The first time I heard about Paulo Coelho and his books, I was in my early twenties. Many friends and peers talked about him and how inspiring his books had been to them. I was intrigued and decided to read ‘The Alchemist’, which was on top of the best seller chart at the time in many countries.
I started reading the book but gave up after the first chapter. Somehow I just couldn’t get into it – I found it very hard to follow the plot and to understand what it was about. I know those of you who have read it will now be thinking – ‘what? but its so well-written and easy to read!’. I agree with that entirely. I read it ten years later on one sitting.
Now I understand that, in my twenties, I wasn’t ready to lose myself in one of Coelho’s books; I wasn’t ready to read about the more spiritual issues that he writes about, nor ready to reflect on my life in a more profound way. Although Coelho’s books are spiritual in nature, you can also read them as stories about other people and the purpose of their lives. They can be read as general ‘guidelines’ for life, or simply as stories to entertain oneself. However, I would say that whether you want it or not, you will reflect on your life after reading one of his books as they do tend to set off you on a journey of internal reflection…
Paulo Coelho also writes and shares short stories on his website. You can read snippets of his books on his daily blog too: http://www.paulocoelhoblog.com.
Coelho has written dozens of books over the past thirty years or so, but my personal favourite is ‘The Pilgrimage’. The book explores the issue of our need to find our own paths in this life. Throughout the book, there is emphasis on how the extraordinary can always be found in the ordinary and simple ways of everyday people. The book is part adventure story, part guide to self-discovery. It is a recollection of Coelho’s experiences as he made his way across northern Spain on his own pilgrimage.
If you are ready for some self-discovery and enticing stories, you can pick your favourite the book list below: