Paulo Coelho is a Portuguese writer and lyricist who was born on August, 24 1947 in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil . He is unquestionably part of the most successful authors of his time having sold more than 200 million copies of his books in at least 150 countries worldwide. His first book, Hell Archives was published when he was 35 years of age; it didn’t receive much acclaim. In 1987, he published The Pilgrimage which detailed about his spiritual awakening in Spain. However it was his book, The Alchemist, that ultimately made him famous internationally. He has received much honor from his books and was acclaimed by the Guinness world Book of records for the most translated book by a living author.
Coelho was raised by devout catholic parents and at the age of 17, with the rebellious nature and determination akin to any adolescent, he expressed his ambition of becoming a writer. His parents felt that a writer was nowhere near what was deemed a right occupation in Brazil at the time. His mother was particularly concerned because of the fact that Paulo Coelho’s father happened to be an engineer. This steadfast and unwavering ambition was what essentially made his parents to commit him into a mental institution, and not once but thrice (Coelho managed to escape twice). Paulo Coelho has always maintained that his parents had the very best interests of him at heart and that he absolved them of the stance they took on him. He was released from the mental institution at 20 years.
Coelho later on enrolled into law school, a decision influenced by his parents, but later dropped out. His life from then on pretty much reflected the 1970’s hippie nature where he indulged himself into drugs, rock n roll and sex. He also took up an interest in traveling around the world. In that period he engaged himself in other professions other than writing, a calling he would later on come to heed in his later years.
From his first book, The Pilgrimage, Paulo Coelho indicates a sort of spiritual awakening inside of him that took place when he walked in a catholic pilgrimage for more than 500 miles along the road to Santiago de Compostela in 1986. The walk ignited within him a spiritual awakening that served to inspire him to take up writing again in his life.
Books: The Alchemist (1988)
Paulo Coelho’s best selling novel to this date, and a modern classic among the must reads of the century was written over a two week spurt of creativity. Coelho has always detailed that the book was already written in his soul hence the swift pace with which he penned down the whole novel.
The book is about an Andalusian shepherd boy who finds treasure beyond his wildest of imaginations by going into a mystical quest that leads him through the desert and with various encounters including an alchemist. The boy initially gets a recurring dream where a child indicates to him to seek treasure at the bottom of the Egyptian pyramids. It is this that makes him meet with strange mystical characters, namely; a gypsy woman, a mysterious old man named Melchizedek and the alchemist, who urge him on in fulfilling his destiny.
The story has a twist in its ending where the treasure that was detailed in his dreams to be found at the bottom of the Egyptian pyramids ends up to be at the sycamore tree from where the boy used to take cover when tending to his sheep. This is all encompassed in what the book terms as ‘The Language of the World’ and the boy’s initial quest to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure within himself. It also emphasizes on a person living in the present as opposed to the future or past. In doing so we are able to find ourselves and achieve inner peace in the process as well.
The Alchemist became a worldwide phenomenon and was translated into different languages across the world as well. As a result of the huge success in The Alchemist, Coelho took to publishing two books at the rate of two years; a strategy that has since served him well as all his books after the Alchemist have sold more than 65 million copies and have been translated across 59 different languages.
Veronika Decides to Die (1998)
This book is about a young woman named Veronika. The protagonist is illustrated as a woman who has everything in her life, boyfriends, pretty looks, a caring and loving family and a steady job. All that any woman of her age would wish for. This would imply at the very least that she should be a woman who is happy with the type of life that she is living. However, this is not the case. Veronika happens not to be happy with her life and as a result takes an overdose of sleeping pills one morning. She wakes up at a mental institution where she is told that her heart is irreparable and that she only has a few days left alive.
What follows next is an intense follow up on the days that protagonist has in the world and the way she shifts to a completely different perspective on life and the world. As it is with most, Coelho’s works, the story is uplifting and reminds the reader that every moment is a special and precious moment in our lives.
Inspiration in the books
Paulo Coelho’s readers and fans world over mention his books uplifting with essential life changing stories that keep them thinking deeply about their lives and passions way after they are done with the book.
He also serves his readers with timeless phrases that are both well crafted and easily capture the soul and mind of the reader. These lines are well put out in all his books and usually have the central idea well articulated in a manner only Paulo Coelho knows how best to do it.
Notably some of Paulo Coelho’s books have been made into movies such as Veronika Decides to Die(1998) and Eleven Minutes(2003)
Books in order of publication by series:
And On The Seventh Day Books
|By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept||(1996)|
|Veronika Decides to Die||(1999)|
|The Devil and Miss Prym||(2000)|
|The Fifth Mountain||(1995)|
|The Witch of Portobello||(2007)|
|The Winner Stands Alone||(2009)|
|Manuscript Found in Accra||(2013)|
|Discover Your Destiny||(2017)|
|The Way of the Bow||(2012)|
Short Story Collections
|Like the Flowing River||(2005)|
|Stories for Parents, Children and Grandchildren: Volume 1||(2008)|
|Inspirations: Selections from Classic Literature||(2010)|
|The Alchemist: A Graphic Novel||(2010)|
|The Diary of a Magus||(1992)|
|Warrior of the Light||(2003)|
|Life: Selected Quotations||(2007)|
|The Book of Manuals||(2013)|
|The Supreme Gift||(2014)|
|Love: Selected Quotations||(2015)|
|Warrior of the Light, Volume 3||(2016)|