99ThingsToDoBeforeIDie Book 2/99

I Read A Book

So here goes… …book number two!

Well, Not Quite!

So I’ve read more than two books in my entire lifetime, however I figured there has to be a point zero, a point of beginning and with this being a blog of books I’ve read and need to share, it starts at a point of recently inspiring texts. What it does not by any means include is the extended lists of Where’s Wally, Goosebumps and a variety of text books over the ages.

As you can tell from the books above, an avid reader I was not. Alas, if you had known me for as long others have, you would know that reading is not something that massively comes naturally to me either. Movies, without fail, I could most likely recite the name and plot within 3 seconds of viewing, books have somewhat eluded me.

So, my first post was accredited to Bronnie Ware for her wisdom shared within The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying and my second is accredited to a book I read a short while ago which was received as a Christmas gift, and dually responsible for the blog itself. Had it not been for these two books, I potentially wouldn’t have considered the concept of dually having a dream rather than regrets and also the capacity to pursue that dream.

Large christmas tree with wrapped presents at the base of the tree

Don't You Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday?

I think the song goes, “It’s the most wonderful time, of the year”. Fully of fun, laughter and gift giving and general cheer and joy, for most at least. I have always had the idiom and mantra at times of gift giving that I have recited more times than I can recall over the ages and that is that ideally, “All Gifts Should Be Non-Perishable”. This book too was a gift, received on the 25th December 2016 (Christmas 2016), yet remained unread for some time. Having picked it up many times during 2016, but hadn’t really fully given it a chance until early 2018. I think I read it more based on a promise I once made to read the book and understand its content and absorb meaning as it was a book that I was advised was on par with my own thinking and ethos. I hadn’t quite understood what this meant at the time of unwrapping the gift, but if I haven’t bored you senseless and lost you already, then hopefully you will come to understand.

Paulo Coelho – The Alchemist

PAULO COELHO: The Alchemist (A Fable about Following Your Dream)

Date Received: 25/12/2016

Date Read: January 2018

From: An Old Friend

Copies sold: Over 65 Million

Languages: Over 75 translations

Pages: 226

Reading Time: About 6-8hrs (not too long)

Preface about the book:

 “The Alchemist charts the story of Santiago, a young shepherd boy in the hills of Andalucia who believes that there is more to life than how humble home and flock. One day he finds the courage to follow his heart into distant lands, spurred on by the knowledge that he is following the right path; his own. The lessons he learns along the way are life-changing.”

The following quote was also on the inside cover of the book, not entirely sure who wrote it, but I whole heartedly agree, that “This beautiful parable not only has the power to uncover the long-buried dreams, it also inspires us to reach for them and live the life we have imagined.”

In my own words:

Having viewed quotes gallore from a single literary piece of work containing so many anecdotes and inspiring narratives in fictional experience form, it was fascinating to finally pick up a book that proved me wrong. A book that inspires pursuit of a dream or a thing unknown based on nothing more than a feeling.

This book proved me wrong in so many ways, about fictional reading as a whole seeing as reading has never been much of a passion or hobby but this book I couldn’t put down until it was complete. I also learned the art of setting small challenges, rather than reading a 1000 page text and being instantly overwhelmed and deterred by the notion of reading. The Alchemist was light, literally in weight, but also fairly lighhearted and upon reading, I realised embraced the the power of imagination and visualisation that I’d once long forgotten.

From all of the persons I’d ever spoken to before discussing a whole host and range of collection, which admittedly I’ve not read, however some I’ve seen on the cinematic adaptation, ranging from the Game of Thrones, Twilight Saga, Harry Potter series, The Lord of the Rings and even the 50 Shades of Grey series, I was always told, “don’t watch the movie, read the book”.

NOTE: I’ll Cover This Later in “Books Vs Movies”

I never quite understood why anyone would put themselves through the torture of absorbing the contents of a book when Hollywood production companies were able to capture the magic in cinematic form, often in 3D.

The Alchemist:

Santiago was a boy filled with hope, faith and wonder, from Andalucia, he help in his heart a simple idea and vision which would take him on travels distant and far, travelling beyond that which he could initially have envisaged. Along his journey he meets a host of characters, ranging from his trusted sheep whom were both his friends but also liveliehood and source of income, mystics, travellers in search of answers, some more unscrupulous characters such as pick-pockets and thieves, and many more.

