the alchemist, by paulo coelho

i finally got around to reading this book, which had been recommended to me by about a million people. ok, i might be exaggerating a little, but not by much. everyone from my grandmother to my dentist insisted that i absolutely had to read this book immediately. okey-doke. it's done.

i enjoyed it. it wouldn't be fair to say I didn't. but it wasn't life-changing. it wasn't "the book that's going to define how i live the rest of my life," as one of my friends described it. perhaps reading it only a couple of weeks after rereading "le petit prince" by antoine de saint-exupéry, wasn't the smartest decision i've ever made, as the two books are oddly similar. perhaps i would have appreciated it more had i read it in my teens, as the themes weren't exactly new to me. or perhaps I'm just not that turned on by how-to-live-your-life books.

it was well-written, well-structured, and well thought out. the book is originally in spanish, if I'm not mistaken, and the french translation, which I chose to read, was very good, not too wordy or vague. as far as I could tell, of course, because as i said, i didn't read the original version. but the language used was simple, which was a good choice, as the message of the book was fairly simple as well.

so, the bare bones of the story : a sheppard dreams a dream, and decides to do something about it. he meets some people along the way, and learns some valuable lessons about life. could I be more vague? probably, but the thing is, it's not the plot that's important here.

i wish i had had a chance to discuss this book with my grandmother. i think it's a book that probably improves upon discussion, so it might be a good choice for a book club. as it is, i feel i just finished reading "life lessons for dummies." which, don't get me wrong, can be useful. everybody can use some life lessons.

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