing mention at the beginning of your post. I believe the king's name is given as Melchizadek. This is the name of a king in the Bible. Abraham is directed by God to pay tithe to Melchizadek and Melchizadek acts as high priest for Abraham. I believe this is the first reference to tithing in the Bible. Also interesting that Abraham was a shepherd in the desert. Karen
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (104 of 105), Read 20 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Dottie Randall (randallj@ix.netcom.com) Date: Saturday, March 03, 2001 03:54 AM Karen -- I had forgotten that I read that about the tithing to Melchizadek by Abraham. Interesting that it is the first mention of tithing. I hope you will comment once you finish reading on the resolution of the tithing by the shepherd boy -- I am not entirely satisfied with it. I probably need to go back and tighten up that post but may let it stand -- perhaps Coelho just had too much influence or perhaps I just suddenly had too many outside things which had leaped into the fray -- it's a bit wandering! Dottie ID is an oxymoron!
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (105 of 105), Read 4 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: S. Bohinka (bohinka@riconnect.com) Date: Sunday, March 04, 2001 12:10 AM Dottie, You really said a mouthful! I didn't want to comment on every part because I'd just be repeating myself. >>The final element is love -- no? And love is the defining element -- no? Do you mean love in general or the boy's love for the woman he met? I felt that even though he said that he loved her and that it was all important that it was written in such a blah way that I didn't believe it for a minute. >> Maybe the only problem Coelho had was cramming too much into this book and not fleshing out the people through the varying religious and philosophical ideas rather than keeping it all separated. There were some seeds there as you've pointed out. It did seem like he threw all the stuff together into a big stew and instead of having something savory and delicious it kinda turned to mud. >>>One other part which i liked was this: "Everything that happens once can never happen again. But everything that happens twice will surely happen a third time." that somehow appeals to my mind and heart. And it makes absolutely no logical sense! That bugged me. How can something that happens twice have not happened once and thereby not make this whole thing absurd? >>what I enjoyed most was the books mentioned and the ideas on defining influence and epiphany types of books This is a good topic for us all to talk about from time to time, I think. I know that it's constantly changing for me. And it's actually been awhile since I really sat down and seriously thought about what recent books I've read (last 5 years) influenced me in some way. >>- be impeccable with your word - don't take anything personally - don't make assumptions - always do your best >>Does anyone other than me see these barebones agreements as tied into the topics addressed in this thread relative to The Alchemist? In a general way perhaps because in the Alchemist all kinds of little aphorisms like these were thrown in all the time. These could be there as well. Bo
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (106 of 110), Read 28 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Dottie Randall (randallj@ix.netcom.com) Date: Sunday, March 04, 2001 05:55 AM Bo -- the question on love as the final element and the essential element -- was aimed at the love of human or human in their god not at the love of the shepherd for the woman Fatima. I am just not sure what I think of that duo and how it was included and written within this book. For the most part I just let that slide along and ignored it. I think that is why that bit about things which happen once etc. grabbed me -- because it IS illogical but it only adds to the intrigue of the message. I would have to go back to context to make any further evaluation of it. I still think I like it. About The Four Agreements -- there may be some good ideas buried in there somewhere but the same good ideas are more readily available elsewhere with much less frustration -- I really chewed this book up as I was reading it and spit it out. I think The Alchemist is better, does that say it all? And it isn't that it leaned to Christianity as opposed to TFA which is based on Toltec legend/teaching of which I admit to great ignorance. The trouble is that I feel I learned next to nothing of Toltec teachings even while he was spelling out how a person can perfect themselves in these four agreements based in Toltec teaching. Too vague -- shallow in places -- I am not sure what the problem is but I just know there is more meat to Toltec history and so on than what I was offered in this little volume. At least I hope so. Dottie ID is an oxymoron!
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (107 of 110), Read 28 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) Date: Sunday, March 04, 2001 07:26 AM Bo, I agree with you about the things happening once and twice bit. Say, huh? Totally illogical. Sherry
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (108 of 110), Read 28 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Brenda Bane (banewordhord@hotmail.com) Date: Sunday, March 04, 2001 12:34 PM All, I wondered if this was originally written in a different language? Sometimes sweet nothings sound so much bigger in Spanish, no? I think John Gardner has much to say on approaches here and preferences in reading material. I shall practice with my new scanner. "A literary work need not be allegorical to be a demonstration rather than an exploration. Any narrative that moves from scene to scene and episode to episode not according to the exigencies of cause and effect but according to some abstract scheme is likely to be a demonstration. The picaresque novel. which conventionally follows some hero from one social setting to another and another, demonstrating the folly of each social context, is essentially as abstract and instructional as Pilgrim's Progress. Or a novel in the shape of a fictional biography may proceed according to the requirements of some abstract design. In David Copperfield, for instance, episodes seem to progress randomly, like real life, until one notices the controlling concern with love and marriage. Dickens chooses events, in other words, for their relevance to an abstract central question. At Dickens' point in the development of the novel, it is hard to tell whether we are dealing mainly with exploration or mainly with demonstration. (obviously both are involved.) In some Dickens novels, such as A Tale Of Two Cities, we sense pretty strongly the preacherly method, demonstration as opposed to exploration; in others, especially late novels like Great Expectations, we may feel the two impulses warring in the writer's mind. Cataloguing narratives as one thing or another would serve no useful purpose at the moment. What counts here is the general observation that fiction has for centuries existed on a continuum running between authoritarian and existential. Certain books like the Iliad, served their original audience as, in effect, trustworthy history, lawbook, even bible; others, like Apollonios Rhodios' Argonautica, show only comic or ironic resect for the traditions and accepted patterns of their culture and seem to offer no answers, only difficult questions." and on preference of one approach over another;authoritarian versus existential, Gardner continues: "This may be no more than a personal quirk of those readers and critics affected; but the quirk does have some root in reality: Metaphysics and unjustified notions of human certainty had more than a little to do with the holocaust and American firebombings, not to mention atomic bombings, napalm, and the rest. It is perhaps largely for this reason that we have seen since World War II, all over the world, a rise of non-profluent fiction(actions leading nowhere, as in the plays of Samuel Beckett) and unended fiction(as in John Fowle's The French Lieutenant's Woman). Brenda "There is no frigate like a book to take us to lands away." Emily Dickinson
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (109 of 110), Read 28 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Sunday, March 04, 2001 12:58 PM A slight digression, Brenda, but I love your quote. And we have a children's bookstore here in town called The Frugal Frigate. As you were. Ruth ďTimes are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book." -Marcus Tullius Cicero
Topic: Re: The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (110 of 110), Read 19 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Dottie Randall (randallj@ix.netcom.com) Date: Sunday, March 04, 2001 02:21 PM Maybe I'm just completely weird, Sherry -- as illogical as it is -- it still grabbed me! Maybe it's sort of illogical in the same sense as the flight of bumblebees or something? Perhaps it just appealed to me simply BECAUSE it was not logical -- I have a reputation for not being logical BTW! Brenda -- I also wondered about in what language this was first published -- but I was thinking Portuguese rather than Spanish. My main question was why is he telling a story of an Andalusian shepherd boy when he may have been writing in Portuguese for a Brazilian audience but then I thought someone here said he had lived elsewhere early -- am I dreaming? Interesting commentary by Gardner -- where are these particular texts taken from? ID is an oxymoron!

 

 
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