Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Alchemist

The Museum, Libraries and Archives Council has a list of the "30 books every adult should read before they die" and this book by Paulo Coelho is on that list.
I was surprised that I liked the book as much as I did. I've found that many so-called award-winning books are often difficult to read and not that interesting. I'm not really sure who the committee members are for the organizations that chose books to recognize, but I wish they would ask the average reader to make the choices.
In this case, however, I can understand why "The Alchemist" was chosen.
Coelho's book has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide and has been translated into 56 languages. It's the story of a quest by a young man in Spain who feels he is being drawn to find his fortune amid the great pyramids in Egypt. A shepherd, he sells his flock and sets out to follow his heart.
As he travels, he meets a variety of people who have an affect on his dream -- a gypsy fortune teller, a man who sells crystals, a king and, of course, an alchemist. They each offer advice and encouragement. He also meets up with some rather unsavory characters, such as a thief and a chieftan, who make him question his decision to make this journey.
Along the way, he learns the true meaning of life and discovers that treasure is often right in front of you and where you least expect it.
A truly good book!

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