Tag Archives: Book review

The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho – Book Review

The Alchemist - Book Review

Publisher: HarperOne

Published in 1993

The Alchemist is a story about a boy named Santiago who goes out on a quest to find a treasure that keeps calling to him in his dreams, a boy to whom ‘knowing the world was more important than knowing God’, so he gives up being a priest, as his parents desired, and becomes a shepherd who travels the world. He lets his dreams, which speak the language of his soul, guide him on his journey from his home in Spain to many mystical experiences in far away lands.

He meets mysterious people who guide him on the way, like a Gypsie in Tarifa, who interprets his dream, and a mysterious old king in a North African market who tells him that ‘the soul of the universe is nourished by people’s happiness…And when you want something, the whole of the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.’ Ultimately in the deserts of Egypt he meets an Alchemist who helps him find spiritual enlightenment, and shows him that his soul and that of the world is the same, and when one follows one’s heart with persistence and without being distracted by the comforts of the world or fears of the mind, is when one finds his destiny, his treasure.

Paulo Coelho, in a very mystical way, talks about the common thread of energy running through various beings and things, like the surreal connection between Santiago and his sheep. Paulo often uses simple metaphors to describe complex human conditions and struggles, and with the same simplicity of his writing, he moves on to tell tales of how the universe gives everyone signs and omens, and how paying the The Language of the World its due heed makes all the difference in how well you know yourself and the universe, which in turn decides how happy you are. Such writing makes one stop and ponder about the reality of one’s life.

To me this book is a source of inspiration to rise beyond accustomed grounds, and follow my heart’s desire. It tells that even though our attachments tug at our heart to ‘make us forget the joys of carefree wandering’, we ought to wander and follow our heart and our dreams. For it’s the possibility of a dream coming true that makes life interesting.’

A lovely read to be inspired, or to get familiar with the mystical concept of how every element of the universe is connected, and hence every sign in the universe is decipherable if one has the clarity and belief. A must read for those who believe in or are intrigued by the driving power of love and the language of the heart.

Happy reading!

Shivani

Psmith in the City, P. G. Wodehouse – Book Review

Psmith City_Wodehouse

Author: P. G. Wodehouse

Cover illustratioin by Ionicus

Publisher: Penguin Books

Published in 1970 by Penguin Books Ltd (first published by A. & C. Black, in 1910)

Psmith in the City is a comedy about P. G. Wodehouse’s beloved character Psmith, a hilarious and witty Etonian with his love for all things debonnaire, and his friend Mike, a cricketer.

Psmith and Mike, two country boys, by the play of Fate, land up in the lumbering relay of work in a bank in the city of London. Mike’s good-intentioned but rash actions and Psmith’s light-hearted schemes jeopardize their carriers and wind them into brawls, uncomfortable social situations and office soups as per Mike or any regular person’s judgment; but Psmith takes it all with a carefree Noblesse-oblige attitude, wishing to make comrades out of them all including their bank’s reluctant manager, until they stop working for the bank. After all, Mike would rather be out playing cricket, and Psmith would rather partake in Les petits plaisirs de la vie.

P.G. Wodehouse with his witty style of writing hits the bull’s eye when it comes to giving words to one’s emotions, but of course he does it with a light-hearted flair. He shows how a be-all, end-all situation has a silver lining easily attained through equanimity and a little sense of humor. Wodehouse’s ludic writing entertains and, in a way, opens up a reader’s mind to insincerity of seemingly grave situations, and to living in the present.

To me this book was an absolute entertainment. It is not difficult to fall in love with Wodehouse’s unusual characters, especially Psmith, who through their reasons and actions reflect how life is nothing but a game of words and wits.

A must read for people looking for an amusing read.  Though the writer himself says that his style of writing novels is ‘making a sort of musical comedy without music and ignoring real life altogether,’ but I, on the contrary, think that Wodehouse not only does not ignore real life, but shows it in a different light, surpassing the gravity of trivial things, floating high to get a bigger picture.

Happy Reading!

Shivani Ahuja

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini, Book Review

And the Mountains Echoed

Author: Khaled Hosseini

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing India Pvt Ltd

Published in 2013

And the Mountain echoed is a saga about the unseen umbilical cord that ties the hearts of siblings, no matter how far they are drawn by circumstances, distances and time. It is about a ten year boy named Abdullah who is parted from his three years old sister Pari, who is sold under dire circumstances to a childless couple in the city, and how the events leading to it and the ones thereon intertwine, part and define the fates of many characters related by blood, circumstances or just helpless love. It is a mesh of many short stories narrated from the perspectives of these characters across continents, set in time before, during and after the soviet invasion in Afghanistan, and tied together as part of a higher plan, a larger quest for love and one’s identity and purpose in life.

To me, reading this book was like reading 400 pages of poetry that makes you feel things you would feel while watching a movie or experiencing something in person. Khaled Hosseini is a master of emotions; he can make you feel all warm inside with the mention of a memory of a kid trading his shoes for a feather for his beloved sister’s collection, and at the same time have you plunge in despair on the reality of the siblings being forcibly parted to places that seem much farther in one’s imagination. I found each character in his book as imperfect and vast as a human being. As his previous two novels, the main themes that this book revolves around are love, loss, memories and moral obligations that are profoundly captured by his ability to express complex and ambiguous human emotions through stark comparisons and descriptions that certainly left an echo in my mind.

I highly recommend this book to all who love to flow with the tide of a book, get caught up in its music and be in the afterthoughts of the vastness and diversity of human emotions.

Happy Reading.

P.S – Do let me know what you think about this book and also if you would like to know about any other books by the same or any other authors.