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5 Books like The Alchemist: Heart-Warming Feel-Good Stories

Roxanne_Sancto_itcher_contributorAt night, as you curl up in your bed ready to embrace a peaceful slumber, you should be reaching for inspirational feel-good books like “The Alchemist”. Read it already? Then consider these: ‘The Little Prince’, The Little Buddha’, ‘The Celestine Prophecy’, ‘Sophie’s World’ and ‘The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge’. ~ Roxanne Sancto

Those who don’t understand their Personal Legends will fail to understand its teachings.

Browsing through your newsfeed on Facebook you will come across a lot of motivational posts made up of deep quotes and soothing images. Some will stick with you more than others, but although you can find profound meaning in a quote taken out of context, chances are, it will have that much more impact if you read the full text it has been taken from.

Paulo Coelho is a Brazilian author whose books have touched many lives – especially his 1988 novel ‘The Alchemist’. The story follows Santiago, a young shepherd based in the Spanish region of Andalusia. He believes that a recurring dream he has been having, is trying to tell him something. In order to find out what message his dream is trying to relay, he visits a fortune teller who tells him of a treasure hidden in Egypt’s Pyramids.

Santiago decides to make his way to Egypt, meeting many influential people on his way. One of these people is King Mechizedek who teaches him about the concept of a Personal Legend:

Your Personal Legend is what you have always wanted to accomplish.

Told in a simple but beautiful manner, ‘The Alchemist’ has often been described as a self-help book rather than a full-fledged novel and this makes perfect sense: it may be easy reading but the message of this story is deep and may help you understand your own Personal Legend.

Heart-warming, inspirational, feel-good books like ‘The Alchemist’ should be on everyone’s bedside table!


Books Similar to ‘The Alchemist’…

‘The Little Prince’ (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, 1943)

Image Source: EW

‘The Little Prince’ has become an all-time favourite for young and old readers alike. With beautiful watercolour illustrations and endearing characters, this is a book children will enjoy but not necessarily understand and one that adults will find a lot of truths in.

The narrator of the story, a pilot who had once harboured a passion for art, has crashed his plane in the middle of the Sahara Dessert. One day a little boy with golden hair appears and asks the pilot to draw him a sheep. The pilot begins referring to him as ‘The Little Prince’.

The Little Prince lives on an asteroid with his rose, three small volcanoes and an array of plants, most predominantly baobab trees, the roots of which are threatening to take over the entire surface of his home. The rose appeared out of nowhere one day and The Little Prince has been tending to her every want and need ever since.

The rose’s vanity and her demands are starting to make The Little Prince question her sincerity. One day he decides to go on a journey to explore the rest of the universe and everything it has to offer but is disappointed at what he finds…

‘The Little Prince’ explores the loss of innocence, social and self-imposed pressures and the concept of love in a poetically philosophical manner. It is the kind of book you should go back to time and time again and I promise – each time you will take away a different lesson from it.

Similarity Match: 90%
‘The Alchemist’ and ‘The Little Prince’ use a simple story-telling approach to communicate an important message.

‘The Little Buddha’ (Claus Mikosch, 2009)

Image Source: Buecher

Claus Mikosch is a German author who has travelled far and has worn many a hat. He dabbles in music, film, photography and writing, but it’s the writing he always comes back to. His book ‘The Little Buddha’ was first self-published in German, English and Spanish in 2010. It was so well received it was picked up by the German publishing house Herder in 2012.

‘The Little Buddha’ has always been happy following in the footsteps of the “big Buddha” meditating beneath the shade of a Bodhi tree. But lately he’s been feeling the need to expand his horizons and speak to different people. When his friend the farmer suggests The Little Buddha take a trip, he realizes some time away may be exactly what he needs.

On his journey, he learns important life lessons from “The Man without Time”, “The Patient Gardener”, “The Old Fisherman” and “The Sad Clown”. Written in an engaging, thoughtful manner and presented with soft, black and white illustrations by Rosie May Harrison, ‘The Little Buddha’ is a great book for all those in search of something (more).

Similarity Match: 90%
As with ‘The Alchemist’, the theme of ‘The Little Buddha’ is ultimately, an inward journey.

‘The Celestine Prophecy’ (James Redfield, 1993)

Image Source: Wikimedia

Every once in a while, we find ourselves at a crossroads in life: What path to take? What or who am I doing it for? What’s the point in it all? When you find yourself asking these questions, it’s usually a good time to reflect and meditate on what it is you really want from life. Or, as it was put in ‘The Alchemist’ – what is your Personal Legend?

This is what must have happened to James Redfield when he started writing ‘The Celestine Prophecy’ (another originally self-published book). ‘The Celestine Prophecy’ introduces various spiritual and psychological concepts by means of nine Insights taken from a Peruvian book dating back to 600B.C.

Similarity Match: 75%
The concepts discussed in ‘The Celestine Prophecy’ may differ from those in ‘The Alchemist’, but both protagonists set out on a spiritual journey in search of answers.


If You Like ‘The Alchemist’, You Will Like…

‘Sophie’s World’ (Jostein Gaarder, 1991)

Image Source: Cwvong

One day, the fourteen year old Sophie Amundsen receives an anonymous note which reads: “Who are you?”. This is followed by another letter, this time asking: “Where did the world come from?”. The last letter contains a course in history and philosophy.

As she starts contemplating the questions and the course, she is introduced to Alberto Knox, a mysterious man who acts as her teacher. He introduces her to some of the world’s greatest philosophers like Socrates and Jean-Paul Satre.

As Sophie and Alberto delve deeper into the history of philosophy, they realize they are faced with an important mission….

‘Sophie’s World’ mixes elements of philosophy and fantasy that merges into an engaging narrative pondering the meaning of life.

‘The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge’ (Carlos Castaneda, 1968)

Image Source: Goodreads

What was originally published as a work of anthropology in 1968, turned out to be a book filled with invaluable wisdoms. Carlos Castaneda submitted ‘The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge’ as his Master’s thesis ; it is based on his apprenticeship with don Juan Matus, a Yaqui Indian Sorcerer.

Although the book focuses on the use and preparation of psychoactive plants, it is the mental preparation Castaneda undergoes in order to learn about the plants’ secrets that brings forth some important spiritual concepts. In total, Castaneda wrote a series of nine books concentrating on his time with don Juan Matus.

The setting and protagonists of ‘The Teachings of Don Juan’ widely differ from those in ‘The Alchemist’ and yet, the respective protagonists have to go through periods of hardships to reach their final destination.


Which Book Will Adorn Your Bedside Table?

As mentioned before, a book like ‘The Alchemist’ makes for ideal reading at bed time. The books listed above fall into the same category and all of them can act not only as a type of self-help book, but also as a guided meditation gently pulling you towards happier thoughts, important realizations and above all: inspiration.

Do you have a similar book you’d like to suggest?

My name is Roxanne Sancto and I’ll be writing all things music, book and movie related for itcher mag. I also write for New Heroes & Pioneers’ upcoming Festival and Culture magazines, to be launched in the spring of 2014. I am the co-author of The Pink Boots and am currently working on two new novels. I love music, literature, cinema, crafting, yoga and animals.
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