Paulo Coelho is one of the most popular and loved authors of present times, in the world. He was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 24th August, 1947. It was his birthday yesterday and so today I thought of writing about my favorites from his works. I have read every book he has written and they have helped me develop self belief.
Paulo Coelho's 'The Alchemist'
Like most others, I too started reading Paulo Coelho with ‘The Alchemist’. I was in college then. Paulo Coelho first wrote the story in Portuguese in 1987 and he says that it was already written in his soul. The book sold over 150 million copies and was translated in over 80 languages. This book is the best mix of fiction and self-help and has actually changed lives. ‘The Alchemist’ teaches us to follow the heart because self belief and having a personal legend is of utmost importance. It encourages us through the story of a young shepherd boy’s quest for treasure to follow our dreams with out ever giving up. Failure is inevitable and a part of the process with lessons to move forward towards the ultimate goal. It is important to delve into our selves and focus on simple things for often the extra ordinary lies amidst the simplest of things and the wise can see that. This book has sprinkling inspiration in every page. I have read it several times and I am sure most readers do that. Once I read this I moved forward to reading every other work of Paulo Coelho.
'The Pilgrimage' and its Impact
On the lines of ‘The Alchemist’ this is another book that is one of my favorites. In fact this book has paved the way for ‘The Alchemist’. ‘The Pilgrimage’ has been extremely significant in my life; firstly, because, it was a birthday gift from one of my childhood friends and secondly, I got the book in hand at a critical time of my life. On that birthday, I was in the hospital and was recovering from fatal dengue. I started believing that this life is a gift and this book helped me all the more. This book accounts for Paulo Coehlo’s pilgrimage along the road to Santiago. It is a mix of adventure and self-help and for me when I read it, every line seemed to have a message. Two most vital lines from this book which I must mention are: “Death is our constant companion, and it is death that gives each person’s life its true meaning.” and “It has been said that there is no such thing as coincidence in this world.”
'The Zahir' by Paulo Coelho
This 2005 novel is about passion, love, loss and obsession. ‘Zahir’ in Arabic means ‘the obvious’ and here the narrator’s zahir is his missing wife, even though he has multiple other relations. He goes out looking for her and in the process discovers himself. The journey is like a pilgrimage to the core of the self. Through the narrator’s journey from Paris to Kazakhstan, Paulo Coelho explores the various meanings of love and life. It is beautifully narrated helping us realize the value of freedom, commitment and bonding. My favourite line from this novel is, “Freedom is not the absence of commitments, but the ability to choose – and commit myself to – what is best for me.”
Coelho's 'Veronika Decides to Die'
A young woman, Veronika commits suicide but her plan fails and she wakes up from the coma in Villette, a mental hospital in Slovenia. There she is told that she has only a few days to live due to a severe heart condition caused by the overdose. During her stay in Villette she realizes that she has nothing to lose and can, therefore, behave as she likes. Without having to worry about what others think of her, she could do anything she wanted as at the mental hospital no one would ever criticize her. Veronika’s new-found freedom, made her experience all things she never allowed herself to experience, including hatred and love. She falls in love with life proving Villette’s head psychiatrist, Dr. Igor’s provocative experiment successful. You can “shock” someone into wanting to live by convincing her that death is imminent!
My favorite quote from this novel is, “Be crazy! But learn how to be crazy without being the center of attention. Be brave enough to live different.”
'Manuscript Found in Accra' & 'Like the Flowing River'
There are two books by Paulo Coelho whose chapters can be read separately as short stories. They are, first, Like the Flowing River (2006) & Manuscript Found in Accra (2012).
‘Like the Flowing River’, a collection of thoughts and essays by Paulo Coelho, consists of tiny pieces which are not only thought provoking but also serene. They are simple yet deep and very short reads. These are thoughts penned down by Paulo Coelho as he traveled across the globe.
In 1974, an English archaeologist discovered a Manuscript in Accra, the present capital of Ghana. Carbon dating shows that they originated in 1307. Written in Arabic, Hebrew, and Latin, the document describes a meeting in the year 1099 between the people of Jerusalem and a sage. I found similarity in the structure and style of writing of Paulo Coelho with that of Khalil Gibran’s ‘The Prophet’. Many of the allegorical stories are similar to those of ‘Bhagwat Gita’ too. This novel is a brilliant read; easy and quick, yet tremendously thought provoking.
Paulo Coelho and His Influencial Books
I have also enjoyed reading The ‘Witch of Portobello’, ‘The Winner Stands Alone’, ‘Eleven Minutes’, ‘Brida’ and the biographical novel, ‘The Spy’. His writing is so vivid and eloquent that I felt I was watching a movie. I have read every other book too and request all to read them. His books teach the importance of freedom and will make one take up a true pilgrimage of delving into the self.
There are many more novels by Paulo Coelho. To know more about his writings, blogs, books and experiences of Paulo Coelho, please click on the following links: https://paulocoelhoblog.com/ , https://paulocoelhofoundation.com/ and https://paulocoelho.https://paulocoelho.com/
Thanks to the above mentioned sites for Paulo Coelho’s pictures, the rest are all clicked by me.