Monday, December 20, 2010

The Alchemist: A Graphic Novel by Paulo Coelho

I seem to be rushing everything and everywhere lately.  I'm pretty certain everyone else is as well.  Sunday afternoon, Anne and I braved the Sunday before Christmas crowds to head to our local Borders bookstore to get the traditional fine art calendar for Mom. 

We started our bookstore visit with a single goal in mind but while browsing the shelves I stumbled upon a must have, new book for my library, The Alchemist:  A Graphic Novel by Paulo Coelho, HarperOne, 2010.  I first thought it was simply a re-issue hardcover edition but when I pulled it down to take a look, I was immediately intrigued by the graphic novel format.  I was then shocked to note that it was a first edition, first printing.  While certainly not rare, for me, it is a collectible.  I love Coelho's The Alchemist and I had to add this edition to my small collection of other Coelho first edition, first printing (USA) and will shelve it next to my prized first edition first printing copy of The Illustrated Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream, paintings by Moebius, HarperFlamingo, 1998.

What better way to find inspiration and motivation then to re-visit a cherished story.  I first discovered Coelho during the early 1990's while killing time at the old Waterstone's Book Store on Newbury Street in Boston.  I actually bought and still have the paperback edition acquired then, a 10th printing.  When I first read Coelho he was a complete unknown and for people who know me well, an out of character author for me to read, immediately cherish and collect.  Coelho is without doubt the best selling author of Brazil today.  Since then, I've acquired every new Coelho novel and keep my eye open for the right deal on the two first editions I don't own, The Alchemist and The Valkyries

Coelho's message is very simple, follow your dreams.  A message that encourages us to actually live in the world and experience the mysteries and wonders that make up a life.  Inspirational literature is a popular genre often filled with pulp and nonsense.  Coelho offers neither.  His writing, characters and story-telling are first rate and he will be remembered and read for years to come.  The newly published graphic novel format would be a great gift for a youngest reader, the illustrated edition with the Moebius illustrations a better gift for a reader of any age, and a first edition first printing of the 1988 edition (or the 1993 first English edition) a dream come true for the dedicated Coelho collector.

For an edgier introduction to Coehlo, more suitable for the cynical, crustier reader, I suggest Eleven Minutes a novel based on the life of a Coehlo fan, a former professional escort, whose life changed after reading Coehlo.  For me, I'm just going to try and not rush around so much and take some time to page through the new graphic novel edition.

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