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Paul Cuelho

I've just read The Portobello Witch and to be honest, didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would.   I'd heard very good things about this author but didn't much like the book.

The story wasn't bad but his female characters really didn't ring true.  The male characters were a lot better but in a story that revolves around women and their struggles this is not really a good thing......

Does anyone else like this author?
Simon The Sponge

Sorry Miranda,  I've only read the Alchemist and thought it was so bad, I've not wanted to read anything else by him since.  It was a poorly written pseudo-spiritual novel with an outcome that completely undermined the whole novel and the principle theme that it was trying to champion

I haven't read that one.  The actual writing wasn't too bad, just the characters.   And I saw the supposed twist coming a mile away.

I have never read anything by Coelho; he seems to be thought highly of critically generally, but no one on our board has ever said anything very good about him.  We have a number of his works in our library and they go out fairly regularly but whether people know his style of writing when they take his books, I don't know.  

Does anyone here like him?

Cheers, Caro.

Personally, I steer well clear of any book described as "inspirational" or "life-changing"!

(There's only one The Alchemist - and that's the play by Ben Jonson! Very Happy )

Our students read The Alchemist in their senior year. Sadly, it is not the one by Ben Johnson.  I guess when one is trying to make young people see that they should pursue their dreams, it is excusable.  There was only one line I liked in the novel - the glass merchant is thinking about how if he didn't do what he wanted to now, he would never have another chance.  It reminded me of a TV on the Radio song - "if you don't go now, then you might not, never," or something like that.  Fortunately, The Alchemist is very short, the book, that is, not the actual alchemist.

Hmmm ... another case of hype over substance then!   Laughing

The only Cuehlo I ever tried was "Veronica tries to kill herself" about a woman whose experience in an asylum/hospital proves to her that life really is worth living. I didn't finish the book. I was surprised that it was a choice on A Good Read - I think it was from Graeme le Saux, one of the first non-standard footballers, in that he was quite happy to show himself to be a Grauniad reader etc, to the lack of understanding of some more standard (proud to be seen as thicko) footballers.

On an off topic note, actually there are probably a lot more footballers with decent qualifications than would be popularly believed, and the influx of European players, with less of a booze culture has certainly enhanced their cultural knowledge I believe.
Simon The Sponge

I think it's called "Veronika Decides to Die" Blackberry, and to be honest if I hadn't already discounted Coelho it's a title that I've always been fascinated by.

(I do like the "Veronica tries to kill herself" cut to the chase alternative title though Smile)

apparently it's being made into a film due out later this year with Buffy in it

I once tried to read The Alchemist just out of curiosity since a very intelligent and usually sensible friend had found it "life -changing", but I didn't get very far because I found it excruciating in execution and in its story idea. I had heard that Coelho (I'm sure I haven't spelled that correctly) was one of those writers people either thought wonderful or rubbish. Well, it was the latter for me. He always has rows of those - all quite slim - volumes on the bookshop shelves, though. I wonder how some writers pull the wool over readers' eyes?

Blackberry, Bob Wilson was one of the first "non-thicko" footballers, back in the late 60s/early 70s. He trained as a teacher at Loughborough College (his father had blocked him from joining Manchester United as a youth) and indeed worked in teaching for some years before his professional career took off. The education came in handy, because he went straight into TV journalism from playing.

As to Paulo Coelho, I saw a particularly vacuous housemate reading one of his books on Big Brother a few years back, and that was enough to put me off!  Very Happy
Green Jay

A bit like Geri Halliwell and The Road Least Travelled. Or am I maligning one or the other - or both - of those?

You are right Simon it is actually Veronika decides to die. I was not having a good moment - trying to post and talk on the phone at the same time. Too much multitasking at that point.

Indeed Mike Alx, I can remember that Terry Gennoe of Blackburn Rovers was a trained teacher, as well as the more famous educated footballers like Steve Coppell and Tony Galvin with his Russian. At least three Barnsley players in the mid 1980s did Open University study, and Steve Harper of Newcastle did, and was latterly studying at Durham Uni. (Ok you can guess where I studied last). Even allowing for the public school educated players of late (Frank Lampard jnr I believe) there seems to be a big split between those who advertise their brains and those who seem to glory in their lack thereof, but the money makes up for it.

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