Jan 12 2019

Book Reviews and Day 6 of #BoutOfBooks has a Dreamcast (Not the Video Game System)

Today’s challenge:

Dream cast

Share your dream cast for a book that hasn’t been adapted yet

I read that as Dreamcast…

Perhaps that is why I decided to go with a book that has a videogame system as a big part of the plot twist/ meet cute:
Strangely, Incredibly Good by Heather Grace Stewart (my review)

Cat Glamour= B.K. Cannon or Margo Martindale
(I don’t know how ages are factored in Hollywood where it takes either a few months or many years to go from book to movie.)

Gene= Jason Momoa or Oded Fehr

Grandmother character= Ann Morgan Guilbert died, so I can’t pick her. Cloris Leachman

#bob24igphoto #boutofbooks

Day of the challenge: Day 6
What I read today:
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Kristy’s Big Day (The Baby-sitters Club Graphic Novel #6): A Graphix Book by Ann M. Martin and Gale Galligan

Total number of finished books: 3
Titles of finished books:
Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Kristy’s Big Day by Ann M. Martin and Gale Galligan

My GOALS during Bout of Books 24:

  1. Finish reading 3 books
  2. Take part in the challenges
  3. Write 3 book reviews

Book Review:

Drawing from The Alchemist

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
5 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

Try Something New: Author I Haven’t Previously Read, #BeatTheBacklist, #WeNeedDiverseBooks

Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > Personal Growth > Men’s Personal Growth
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > Personal Growth > Mysticism
#2 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > Personal Growth > Philosophy
Fiction 11,743 users
Classics 4,559 users (Even though it was first published in 1988/ 30 years ago.)
Fantasy 2,753 users
Philosophy 2,352 users

I read the 25th Anniversary Edition. The above image was one of the many illustrations in the book.

This fantastic book is “just fiction,” just an allegory, but it’s filled with the wisdom and philosophy of a self-help book. It mentions more than one religion, and it sort of shares the “point” of having religions (my opinion). The boy who didn’t want to become a priest chatting with “The Hand that wrote all” seems like such a powerful way to link the near beginning and the near end of the book.

A pearl of wisdom that really struck me:
“Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”

Fans of The Name of the Wind novel by Patrick Rothfuss will love when the alchemist says the boy will turn into the wind in three days. “Well, you’ll have to learn; your life depends on it.” That same part of the book reminds me of my own characters from Fractions of Existence, especially how matter and the spirit are connected.

I’d also recommend it to people who are deciding the next phase of their life. Not everyone does this. Some people just follow the motions (school, job, marriage, offspring, retire, die). But some people wonder if they should break from the path. If they should travel. If they should give up all they have to perhaps find something more, or something different. And wondering how long they should prepare before embarking… the book has some lessons about that, too.

I like the 25th Anniversary Edition cover. The hand-drawn map, the hawks, and the pyramids all belong with the story. I got a copy on sale after hearing good things about it, that people enjoyed it. Yet everyone said it was about something different. Now that I’ve read it, I know why. This book brings out what you have in you. I imagine it to be the sort of read that changes if you pick it up every decade or two. Same words on the page, but never the same reader.

The characters are revealed slowly, one at a time, each having a chance to be memorable if they matter. The boy wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s not a very thick book, it wouldn’t make for a good pillow, but it is a very good book. The title doesn’t make sense until nearly halfway through, and then makes more sense, I think, toward the end.

I kept reading because the boy kept working toward various goals. I wanted to see how it would turn out. Honestly, I think the boy got the treasure without digging, but that’s because of my own values. “Because when we love, we always strive to become better than we are.”

While I do enjoy Philosophy, I don’t read many books in the genre. Or many allegories. Mysticism, this is the only book in the current top 100 sales I’ve read. Yet this seemed like it’s exactly the kind of book I would read. As if it were a book that people would expect me to have. I suspect I will read more works by this author. I gave this book five stars because I would probably keep reading it during a plane crash. (The book might tell me how to survive.) Most readers who dislike this book are probably the most like the Englishman character.

All the named characters of the book had goals. Sometimes not working toward them, or knowing they weren’t working toward them, was part of the point of the book. The theme of the book is about knowing your biggest goal, your purpose, and doing what it takes to accomplish that goal, and the side quests that happen along the way to teach you everything that matters. It has a very natural plot flow.

It seems to be well translated. It’s easy to read, even middle-grade students (pre-teens/ tweens) should be able to comprehend this book, though it will mean more as one enters adulthood and perhaps again as one nears middle age.

It’s realistic fiction. It’s predictable if you expect it to go a certain way, because there’s a Happily-Ever-After. Definitely inspirational. It’s a Diverse Book in that the shepherd boy, Santiago, is from southern Spain and travels across northern Africa, meeting people of different religions and cultures. Though the date isn’t referenced, it’s probably between 1830-1880 (there’s a revolver but no cars). And yet it mirrors the same society we see all around us today. There are still some people doing everything and risking it all for their dream, and others who only talk about it, and a few who hope to find someone to pass wisdom onto.

I didn’t care for the boy’s feelings for the Andalusia girl with the raven hair. It seemed he mostly liked her because she couldn’t read and thus he thought he could impress her. She seemed very much like an object, like lead that would never be gold for him.

Otherwise, I could relate to the boy. I’ve been at that crossroads, the moment of deciding between the known path or the adventure. (Except a king didn’t show up to chat with me.) The setting is very important to the story, though it isn’t very detailed overall.

Kristy’s Big Day (The Baby-sitters Club Graphic Novel #6): A Graphix Book by Ann M. Martin and Gale Galligan
Aug 28, 2018

4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

Another fun trip to my past, to the days in my youth when most of my friends were girls. (I’m waiting eagerly for the Logan character to appear.) The memories are why I read it, and while I’ll keep getting books from this series as they come out in the new Graphix versions.

This one gets four stars from me because the Kristy character suddenly cares so much about dresses and wedding things, and no one even remarks how out-of-character that seems to be for her. Maybe it’s just something I don’t understand. But in the other books, she seems to hate dresses, and in this one, she’s overjoyed about it. My feelings are reflected on the cover, where she’s wearing her baseball cap (which she isn’t seen with during the wedding scene in the actual book, as she has braids and flowers and stuff). Plus, it’s hard for me to handle her “big problem” of having to move into a mansion.

I think young people can still enjoy these books, though they may wonder about the phones and lack of laptops. The characters work toward their goals, which are mostly just being the best baby-sitters they can be to earn some money.

My favorite line from this book, the laugh-out-loud line, was when Claudia said, “That’s a lot of gummy bears.”

It’s a Happily-Ever-After (HEA), fun book. A good book for young people who are nervous about their parent getting remarried, especially about the wedding day itself. It can stand alone from the series.


  1. Finished 3 books – that’s awesome!! Hope today is a strong last day of the readathon 🙂 You got this! Also I love your “confirm you aren’t a spammer” message haha
    Sarah E. has this post to share Bout of Books 24 [Days 5-7 Progress + Finish Line]My Profile
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    1. I’m glad you enjoy it. For more fun, try leaving me a comment of under three words. It’s a thing I set up several WP versions ago. I don’t even know how to change it.
      Find on Twitter:

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