I’ve always agreed with the saying, timing is everything. When reading a book, it’s no different.
Last Monday morning, when it was raining in Ulsan, and I was wandering around downtown, I started craving a book and a coffee. So I went to the English bookstore in hopes of finding something worth reading. Surrounded by thousands of English/Korean textbooks, I headed for the small selection of fiction. This collection mainly consists of the most popular novels, so I was a bit concerned that I wouldn’t be able to find a “good” book. I had looked before and came out empty handed.
The first to catch my eye was Eat, Pray, Love, which I considered simply because of the recommendations I have gotten. A woman wandering the world … sounded familiar.
“Maybe I’ll come back to it,” I thought.
Then, I saw The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. The name of this book has been floating around, and it was like I was being pulled toward it. Even though I didn’t know much about it, my heart jumped. As I do with books that call to me, I picked it up, flipped through the pages, and briefly scanned the synopsis on the back. I read the first couple sentences of the author’s forward, and I knew. This was it. This was the book. Usually, I at least read the first sentence or two of the actual book, but there was something about this book. Perhaps it was the tone, but I just felt like I needed it.
Ten minutes after walking into the bookstore, I had purchased a book, walked across the street, ordered a coffee, and sat reading in a nice, warm building, while it rained outside.
After the first few pages, I knew I had picked the right book.
The day was meant to be.
Accompanied by Christmas music, a good book, and a warm mocha, I was happy. Only snow would have made it better.
It seems rare that a book strikes such a deep and resounding chord. It told me what I needed to hear, and pushed me how I needed to be pushed. The Alchemist, an international bestseller, communicates age-old wisdom about tuning-in to the “Soul of the World”. I’m certain the book speaks to each person differently, and I’m sure each time I read it, I will learn something new about myself and about life. The beauty of this story lies in its simplicity. It lies in the universal nature of the message written. It is about seeking happiness and following dreams. It is about being happy in the moment, embracing opportunities, and heading toward a positive end.
I finished the book this morning and want to read it again, maybe tomorrow, maybe in a month, maybe in five years.
And part of me wants to leave it on a table or a bench somewhere.
It is a book that will find the next person who needs to read it.
If you see it. Pick it up.
If it feels right, read it.
Otherwise, leave it and continue on your way.