Feature

Best books … chosen by Paulo Coelho

The Brazilian author of <em>The Alchemist</em> lists his favorites.

Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller (Grove/Atlantic, $13). Miller is the writer who gave me the initial stimulus to write. When I read Miller, I said to myself, “Okay, this is literature.” He was a rebellious writer whose books were censored for years, and that in itself was meaningful for me.

Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges (Grove/Atlantic, $13). I read one of Borges’ short stories in a science-fiction magazine when I was 20, and I immediately fell in love with his style and his universe. Later on, I discovered that the short story, “The Babel Library,” was part of this collection of short stories. Borges is the only South American writer all of whose books I have read and reread.

Or I’ll Dress You in Mourning by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins (out of print). This novel narrates the trajectory of one of last century’s most famous bullfighters, El Cordobés. The interesting point in the narrative of the book is the interpolation of the great bullfight in Madrid—where he will receive what is called the “alternativa” (that is, become a fully fledged bullfighter)—with the story of his life and of the bullfighting culture.

Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon by Jorge Amado (Vintage, $15). Amado is the best Brazilian writer. He portrayed the Brazilian spirit to the world.

The Stranger by Albert Camus (Vintage, $11). The very first pages of this violent book mesmerized me. I read it in my 30s and was fascinated by Camus’ simple and direct language. Given the increasing xenophobic tendencies in the world nowadays, the book is very topical.

1984 by George Orwell (Penguin, $10). I recent­ly reread this book and was impressed by its visionary quality. Orwell’s thinking is implacable, unraveling our desires for freedom as well as our craving for power. This capacity to dive into the very essence of man makes 1984 timeless.

Recommended

Matthew Salesses' 6 favorite Asian American novels
Matthew Salesses.
Feature

Matthew Salesses' 6 favorite Asian American novels

Israel reportedly behind drone attack on warehouse in Iran
Quadcopter drone
Drone Warfare

Israel reportedly behind drone attack on warehouse in Iran

Erdogan suggests Turkey may allow Finland to join NATO, block Sweden
Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Hardball

Erdogan suggests Turkey may allow Finland to join NATO, block Sweden

10 things you need to know today: January 29, 2023
Protesters in Atlanta following the death of Tyre Nichols.
Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: January 29, 2023

Most Popular

Boeing to deliver its final 747 plane, bringing an end to the world's most iconic jet
The final Boeing 747 during its rollout.
Farewell, 747

Boeing to deliver its final 747 plane, bringing an end to the world's most iconic jet

5 toons about egg prices
Editorial Cartoon
Feature

5 toons about egg prices

Body cam footage of Tyre Nichols' death released by police
A screenshot from the body cam footage of Tyre Nichols&#039; beating.
Horrific

Body cam footage of Tyre Nichols' death released by police