It was fascinating to read about a sheep herder who not only chose to pass his time in reading, but understood the duality and value of things, such as opting for larger books as they could be used as pillows. I often found myself comparing myself to Santiago in so many ways and reading the book adiring the character for having the capacity to travel to lands a far in the name of hope, following merely a dream.

With the numerous references and quotes within, I found the book to be far more inspiring than I had ever previously considered and have many people to thank for the opportunity to read it. I now find myself strangely embroilled in melancholy, contemplating my own path in both the grand scheme of things and aspirations alike.


The next section contains some quotes directly from the book, and if you don’t’ want to ruin the fun of the read, I would suggest picking up the book and finding out the context of the quotes for yourself.

But if you so wish and have made it this far, feel free to read on…

A Few Quotes (And What They Meant To Me Personally):

 “Don’t give in to your fears. If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.”

“You will never be able to escape from your heart. So it’s better to listen to what it has to say.”

― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

The two above quotes very similar in their nature suggested to me that we are often driven by instinct and functional as our base urges suggest and act within the heat of the moment. We often have an inner voice calling to us and as much as routine and normative behaviour would kick in, we tend not to listen to our heart in that which we should either do in good faith, hope and with love.


“Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”

― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

We live life day to day, routinely, waking up, having nourishment, followed by working routines, then either social activities and/or family time. We tend to as guides have an opinion on the behaviours and lives of all those around us, but if we are unaware of what to do next, is it not best to ask another whom could have a better external view?


“The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.”

― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

This quote reminded me a little of “Chumbawamba – Tubthumping”  with the lyrics “I get knocked down, but I get up again. You are never gonna keep me down”.

I think it’s a simple fact of life that we don’t let failure or adversity get us down but we should consistently pick ourselves back up. It is the bruises, cuts and scrapes, the struggles in life, the pain that got us here that gives us the strength and conviction to be whole we are today, had it not been for such, and had we given up, our lives would have been very different. I would say this quote is one I’d love to share with others to remind them to never stop getting back up, no matter what life throws or threw at us.


“People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.”

― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

I have noticed that when applied correclty, time tends to be our greatest asset yet people tend not to consider so. Often individuals tend to go through existence ‘wishing’ and continually wishing for change, however without ever applying any real effort or advocating change within their lives. I’ve known numerous individuals whom have had professional careers which they loathed simply because they considered it unfulfilling and not on par with their aspirations and interest. Those same people had not taken any steps to apply for alternative roles and simply continued to work in the same role for years to come and becoming seemingly more miserable over time.


“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

This is massively important for me, as I’ve first hand experience of a fear of both success and failure and how it can be a hindrance in life. If you have a dream that you wish to achieve, you should make a plan and follow that plan with action otherwise it remains merely a dream. A fear of actualising a dream will inevitably keep the dream from becoming reality and thus may lead it to be a long-term regret if not pursued.


“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”

― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Many of us live lives and worlds apart from one another and aspire to do and achieve many great things, but become lost in routine and tend to not know of how to achieve that next holiday or promotion at work or get back into a hobby that we so once enjoyed. I think the moment we decide we are capable is the moment we realise our true inner strength of being able to achieve.

To fear failure means not trying and to try means to at least have strived for the dream and who would ever want to live in a world without dreams and daydreamers?


“One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.”

― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

I like the above and for those that know me well enough know that I love many a thing in life and its this love for life and the things within that have spurred me on. We need not reason for loving and emotions are such that as much as we wish there were an off-switch, things unfortunately are never so simple.

Closing Comments:

First and foremost, thank-you for reading.

I will share with you one final quote that was on the reverse cover of the edition of the copy of The Alchemist that I received as a gift

Paulo Coelho The Alchemist Rear Cover Image

I feel our destinies are always unwritten but I hear it’s what we make of opportunities that present themselves. Having met many individuals along a variety of walks of life that found what they believed to be their calling.

I feel I have gained a greater inward insight into myself and what I feel I would like to do to contribute to The Soul of The World in my own little way.

I’ve never really been massively motivated by money, but realise it is an expendable resource to achieving more. For now, I will continue to share my bucket list; which will consist of more than just reading.

I have been tasked with another read, so my next post may also involve a hint of reading, but these seem to be very good recommendations so far.


Good Reads: As much as I wished I had taken the quotes directly from the book, it would have been too hard for me to find what I considered the best without defacing the book with a highlighter, so have to thank Good Reads for having a list of quotes.

Paulo Coelho: Without The Alchemist this blog post would not have been written and I’d have not gained a great insight into how fun reading could be again.