In a book that reminded me a lot of The Celestine Prophecy Series by James Redfield (to such an extent that I'm inspired to reread my Celestine books), The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho offers a spiritual outlook on life in a tale of adventure and following one's destiny.
The story is simply written and allows the reader to follow a young boy on his path to his destiny. The book discusses omens, listening and trusting your heart, and the language of the world. It's a grounding book that encourages you to live in the present and to follow your dreams. This book is just what I needed in my hectic and scary time of quitting my job, moving and going back to school to follow my dreams. It's been stressful and I've more than once had doubts. It seems so easy to just stay at my wonderful, beautiful house which I'm completely in love with, start a family, stay in our shitty unfulfilling jobs, and live like nearly every other family in suburbia. But I know me and I know that I would never be happy living like that even if my family life is wonderful. Right now, I couldn't ask for a better home and personal life with my husband, yet I'm miserable because for 9 hours a day I'm subjecting myself to a completely unfulfilling, meaningless job that I hate and dread going to every single day. I cannot imagine being happy while at my current job. The Alchemist is inspiring and encouraging to those who want to follow their dreams instead of live a subpar life settling for what is safe and comfortable. It reminds me to connect spiritually with the world and to trust in fate/god/the world (whatever you choose to call the higher power) that if you pursue your dreams, while you will be tested, the universe conspires for you to achieve your dreams.
I really enjoyed the book. It was simple and straight to the point. I enjoyed the story and the vision and understanding of the universe in the book. It's a quick read that rejuvenates your spirit and focuses you away from all the distractions that surround you so you can follow your own fate. I recommend this book, especially if you need a little focus, grounding and spiritual rejuvenation.
Also, a friend loaned me Pride of Baghdad, a graphic novel by Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon. It was excellent and really exams many of the issues surrounding the liberation of Iraq in a vivid manner that only a graphic novel can. I highly recommend it.
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