Paulo Coelho The Hippie, a Book Review

I bought The Hippie from the airport bookstore to read during the flight to Colorado. I was dating a hippie at the time and I like Coelho so I thought it would pass the time in a good way. It was July when I started and November when I finished; I got distracted along the way. 

As he writes about the Magic Bus and the people he meets I find that I’m drawn into all their stories. I was reading it more for the people and learning about them, and not so much about finding a life philosophy. As I read I’m constantly referring to maps to figure out where they are and understand the physical journey. 

The main take-away from this book is learning about the character’s urgings to see the world. I enjoyed reading the stories of men and women who want to take every opportunity to see the world. They are full of hope and want to change the world while having amazing experiences. They start their journey in Amsterdam, stopping in Istanbul as they make their way to Kathmandu. 

Paulo learns from everyone and finally he meets a white-haired man while taking a risk walking into a building. Paulo is in search of knowledge and wisdom. And my favorite quote from the book: 

“A man in search of spirituality knows little, because he reads of it and tries to fill his intellect with what he judges wise. Trade your books for madness and wonder—then you will be a bit closer to what you seek. Books bring us opinions and studies, analyses and comparisons, while the sacred flame of madness brings us to the truth.”

Other quotes I like:
“Salute the sun. Allow it to fill your soul – knowledge is an illusion, ecstacy is the true reality.”

Paulo is in search of dancing and learning the ways of the Sufi. It’s not until I re-read sections to really understand what he is looking for. I like this quote so much.

“Then seek the Truth. Seek always to be on its side, even when it brings you pain. There are times when the Truth goes quiet for long stretches, or when it doesn’t tell you what you want to hear. That’s Sufism.”

“‘The Truth is what makes us free. You will know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free,’ Jesus said.”

“He had entered a state of complete emptiness, and this emptiness, though its inherent contradiction, filled everything.”

A Gentleman in Moscow, A Review

This is my first book review since deciding to read and review one book a week in my 49th year. I started this book a month ago and finished it today. In the future, I will read each book in the week before the Sunday Review.  

This is not a book about the outdoors, it actually takes place entirely indoors, in Moscow’s Metropol Hotel. Every sentence in A Gentleman in Moscow is magical and interesting. There are so many things I like: the characters, how the Count teaches Osip about being a gentleman, and that it takes places over so many decades. We watch the Count get older and become more interesting. 

There are so many great lines. The Count takes his seat in the restaurant with his newspaper “the international symbol of dining alone. I just laugh at the cleverness of language. 

The most interesting aspect of the story, and where everything gets really good is when he meets Nina, a nine-year-old girl living in the hotel with her father, they immediately become friends. 

She appears at his table and points out to him that his moustache is gone, the barber made a mistake and then he decided it all had to go. 

“Where did they go?” she asks him at first. She had been studying him for weeks apparently.
“Like swallows they traveled elsewhere for the summer.”

The narrator goes on to wonder what is being taught at school. You are not to ask questions about personal appearance. But they become friends forever at that moment. 

Nina learns about all the hidden spots in the hotel and the best scene is when she starts to include the Count on her adventures. She has the master key to the hotel and show the Count into a room; looking both ways before entering. He follows suit in future adventures and it’s so endearing. They both end up learning so much from each despite the Count is not allowed to leave the hotel since confined to house arrest. 

One of my favorite scenes, and there are so many of them is when his friend Mishka says to his friend the Count, “Who would’ve imagined when you were sentenced to life at the Metropol … that you had become the luckiest man in the world.” (292)

He had made friends and became a father to a parent-less girl. He had a great life.

It was when he becomes the caretaker to Nina’s child that he realizes what was so important in his life. He was at the hotel when Nina asked the biggest favor, to care for her child.

But in the end, it has been the inconveniences that have mattered most.


I could go on and on forever about the characters and quotes and poignant moments. Please read this book. It will make you want to learn more about Russian history, music and art. I took in every sentence and read slower than I ever have so I didn’t miss any details. It was so worth the days I gave up to read this amazing book. This book reminds me why I love reading and books. Stories like this bring you into their world where you fall in love with characters and want to see new places.

Our lives are steered by uncertainties, but that if we persevere and remain generous of heart, we may be granted a moment of supreme lucidity…

I have so many questions about the book and want to understand it all. I’m going to have to read it again. But not now. I have more new books to read as part of my 49th Year. Next up: Paulo Coehlo, Hippie. I started reading it over the summer and will finish it and write a review for week 2.