Paulo Coelho recommends4 min read

Categories RecommendationsPosted on

photo: Paulo’s flickr

One of the most popular author suggests inspiring books

“Songs of Innocence and Experience” by William Blake

“You don’t need complications to be connected to the miracle of life.”

-from interview to Barnes & Noble

While many know the most famous Blake poem, The Tyger, the pastoral context of the Songs of Innocence — such as The Lamb — are just as important. The battle between the human struggle against suppression and heavy-handed rule come out in the Experience songs, while the Innocence songs show elements of childhood and adulthood blended together. Individualists can see anti-establishment themes running through the poems, though there are warnings against the vulnerability of an overly innocent perspective. Blake himself was an unorthodox Englishman and Dissenter against the Anglican church, and elements of his starving poet’s life can be seen in ‘A Poison Tree’ and ‘Sick Rose’.

“A Separate Reality” by Carlos Castaneda

“The first time I heard about “the way of the warrior.”

-from interview to Barnes & Noble

For those interested in the drug culture of the 1960’s, or metaphysical reality with all of its highways and byways, this translated sheaf of notes can provide some insight. Readers may want to first read Castaneda’s precursor, The Teachings of Don Juan, to get a background picture of the Western thinker versus the Eastern shaman – and to understand why Castaneda left the Yaqui sage after a badly navigated peyote experience. The heady mixture of philosophy and experience, especially when the anthropologist describes the terror of dark visions and the unknown, is enhanced with the arrival of another sorcerer (Don Genaro) and the idea that psychotropic plants influence a person’s ability to See energy.

Great Dialogues of Plato

“Where we realize that there is nothing new under the sun.”

-from interview to Barnes & Noble

If the Aeneid is a necessary epic poem for any reader’s library, as A.N. Whitehead declared in his ‘footnotes’ quote, a philosophy section can’t be complete without Plato’s Dialogues. Many Western readers find that the W.S. Rouse translation reads easier than other transcribed Plato texts. This makes a walk through the ‘Apology of Socrates’, his debate against a prison break in ‘Crito’, and the judgment in ‘Phaedo’ after a discussion on life after death, even more gripping than usual. Footnotes help with the ancient cultural references and quotes, especially in ‘The Republic’, in which an ideal form of government is drawn out.

“The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran

“An underrated masterpiece on dealing with human conflicts.”

-from interview to Barnes & Noble

According to the BBC, The Prophet is one of the few continually printed books of Arabic poetry, accessible to multiple life stages and declarations of faith. These prose poems, or sermons by Al Mustapha, cover life topics: family, love, labor, and death. Like Jonathan Swift’s creation, Gulliver, Mustapha wrestles with life questions after years of overseas exile. However, this book is quite free of sarcasm or irony. Like his friend and fellow poetic painter William Blake, Gibran promoted a non-orthodox and non-judmental attitude for the world

“One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

“Reflects the richness of the Latin soul (and body).”

-from interview to Barnes & Noble

Also recommended by Bill Clinton

This winner of a spot on the Oprah reading list is focused on time and family. The small town of Macondo, begun by Jose and Ursula Buendia, is affected if insulated from the rest of Colombia and the world. Marquez explores human issues, from solitude to politics and poverty, from the perspective of five generations of the founding family – while the dangers from without become the dangers from within. Written in a vivid poetic style, English professor Kiely of the New York Times called this book an overwhelming mix between idealism and practicality. This may also be an accurate description of the author’s childhood in a small Colombian coastal town, fed fantastical stories of ghosts and soldiers by his grandparents.

“Tropic of Cancer” by Henry Miller

“Shows how a man can write from the heart.”

-from interview to Barnes & Noble

Also recommended by Bob Dylan

What was salacious and banned American reading in the 1930’s (but not in France) can now be added to anyone’s reading list. The over-the-top descriptions of women’s bodies provide insight into Miller’s own tempestuous personal life, and the deep anger expressed at life’s unfairness was all his own. From disappointing night club jaunts to a parade of interactions with prostitutes, the main character celebrates all things out of the ordinary and the triumph of the body – if not the body politic. They are good for free dinners and conversation, but not much more. Those inspired by the Beat writers, like Jack Kerouac, may find this a fascinating reading list addition.

error: Right click disabled