Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist”

I just finished this book today (just moments ago, actually), and the text as a whole left a huge impression on me.  Coelho uses his language in such a unique way, always lingering in one’s mind while simultaneously being forthright and fairly easy to comprehend.  Much of the credit there must also go to the translator, Alan R. Clarke, in the case of my text.

The story itself is something I would usually stray from in choosing a book to read, because I normally don’t seek out adventure plots and tales of conquering.  I would go so far as to say that I often find the stories themselves to be somewhat corny (I use this term very loosely and hopefully not offensively) and overly quotable.  That being said, this book is the exception of exceptions.

The cliche idea of “the climb” (as Miley Cyrus so aptly put it) bows its head to “The Alchemist” because this story contains a lesson that does not permit uncertainty.  Ultimately, the protagonist can, at any moment, retract his devotion to his treasure out of fear, distraction, or simply apathy.  But a more significant sub-lesson lies in the fact that the treasure will be completely and entirely lost if he decides to do so.  Today, when we talk about enjoying “the journey,” or experimenting with different things along the way to achieving our goal, we do this with an awareness that our goals will eventually be achievable no matter how many stops we make along the way.  Santiago is constantly reminded of things he might rather have than this unknown treasure, but he never allows for anything to surpass his dedication to it.  This, I think, is when a treasure becomes a “Personal Legend.”

I say that mostly because by the end of the tale, when Santiago finally reaches the pyramids, he realizes that he has achieved treasure enough at that point.  That statement would qualify as corny if it was not true beyond words.  See, those treasures he has achieved up to this point are all gifts that he has received graciously.  His Personal Legend can only be achieved actively and without hesitation.

Please post other thoughts if you’ve read the book, are interested in reading the book, have thought about reading the book, or have even seen the book anywhere ever.

 

-B.

Standard

Biblical Narrative

Image

Hey guys, let’s tackle the most significant book of all time!  (Seriously, though, we were made for it).  I am opening this post up with three things in mind:

1. The Bible has its foundation in the telling of stories from one person to another (via word-of-mouth and then, of course, that old tormentor, the Greek language).  

2. The Bible contains people whose characterization is nonfiction and ought to be viewed as such.

3. The Bible contains a plethora of literary elements, undoubtedly, but for a far greater purpose than other literature serves.  Let’s think about the literary aspects then, noting especially those stories which are relayed in the Bible from one person to another.  We know that Jesus’ parables were often viewed as allegories, but should we view them as such?

That being said, we can say a great deal about the Bible by delving into these stories from many different angles.  It is important that we maintain an understanding of the difference between fiction and nonfiction.

That also being said, I believe that literary elements are based upon those circumstances to which we are drawn in real life.  Perhaps that’s another story entirely…

Favorite Biblical figure, on three.

3, 2, 1.

Standard

Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: an Introduction

Having just finished this incredible thought experiment, I am interested to hear what others think about it.  I greatly prefer “Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters,” for reasons I can only summarize roughly.  Perhaps Buddy is too much me and Buddy’s Seymour is too much something else entirely.  I regret this stance at times.  But there is much to be said alone about the wedding or lack thereof and why this tale was chosen by Buddy in the first place (while why Buddy does anything, perhaps we cannot know).  I am longing for more but almost never expecting it because Salinger knows we are – all of us – better than that.  And rightly so.  

And may he always and forever rest in peace.

 

-B.

Standard

A Moveable Feast

Greetings young literary wanderers,

Before your nose you have the makings of a squandered legacy, a dusty corner desk, a cup of cold coffee, and a literary home.  I am calling this an English Majors’ Book Club for the sake of necessity and desperation.  This term is used only to show the severity of analytics that will take place here and to weed out the faint of heart.  That being said, faint of all other things welcome.

 

Since eerily,

B.

Standard