How I learned of writer Paulo Coehlo

Note: names of people and places have been purposefully removed or embellished in the following post in order to “protect the innocent” 🙂

I admit it, I like coffee shops and bars. I like going into them – usually by myself – and leisurely hanging out for awhile reading or browsing the internet (it’s better – though not cheaper – than staying at home where the tv is a constant temptation; why I don’t just get rid of my tv, I don’t know). If the bar has the Buzztime Trivia Network, then of course I will stay longer than I should, trying to make or even “dominate” the local leader board. I will happily talk to fellow patrons or staff of these establishments if they initiate conversation, but I am equally content to just keep to myself and my reading/browsing/trivia playing. In the past eight months or so (or my “iPad Era” as I like to call it) I am often approached with questions about my iPad- “Ooh, is that an iPad?”, “So, how do you like your iPad?”, “Don’t you just love your iPad?”, ad infinitum. I’ve even joked that my iPad is my new “wingman” due to all the attention it draws.

So, that was a long preamble I guess, but this is kind of how I learned of the writer Paulo Coehlo last week. I was in a favorite downtown Indy bar Tuesday after work; the weather was bad, and the place was relatively deserted. I was talking to the bartender – a friend of mine – and she introduced me to their new employee. After awhile, I hear “new employee” ask, “So, how do you like your iPad?” (see option 2 above). I go into my usual spiel about how I’m on it for hours every day, and mention that a large chunk of that time is spent reading e-books since “I have an app that let’s me access books I’ve purchased on my e-reader,” etc. She says, “Oh, you have a Kindle?”

I explained that I don’t have a Kindle but a Nook. It turns out that “new employee” is a fellow books & reading addict. So I show her the app and my library of e-books that I’ve already purchased, and she’s read a surprisingly large number of them too. She asks about the author Paulo Coehlo, mentioning that he’s one of her favorites and “have you read anything by him?” I cringe as I don’t know that name and fear I have been exposed as a cultural illiterate. She mentions some titles (“The Alchemist? Yeah, I’ve at least heard of that!” slightly redeeming myself.). She says Coehlo reminds her somewhat of Gabriel Garcia Marquez whose One Hundred Years of Solitude is one of her favorites. I admitted I enjoyed that book (“even if I didn’t completely understand it”) and said I liked Love in the Time of Cholera much better. She’d read that one too. I asked which Coehlo book of the ones she mentioned I should start out with, and she said “probably The Alchemist,” (but I ended up reading “Eleven Minutes” this week instead).

While browsing through me e-library, she noticed all the Kurt Vonnegut titles and asked, “Are you a Vonnegut fan?” I said yes, and she said, “Did you know there’s a new Vonnegut Library right here in town?” I said “of course,” and she said “I live right across the street from it.” Now, this was starting to feel a little like fate, so I promised myself that I would (A) read a Coehlo book and (B) report back to her later. I’ve completed (A) and hopefully (B) can be accomplished on my next visit…

Sent from my iPad

Writer Paulo Coehlo:


  1. Dale Barthauer said,

    January 16, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    This is a great story, Jay!


  2. "new employee" said,

    January 27, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Yay! This was such a nice surprise pickle! Haha. What a pleasure it is to have met a fellow bibliophile in indy. I am now your ‘reg’ 🙂


    • Jay said,

      January 28, 2011 at 7:10 am

      Ha ha -“new employee” – I love it! – and am so glad you stopped by my blog. AND I’m so glad I stopped by “a favorite downtown bar” a few weeks ago too. I look forward to future impromptu ‘book club meetings’ at the bar… 🙂

      P.S. Don’t forget your homework: The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson


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