The Million Pound Note by Mark Twain

Man with a Million (1954) - IMDb

The Million Pound Note is a novella written by American writer Mark Twain and published in 1893. It tells the adventures of Henry Adams, an American boy who is an impoverished clerk in London. Two rich brothers in London made a bet to lend Henry an uncashable million-dollar note to see how he would wind up in a month. Instead of starving or being arrested, Henry became rich and won the heart of a beautiful lady. This article reproduces the satire and humor in the master’s novels with slightly exaggerated artistic techniques and exposes the money-worship ideology in the early 20th century.

At the beginning of the novel, Henry floats too far out to sea in his small sailboat. When he arrived in London, Henry had no one with him. After using up his last dollar, he was left without food and clothing. While Henry loitered hungrily in Portland Square, a child threw a pear with a bite thrown into the gutter. Henry stared hungrily at the muddy treasure, drooling. Just as the reader was nervous that Henry was about to grab the “treasure”, “Please come in” — just five short words, like a bolt from the blue, released the reader’s nerves. Henry’s life changed.

The young man in the novel is a true portrayal of Mark Twain. In Nevada, Mark Twain was a journalist in Virginia City, Nevada’s gold and silver region. Mark Twain was not immune to the gold rush, and he was sensitive to rumors and new opportunities. At that time, many miners who had discovered gold and silver mines were selling their shares in New York City to raise money, and Mark Twain invested all his savings, and even all his royalties, in buying silver mines.

-Coreen C.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist is about a young boy named Santiago who hears about buried treasure and actually discovers it is his personal legend. He must go and find his personal legend to fully complete his life.

The book adds a new component in books that I’ve never read before, a philosophical element. When Santiago is on his journey he meets an Alchemist. An alchemist is a person who can turn lead into gold. In this book he possess the Philosophers Stone and the Elixir of Life. They give him the power to turn lead into gold and give him immortality.

They have many philosophical conversations about life attracts life and how most of the times people don’t believe the ridiculous things people say. Most of the things the Alchemist say is actually true. There are many sequences in the book that seem really weird but most of the time they are actually pretty cool. At first usually he has to channels the soul of the world and use it to do the amazing things he does

At the start of the book there is a main idea that you can be whatever you want to be. You don’t have to listen to your parents or anyone else. If they say one thing but you say the other then go what you say. Then as the book begins to fold out you start making progress to your treasure. There were many times that Santiago said that this journey is worth nothing but truthfully at the end it was worth every penny.

He has met many people such as the crystal merchant, Fatima his love of his life, and The Englishman who first tried to do alchemy. Later on in the book it is realized that the true treasure that lied at the end of the pyramids was the journey itself.

The Alchemist is a great read if you ever have the chance you should read it

-Max U.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. The book is also available to download for free from Overdrive