We show off our books like merit badges because we are proud of the ideas we have ingested and as we should be, to display what has inspired us.

I must admit it has been a while since I have had the time to pick up a good book and simply READ! Thankfully, I’ve been hand-balled a paperback that I cannot put down.

The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho is the type of fiction that pulls you into the world of its pages from the very first. You will experience spontaneous laughter and empathetic sighs in an almost circular motion as the heart-rending story of a shepherd boy with a recurring dream about treasure awaiting him near the pyramids in Egypt will have you fighting back the tears – happy and sad.

I first read The Alchemist in 4th grade when its English translation first came out. The translation by Alan R. Clarke keeps the story moving briskly, with simple language that ensures accessibility to younger readers who may benefit most from the book’s message.

Speaking of message, The Alchemist is all about the individual pursuit of destiny and a specific purpose in life. The story successfully highlights the personal initiative essential to fulfill life’s goals, the many decision forks on the path of life, and the calculated risks required to advance. The story also links the personal with the spiritual, weaving with strong thread the unifying relationship between humans, nature, and the oneness of the world.

In true Coelho fashion, there is a clear absence of metaphors and innuendos: Coelho spells out concepts like Personal Legend; the Language of the World, and the Soul of the World in Capital Letters to emphasize that This. Is.  An.  Important. Concept. What it lacks in subtlety it makes up for with good intentions and a sharply drawn narrative. As a result The Alchemist resembles more the heavy thud of a snorting rhinoceros rather than the intriguing thoughtfulness of a softly singing nightingale. The lack of a light touch continues to a finale that befits a special-effects laden Hollywood spectacle, along with a matching joyfully happy ending just before the credits roll.

So to all you bookworms out there… please add Paulo Coelho to your bookshelves, he will bring joy to your collection and if you are yet to start one, he’ll be the perfect welcome to The Girls’ Bookworm Club!