My Secret Life: Paulo Coelho, 64, author

14 01 2012

My parents were… so desperate that I wanted to be a writer that they locked me in a mental institution three times. Thirty-five years later I wrote a book based on this experience [Veronika Decides to Die].

The household I grew up in… doesn’t exist anymore, but my childhood will never disappear.

When I was a child I wanted to be… a cameraman.

You wouldn’t know it but I am very good at… archery. The gigantic tension before the shooting of an arrow, and the total relaxation seconds later is my way of connecting to the universe.

You may not know it but I’m no good at… singing. However, every time there is a guitar around I will sing, and my real friends will tolerate it.

At night I dream of… what I’m going to post on my blog, Twitter and Facebook.

I wish I had never worn… an old hippie jacket, covered in patches and metal stars.

What I see when I look in the mirror… That I need to change the light bulb, as there is not enough luminosity (this has been going on for the past two years).

My favourite item of clothing… Japanese yukatas [kimonos].

It’s not fashionable but I like… to sleep naked.

My favourite work of art… The Arnolfini Portrait by Van Eyck, the most important painting in the world. With all due respect, the Mona Lisa is overrated.

My favourite building… Chartres Cathedral, in France. Original stained-glass windows and a labyrinth that reminds me of the journey we take from life to death.

A book that changed me… Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller. It was while reading this that I discovered you need to use blood to write every single page.

Movie heaven… Once Upon a Time in the West, followed by Lawrence of Arabia.

The last album I bought… Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. I did not have it on my iPod.

My greatest regret… I don’t have one. I’ve done everything I wanted to do, even if I have had to pay a very high price – which has been the case most of the time.

My secret crush… Audrey Hepburn.

My real-life villain… Fundamentalists – and you can find them in every single religion on this planet.

The last time I cried… I cry very easily. It can be a movie, a phone conversation, a sunset – tears are words waiting to be written.

My five-year plan… To continue to breathe.

My life in six words… Blessed, pilgrim, archer, writer, internet junkie.


Paulo Coelho was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1947. After enrolling in law school, he dropped out to go travelling. He worked as a songwriter, and in 1974 was arrested for penning ‘subversive’ lyrics. In 1982 he published his first book, Hell Archives. The Alchemist, his bestselling novel, was published in 1987. In 2009, his book Veronika Decides to Die was made into a film starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, and his latest novel, Aleph, is out now. He and his wife, artist Christina Oiticica, live between Europe and Brazil.


14 01 2012

Today in the dark grove
creepers with their crimson shots
are a fiery mass.
Anklets tinkle, bees hum,
cuckoos sweetly sing.

On Her head is a peacock’s crown,
at Her ears, vihangi bird ornaments.
Her navel is a while lotus
and She has restless khanjana bird eyes.
Bees sip nectar
from her flowery face.

With tamala trees for legs, ankleted
with snakes
She stands on Siva
the silver mountain.

look at this great wonder:
Sankari on the chest
of Sankara.

~ Kamalakanta Bhattacarya

Indie Bound

30 09 2011

Here is another site for avid readers. The site promotes indie bookstores (independently owned businesses). Joining the community allows you to create your own reading wish list which you can send to friends and family, perfect for gift giving ideas.

Other features of the site include:

  • create book lists with books they want, books for their reading group, their current reading stack—anything
  • post comments on stores, whether it be a review of each store, a personal experience there, some recommendations — anything that can help other people learn more about that store
  • edit existing stores to add more information — store hours, pictures of the store, etc.
  • add interest tags both to their own accounts and to stores…tags like “southern literature” or “harry potter” help connect users and stores, and help everyone discover new things!
  • become fans of stores they know & love — so that other people can find stores through their user profile
  • add new stores — great indie retailers they’re familiar with
  • add other users as friends, and leave notes for other users

Paulo Coelho

21 09 2011

Lately I have been obsessed with Paulo Coelho books. His writing is very uplifting and inspirational. He is best known for “The Alchemist”, but his other books are amazing as well. Granted his work tends to be very similar from one project to the next, but if you like his writing style then you will want to read all of his work. He also keeps a blog ( where he posts updates ranging from inspirational quotes to his opinions on current news. He definitely embodies what it means to be a Quitter!

Book Swap

20 09 2011

My love for books is much greater than my love for my bank account. With developments like the Kindle thousands of trees will be saved, but many people still love the feeling of holding a paperback while curled up in their special nook. A great comprimise to the planet and your wallet is It allows you to post books you no longer want to keep. As other users request your books you get a credit for every book you trade which you can then use to have another member send a new read your way. An endless library without the home clutter!