Don’t you love it when you go on holiday and the villa/hotel/ B&B has a selection of books which previous inhabitants have left behind? These are books I would probably not select for myself but they are there winking at me with that once read, soft spine feel. I have a soft spot for these cast off books, which explains why no charity shop is safe when I have it in my sights.
So we went to Cornwall and the house we stayed in had a full shelf of these treasures. Never mind the conch shells and battered Jenga set, I went straight for the books. To be honest, it was a little disappointing. There were the usual beach reads, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (that book must have sold over a billion copies by now – it’s everywhere!!) and a few I have read before, then my eye fell on The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho. Mmmh.
Paulo is walking the road to Santiago in Spain. Something which, I believe, many pilgrims have done before him. He is doing it to attain some higher knowledge and gain his sword (?). I found this difficult to relate to. Others have gained a deeper meaning and insight from his journey but all I saw was a slightly deranged man, walking across Spain whilst upsetting children and woman in their homes because he believes their dogs are devils or they have some higher meaning for him.
I may have been missing something but for me this book fell flat. I didn’t believe in it and actually felt quite uncomfortable with how Paulo is supposed to have conducted himself whilst on this pilgrimage. I say supposed because I am not completely sure I believe it all happened.
In future, I might just stick with the books I take with me on holiday.