The Alchemist

Popularity. I hate following what is being done or worn by everyone(by now you know that).

On the other side, I love being objective. And knowledgeable. Which is why books or anything that has to do with reading, will always see me scampering for what they said is worthy. I always can’t wait to get my hands on that acclaimed book so that I can judge for myself whether it is a good book or not. 

That’s how I ended up reading Americanah. Which I recommended to all book readers I knew. Its how I ended up looking for more of Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s books. I didn’t get how The River Between could get an author to be nominated for the literature Nobel prize. And that’s how I ended up with the Wizard of The Crow. That book drives me crazy. But apparently my friends don’t esteem it highly as I do( I think I need new friends on that note).

 Looking at the Nobel literature nominees for 2016 also got me the other author that was pitted against our very own(I always wanted to use that) Ngugi wa Thiong’o-, Haruki Murakami a Japanese. I had never heard of him yet here he was, almost winning the biggest literature medal. I scoured the internet and discovered he has written lots of short stories. I’m biased against short stories. So I went for his book that turned out to be a trilogy. IQ84. That book made me enter into hypnagogia state for three nights in row. Let’s just say there is a reason I don’t read books on supernatural beings or events. But I would gladly recommend it to someone willing to try out something new. 

Its how I ended up downloading Donna Tartt. Tuseme tu there are still hopes but with each passing day the list of books I’ll read before I read Donna Tartt keeps on growing. I even preferred Hisham Matar’s books ; Anatomy of dissapearance and In The Country of Men to her books. He is an acquired taste that one. But I love his books and they are quite short too which is a plus with his style of writing. Hisham reminds me of those people who tell you a very funny story that leaves you rolling on the floor with laughter yet they remain unmoved. But his stories are sad. So that example doesn’t really fit him. Not sad in a mushy manner but sad in a “this-is-the-way-things-are” sort of way. 

Which brings me to my most current read. The Alchemist. I got tired of seeing it everywhere. And yet I hadn’t read it. Which meant I couldn’t participate in anything to do with it. Yet weirdly enough, the people who had read it never said anything about it. Like if people talk about Half of a yellow sun, they will mention Kainene or Ugwu. So you might get an idea on what the book is about. But the Alchemist was just plastered on people’s timeline. I just had to get it. 

And just like those people, i’ll keep to myself what the alchemist is about. Though going by that books popularity, I might be the last one to have discovered it. But it’s a book i’m sure I’ll read again. And there is no book on earth I’ve ever read more than once(besides school ones). It holds the promise of being my sarafina equivalent- I suspect I watched that movie almost a 100 times from the start to end. 

Every line drips wisdom in that book. Wisdom that I need if I’m going to continue pursuing my dreams. Not if. Its like a travel guide in this thing called life. We all need some nudging when it comes to charting our own paths. I don’t know if my brother will love reading but I plan on buying him that book when he gets of age. 

My take; in case you are a late comer when it comes to the Alchemist, its never too late. Read the book- and its very short. 88 pages if you are using pocketbook.

But don’t read it as a story. Reflect on the nuggets of wisdom put in there in every paragraph. As a story it doesn’t hold much water. Take a deep breath after every two or three pages. Highlight those parts that speak directly to those dreams you abandoned. Write out those parts that confirm that you are right track in your life. 

Don’t just read the Alchemist. Live it. Be it. 


  1. I started this book years ago, when it had just been released and it was all the hype. I never did finish it- or even get halfway. Your post just reminded me that perhaps it needs another visit especially now when feeling so lost on this path called life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. mwende says:

      But as I mentioned, it doesn’t hold much water as a story, its more of a motivation book. Plus we could all do with some encouragement once in a while….so yes, you should definitely get back to it….
      plus just in case you don’t have the hard copy, i can send you the soft copy…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We really could do with some encouragement once in a while. That is very sweet of you. Let me check if it’s around somewhere and get back to you šŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Kai Mungai says:

    I love that book…this part where the boy sells wool to buy a novel….so passionate……THE PILGRIMAGE is also tremendous

    Liked by 1 person

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