Sunday, April 02, 2006

Book Review: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Celebrate National Library Week!

Part of my celebration is to offer this very brief book review.

For those who visit the blog (rather than read through an aggregator), you'll see The Alchemist move from "Currently Reading" to "Recently Read."

So, why did I suddenly pick this book up? I had heard of it, and I was browsing the New Books section in the Popular Library in the Burroughs and Saden Memorial Public Library Building (where my office is located). The staff in Pop take new literally. This particular edition was a new copy of the 10th anniversary edition of the work.

The book has a very clear message about identifying and following your own personal legend (quest/mission). It also reminded me to be open to those new and unusual events which happen in life. I highly recommend it as an inspirational read.

Now, I don't know if it was the desert setting or the North African setting, or not, but as I thought about the book's message, I was reminded of one of my personal favorites from decades ago: Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. While learning and studying French in high school, I became fascinated by Saint-Exupery. I read most of his works in both English and French. [It was back when my reading ability in French was much better than it is today.] I also read a great deal about him and his mysterious disappearance during World War II. I have on my bookshelf today, the biography by Curtis Cate. [Antoine de Saint-Exupery: His Life and Times by Curtis Cate, Putnam, 1970. It is so old that the ISBN is not printed on it, if it had one!] The cover is great, and captures the spirit of the man.

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