I recently joined a neighborhood book club, and I'll be attending my first meeting the Sunday I return home from Colorado. Somehow, miraculously, I managed to not only learn the title of the July book, but also acquire a copy and get it read through all the chaos and fun that is the Denver Publishing Institute. This was a Kindle read instead of a physical book--the first I've done a full eBook reading--and it was an experience for someone who typically reads physical, ink-on-paper books. I'm interested to see what the other ladies in the book club thought about the book, but for now, I'll post my thoughts here.
Completely outside of the book itself, I learned an interesting tidbit here at the Denver Publishing Institute: The Alchemist and The Life of Pi belong to the category of religious publishing. This...blew my mind. It falls into one of five branches of religious publishing called New Age and is typically filed under Metaphysics in bookstores. Interesting, right? (Well, I thought so...)
The book itself was a simple read in that the language was plain and the plot was straight-forward. It introduced some interesting concepts like "The Universal Language of the World" and the protagonist--referred to simply as 'the boy'--actually has a conversation with his heart as if it's a separate entity altogether. Some of it was strange, and some of it was something I had to simply take as it was. I did, however, find several lines that would make fantastic tattoos (in other words, really fantastic, long-lasting and impactful. I'll list them later if there's any interest.)
What I appreciated most about this book was the simple language and imagery used to describe very complex matters of the human condition: through concepts like "destiny" and "omens" and a general idea of inter-connectivity of the human being, the human spirit, and the universe at large (whatever that encompasses). It's a finding-your-way sort of story that deals with faith in something more (God, if you will) and faith in the self told through the 'simple' eyes of a shepherd boy. His doubts are understandable, he learns his lessons quickly, and he's reflective. He's human in all the best ways and the type of character a reader may sit back and say, "Damn, I wish I could be more like that." I, for one, will be applying some of these lessons to my own life.
I feel everyone should read this at least once. Twice if you need a refresher. Three times if you feel you've lost your own way. This is the type of meaningful fiction I hope to one day write (though I know I'm not capable of writing so simply about something so complex). I just want my writing to make people think, to maybe encourage them to change their hearts.
It's been surreal here in Denver. This book helped refocus my energies. It was refreshing.