2 Books Like The Alchemist (and why I wrote them)

I feel a bit vain titling an article 2 Books Like the Alchemist (and why I wrote them) because such a widely loved novel, an exploration of such profound structures of human nature, is not something easily replicated. It’s like looking for a series like Harry Potter, or a movie like Pan’s Labyrinth.

I’m not sure those exist.

And I was never totally sure books like The Alchemist existed (though I’ve certainly looked, and I’ll list a few at the bottom of this post).

My First Book: Green and Purple Birds with Bright Orange Feet

When I started writing Green and Purple Birds with Bright Orange Feet (you can check that book out here), I wasn’t looking to write a story about a boy who leaves home and learns something profound, but that’s what it turned into. I wrote that book without any planning or structure, I sat down each day and closed my eyes, watching the scenes play out and writing down what I saw.

But I don’t think books can be written without the deep influence of every other book, movie, and song (and every experience) the author has loved.

And though it has been quite some time since I read The Alchemist, I do truly remember loving it.

Length: 151 Pages | Genre: Dark Fantasy / Magical Realism

Length: 155 Pages | Genre: Fantasy

And so Green and Purple Birds with Bright Orange Feet turned into a deep exploration of something we all contend with, and I think Paulo Coelho’s book does the same (though those things are quite different). Both books are filled with childlike wonder, love, and natural sensation.

My book is a bit more lyrical and dreamlike (think poetry), but the adventure and innocence of youth stand sturdy on the shoulders of a magical plot.

And that magical plot, the fantastical happenings of my first book, and every story I’d loved up to that point, led me deeper into the fantastical.

Tallulah and the Big Clock

My second book Tallulah and the Big Clock (tap here to buy it) took a small step away from the lyrical and dreamlike, and took on the challenges of malevolence and ethics in a fictional place, through the experiences of a young girl, Tallulah.

I am fascinated by the innocence of childlike wonder (perhaps it was The Alchemist that first gave me this fascination), and my second book kept that theme. Childlike wonder is the driver of so many grand adventures, and Tallulah certainly finds herself a grand adventure (secret maps, old books, close escapes, and a city captivated by wickedness).

I think it is perhaps a better story than Green and Purple Birds with Bright Orange Feet, and though they both give the reader something deep to think about (if the reader so chooses…), Tallulah’s story is grounded with clear good and evil. In Green and Purple Birds with Bright Orange Feet, the lines of good and evil are shadowy, secretive, and unknown even to me, the author.

The books are quite different, but I think they both appeal to readers who like The Alchemist.

And I like that.

Books like The Alchemist are books that inspire childlike wonder about the natural world, social structures, and the subtle magic that holds the world together, and gives people purpose.

While I didn’t plan out my first two books, the quiet moments I spent imagining the characters and their worlds were inspired by every great book I’ve read, including The Alchemist.

Perhaps my next book (or series) will continue to hold dearly the principles of childlike wonder and grand adventure The Alchemist so expertly upheld, and I hope my books will sit happily and securely on any bookshelf of magical, meaningful stories.

If you do read either of my books, tap here to reach out to me and let me know your thoughts.

A couple other books like The Alchemist I’ve read and enjoyed are Kim by Rudyard Kipling and Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse.