Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Review of Inspirations Selections of Classic Literature by Paulo Coelho


Selections from Classic Literature by Paulo Coelho

The Penguin Group

235 pages

Paulo Coelho author of the popular novel The Alchemist had a certain vision when asked by Penguin to put together this eclectic assortment of excerpts from many, many years of Penguin classics. He in his preface enlightens us as to what an anthology really means he tells us that it comes from the Greek word meaning a flower-gathering and goes on to tell us how difficult it was to choose not only the work but the passage within that work and also how to catalog them together that will make us not only open our “magic cabinet” of literature and reawaken our passion for that particular piece of literary history but for all of the choices he presents to us here.

In reading this assortment of tidbits from these many and varied classic tales of not only fiction but non fiction as well I am reminded of the flower gathering that Mr. Chelho talks to us about in the preface and in envisioning that I let my mind see a vast arrangement of flowers in a field not put together by size or color or type but by the loving hand of a child with a hand full of seeds who simply runs through this fertile yet barren piece of land spreading the joy of these blooms to come as he has combined these to make a complete work by sorting them by the astrological four elements. Now maybe you think that’s a little over the top but once you feast your eyes on this masterpiece of snippets from some of the greatest writers who ever lived I think you’ll get the picture. Be ready for a journey for all of your senses the trip is set in motion with Water the primordial ocean. It may seem like an unlikely arrangement but just keep reading and as you do I promise you the bouquet will come into focus.

We will get short quips starting with The Ugly Duckling and ending with Frankenstein with a spattering in the middle of the likes of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Sun-tzu’s The Art of War, Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann and the Holocaust, Nelson Mandela’s No Easy Walk to Freedom, George Orwell’s 1984, The Rig Veda, Hymns to Agni, God of the Sacrifice, and The Dead Sea Scrolls. That’s quite a range of interests and genres but don’t let that intimidate you. It’s a rare combination by a master, where else can you get your nursery rhyme in one story and a version of heaven in the next. If you have one must read of 2010, if you’re looking for the perfect gift for that someone who has everything or for the someone most precious to you look no farther “Inspirations” is the only item you need on your list.

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