Paulo Coelho at one point used to be my absolute go-to author. You know, in those times when you really need someone to tell you that you can do it and Coelho ALWAYS manages to do just that. I at one point owned every book ever written by the man and couldn’t wait for the next one to come out. I must admit that my love for him has since died a little bit, as after a while, all of his books start sounding a bit the same but they certainly do serve a purpose.
So here is a list of my favourite of his books and the quotes I love in each of those.
By far his most famous book ever written, this is a story of a personal journey to find purpose. It’s not my favourite of Coelho’s books but follows a young boy on his journey to find meaning. The core purpose of the book is about achieving one’s Personal Legend (what you have always wanted to accomplish) and is based on the premise that anything you want can be achieved.
“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
A recollection of Coelho’s experiences as he made his way across Spain on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. This parable looks at the need we have within ourselves to find our own path and shows us that we can find the most extraordinary in the most simple and ordinary. It’s a beautiful tale of self discovery.
“We always know which is the best road to follow, but we follow only the road that we have become accustomed to.”
By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept
This is my favourite of his books. It is essentially a story about love but also covers other topics like the female aspect of divinity and paganism. The story follows a young woman who is frustrated by university life and sets out looking for greater meaning. I suppose the book hit a personal nerve with me and that’s probably why I was so captivated by the story.
“You have to take risks,” he said. “We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen.
“Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing which to do is the worst kind of suffering.”
“You have to take risks, he said. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen. Every day, God gives us the sun–and also one moment in which we have the ability to change everything that makes us unhappy. Every day, we try to pretend that we haven’t perceived that moment, that it doesn’t exist–that today is the same as yesterday and will be the same as tomorrow. But if people really pay attention to their everyday lives, they will discover that magic moment. It may arrive in the instant when we are doing something mundane, like putting our front-door key in the lock; it may lie hidden in the quiet that follows the lunch hour or in the thousand and one things that all seem the same to us. But that moment exists–a moment when all the power of the stars becomes a part of us and enables us to perform miracles.”
Veronika Decides to Die
This book!! A story about a young woman, Veronika, who has a perfectly decent life and decides to kill herself but fails and wakes up in a mental institution. The story explores madness and looks at madness from an interesting perspective. You are only mad, outside of madness. Once Veronika realises that in the mental institution she isn’t judged for her actions, she can for the first time truly embrace who she is.
“If one day I could get out of here, I would allow myself to be crazy. Everyone is indeed crazy, but the craziest are the ones who don’t know they’re crazy; they just keep repeating what others tell them to.”
“I want to continue being crazy; living my life the way I dream it, and not the way the other people want it to be.”
“Collective madness is called sanity ..”
This list could go on but these four books have special meaning to me. They helped me understand the world a bit better, they helped me to face dark times and come out on the other side with a better idea of my place in the world. Writing this post has made me think that I need to re-read some of these books. Hopefully you’ll be inspired to read them too.
Let me know in the comments if you’re a fan or if you’ve read any of his books or maybe that you don’t like his style of writing? Just remember to also let us know why.