The Alchemist

It's been a while that I didn't go to a local bookstore to buy a book. I haven't been to Gramedia Matraman either, ever since it's been renovated and dubbed as the biggest bookstore in Southeast Asia, with an opening ceremony that clogged the street and attended by President SBY last month.

I did pay visits to bookstores in Changi airport when I went to Singapore a couple of times for meetings, and in Hong Kong when I was in transit to Beijing and on the way back to Jakarta few days ago, but no books caught my interests. Sometimes, we are not the one who choose the book, it's the book "who" chooses us.

The last time I bought books when I was at TIM, one from a hawker at the food court, and another two books from Putu Wijaya at his booth at Teater Kecil with his signature on them. But buying books and reading them are two different things, and whether we can get something out of them is also an uncertainty.

It was last night when I was on the way out from Plaza Senayan shopping mall that this book made a call again on my head and drove me to a bookstore just to get it on my hand for Rp. 70,000, a paper back of the English version. I've heard people talking about the book, and the famous author, Paulo Coelho, but the calls were not loud yet, until last night.

The book was first published in Brazil in 1988 and is the most famous work of the author, according to Wikipedia. It took 19 years to get the message delivered to my hand.

I've read the few first pages of the book, and so far so good. Normally, the first and sometimes the last 10 - 20 pages, regardless the book's thickness, are the most important parts of a book.

Hence, you may want to get a copy of the book today if you haven't got a chance to buy one. If you have read it, appreciate if you can just think for a few seconds and then be so kind to hit the comment button to share your thoughts.

, seorang pejalan musiman dan penyuka sejarah. Penduduk Jakarta yang sedang tinggal di Cikarang Utara. Diperbarui: January 26, 2008.

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