I recently found myself under the weight and scrutiny of 22 credit hours. Yes, that is a total of seven upper division classes that range anywhere from Modern Contemporary British Literature to the History of Modern Philosophy. As an English major and a philosophy and creative writing minor, I undoubtedly do not have spare time to read for leisure. Although I often find inspiring reads in the syllabus, something is missing. Perhaps it is the idea of free will—I like to read what I want, when I want. It takes the pressure off deadlines and analytical papers that lurk around corners like monsters under the bed (sorry, it’s the October spirit). I never quite know nor do I have the time to window-shop at many bookstores, however, the other day in the mail (thank you grandma), I received a small little treasure: an English major’s dream. And it only took me a few minutes to read. Simply titled Life, this little jewel is a collection of selected quotes from Paulo Coelho’s novels. It gets better. About the size of a pocketbook, this thin collection has a maximum of three quotes per page all broken up by subject matters. It keeps getting better. On the opposite side of each quoted page, there are artistic, colorful, eclectic illustrations dotted throughout the collection. I always feel more sophisticated when I get to read and see art at the same time. It takes maybe a minute to read one page per day—which is the equivalent of waiting for your toast in the toaster. If you want to do this while brushing your teeth, you get 2 pages—morning and night—to equal the grand total of 4 pages a day, which logically makes you 4x wiser then just the average tooth brusher (math majors what do you say?). At a mere 128 pages, you’re set for the rest of fall semester all for just $17 (thanks USA)— if your cringing at that just think that’s about $0.13 a page—perfect for a college budget (your welcome business majors).
Not only does Coelho get right to the point, but he also focuses on subjects that matter. To a stressed out college kid, a chapter on “The Path,” for example, is exactly what I need. Let’s be honest: who even knows what they’re having for breakfast tomorrow? I have personally read a few of Coelho’s complete books (and yes, those are pretty short too) and have thoroughly enjoyed them. I would easily deem him one of the most influential authors of the 21st century. Coelho says everything you need to know without saying it. He is a master at crafting sentences until they become the very word of God or the word of some mystical fortune teller. You cannot help but absorb Coelho’s wisdom. Better, better yet? He leaves you with a deep feeling of bewilderment, peace, and beauty. If nothing else, it may be the perfect read before bed to stop you from pulling your hair out about that exam you have tomorrow. I think I can speak for Coelho when I say: take one day at a time. Heck, I’m still working on one foot in front of the other. Regardless, sometimes embracing the thing that pushes you, and adds that weight to your chest, is the best remedy to defeat stress. So, even though you have a pile of unread books waiting to be cracked open, give this one a chance. If nothing else, you’ll be a minute wiser.
You didn’t think I’d leave you with nothing, right?
“There are moments in life when we need to trust blindly in intuition.”
–Taken from the chapter, “The Path.”
Trust me on this one.
Written by Hannah Betz