"It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting, he thought, as he looked again at the position of the sun, and hurries his pace." (page 11)
About the Book (from Barnes and Noble): Paulo Coelho's charming fable will enchant and inspire readers for generations to come. The Alchemist is the magical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure as extravagant as any ever found. From his home in Spain he journeys to the markets of Tangiers and across the Egyptian desert to a fateful encounter with the alchemist. The story of the treasures Santiago finds along the way teaches us, as only a few stories have done, about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, learning to read the omens strewn along life's path, and, above all, following our dreams.
Alchemy: a medieval chemical science and speculative philosophy aiming to achieve the transmutation of the base of metals into gold, the discover for a universal cure for disease, and the discovery of a means of indefinitely prolonging life. (Merriam-Webster)
My ThoughtsThe Alchemist (Harper Collins, 1993) is a simple and beautiful story about fulfilling one's purpose in life and the journey that lies between a dream and reality. As the reader travels along with a young sheep herder, Santiago, in the quest to achieve his Personal Legend, we discover the importance of truly living in the present.
The Alchemist is a calming read. Written in the style of a fable, the story is largely dialogue. There is a sense of mystery in the characters and their interaction with Santiago. Each individual he encounters offers him a life lesson that works to benefit him along his course but he also must learn to be the director of his destiny and have the courage to make his own decisions. In the end, Santiago finds that his final destination led him directly back to his beginning but he had to complete the circle in order to fulfill his legend and reap the rewards of a full life.
"The wind began to blow again. It was the levanter, the wind that came from Africa. It didn't bring with is the smell of the desert, nor the threat of Moorish invasion. Instead, it brought the scent of a perfume he knew well, and the touch of a kiss- a kiss that came from far away, slowly, slowly, until it rested on his lips." (page 167)This is a book that has a strong lingering effect. Long after you have finished the last page, its contents will continue to ruminate in your thoughts and reactions. Coelho's words are a breath of fresh air in today's world where everything is expected to occur instantly and in our favor. The Alchemist reminds us that the journey is more important than the destination. Our purpose is determined by our spirit and gratitude, as well as our ability to listen and learn. The world provides us with many guides but we must practice awareness in order to see an omen as it is presented. Santiago's adventure teaches us that time is irrelevant in our pursuing of our dreams or purpose. As long as we still have life, we still have the opportunity to reach our goal.
Book Club Suggestion: Have each member reveal their Personal Legend- a dream or goal that they have yet to achieve. Next, have everyone write down three action items that they could begin in order to make a step in attaining their dream. Continue to encourage each other throughout the upcoming months and provide a support system for personal growth and development.
For more information about Coelho and his other works, visit here.