Archive for the 'Books' Category

Eleven Minutes

April 21, 2011

After reading The Alchemist for the second time I went to the library and picked up a few other books by Paulo Coelho and ended up reading Eleven Minutes first.

Like The Alchemist, this story is also about a dreamer, very inspirational and it teaches you one or other things.

However, the setting is completely different. Maria, a Brazilian in her early twenties travels from the rural countryside to Rio de Janeiro to see the ocean. At the beach she’s recruited as a samba dancer by a Swiss cabaret owner and that’s where her adventure really sets off.

Obviously, once in Geneva, it’s not what she had expected.

Eleven Minutes depicts the meanings of sex, so a great way to explore it, is of course from the standpoint of a prostitute. It wasn’t really what I was expecting from Paulo Coelho. The Alchemist is magical, almost like a fairy tale whereas Eleven Minutes is realistic, portraying the naked truth.

But then it’s based on true stories, which gives it credibility. Funny though is that in a fairy tale style it starts with the line “Once upon a time…”

I really want to read some more Paulo Coelho books, hopefully in the near future.

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The Alchemist

February 6, 2011

It’s magical and at times you will forget that it’s fiction. Actually, I was probably hoping, really wishing for, that some of it was reality.

Still, it’s a wise story about a Spanish shepherd boy on a journey through the North African desert to fulfill his destiny. He meets many wise men along the way and the love of his life.

I read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho for the first time for about ten years ago and remembered that it was the best book I had ever read. At least one of the best. I was about 17-18 and had no idea what my destiny was. At the time I probably thought I knew.

I still don’t really know what my destiny is but I like to think that I have a better idea of what it could be.

A while ago I found an abandoned bag with books near a train station and picked up The Alchemist. I had forgotten what it was really about. I’m sure it was a sign that I should read it again.

Santiago, the shepherd boy learns to see the signs and understand them. The story will open your senses. At least for a while. Until then follow your dreams. But when you search for it, it may take you far away for you to later realise that it was around the corner.

Next time my memory fades I hope to have found a copy of The Alchemist in Portuguese. It’ll be interesting to read it in its original language. Like films that are dubbed, are always different when you hear the actors real voices.

The Diary of a Brazilian Call Girl

August 16, 2009

It’s a Cinderella story, kind of.

The Scorpion’s Sweet Venom: The Diary of a Brazilian Call Girl by Bruna Surfistinha.  It’s Bruna’s own story of how she left home at 17 to own her living as a prostitute.

With a middle-class background, she always kept her standards and with an open-minded attitude, she was willing to try anything requested by her clients. Many stories that are detailed in the book.

She first went to live in a whore house but as her career progressed she got herself her own apartment and her own clients.

Very entertaining book to read and for some it probably works as a guide. The clients were happy to share their stories with Bruna, who at many occasions acted as a counsellor.

It’s the positive side of prostitution and how some can get lucky that is portrayed in this story.

Bruna did use drugs and not everything was fancy pansy. The fact that she had an education and came from a wealthy family plays a big role. She starts her own blog gaining unexpected popularity, through the business she meets her husband, leaves the prostitute profession and lives happily ever after… like Cinderella.

Bruna Surfistinha is the pseudonym of Raquel Pacheco.

INFERNO

May 24, 2009

Inferno by Patricia Melo. About a boy, Kingie, in Rio living in a favela who aspires to work for Miltão, who runs the drug traffic in Berimbau.

If you enjoyed City of God you should read this book. It’s a different story, more intense, and sadly it’s based on the reality of living in the favela where there’s an ongoing civil war where more people are getting killed than in the Iraqi war. I was so caught up by the story that I’ve taken a break from reading it. I’m hoping for a good ending but I’m not expecting it.

Kingie, who lives with his mother and sister, has no interest in going to school, instead he starts working for Miltão as a lookout boy. When his mum, who work as a maid for an upper-class family, finds out she demands Miltão to stay out of her boy’s life so he can go back to school. That’s when Kingie faces drug addiction at the age of 11, doing whatever it takes to get his next fix.

The book also follows the lives of the people around Kingie. Carolaine, his sister who gets pregnant before turning 15. Alzira, his mother. Dona Juliana, his mother’s boss who’s having an affair. Beautiful Suzana, his neighbour and Miltão’s girlfriend. Fake, Reader, Kelly, Walmir, Onofre, Rosa Maria.

It’s a story about hope, survival, love, loyalty and misery. It’s an inside story, so captivating and it already feels like the best book I’ve read so far in my young life.

It’s the kind of book that probably has an impact on the way people think and possibly change attitudes.