Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Author Spotlight: Paulo Coelho

As part of my blog, I'd like to feature authors whose work I have enjoyed over the years and share more information about them.

I've chosen Brazilian author, Paulo Coelho, for the first author spotlight because his work within and outside the world of literature truly reflects a global embodiment. He is a versatile artist as an actor, director, songwriter, journalist, and author. He is also known for his charitable work in his country. His 1988 book, The Alchemist, can be considered one of the most widely-read books having been translated into 67 languages and selling over 35 million copies. It is described as a fable about following your dreams. In it, a young man from Spain seeks out to achieve his "personal legend" - which is the ultimate quest to reach one's full potential and level of happiness. It is easy to relate to this fable as we all seek to achieve our own "personal legend" and face many trials and tribulations along the way.

Another favorite of mine from Coelho is Eleven Minutes. When I purchased this book at the bookstore, the clerk -a young man- gave me a very strange look and asked me if I was sure I wanted to buy this book. To that, he added that it was very risque. Then and there, I knew that I had to read this book. The book begins as follows, "Once upon a time, there was a prostitute called Maria." The story that follows is graphic but riveting. It is about a young, beautiful Brazilian girl who runs away to Europe in hopes of becoming famous. However, she eventually finds herself working in the red light district a long way from the fame and fortune she was seeking. And, a long way from love. Similar to The Alchemist, Eleven Minutes is about self-discovery and realizing a personal quest.

Warning: It is not for the faint of heart. But, if you're like me and have watched Pretty Woman an immeasurable amount of times, you'll have no qualms reading a book about a prostitute's search for herself and love in a harsh and unforgiving world.

You can find more information on Paulo Coelho and his body of work here.

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