Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My favorite five quotes from the book and their explanation

Generaly, the book is very good. I recommend it to everyone, but the people who don't like a detailed description of sex. Although the introduction is very different from the rest of the book and talking about her puppy loves doesn't interest me so much, her teenage story already starts to be connected to her prostitution story. The story is strong, emotional and very thoughtful. Not only that you can get to know a great, adventurous story, you can also find many interesting ideas and thoughts.

"And if nothing belongs to me, then there is no point wasting my time looking after things that aren't mine; it's the best to live as today were the first (or last) day of my life." page 27

This is a thought that comes to Maria's mind when Maria finds out that there is no reason to look back at the past and stay in Brazil, and decides to leave her homecountry.

"Since you can't open the windows in the plane (I have never expected that. What a shame you can't breathe in the pure air!), I will die here. But before I die I want to fight for life. If I can walk on my own, I can go wherever I like." page 45

A month after arriving to Geneva and still working as a samba dancer Maria wrote this in her diary. She was miserable, but didn't want to return to Brazil and be laughed at for not making it. Even though she felt awful, she was sure to overcome it and get back on her feet again and be happy.

"He wouldn't pay a thousand francs just to have an orgasm. He wants to be happy. I do too, everyone does and yet no one is. What have I got to lose if I decide to become a... it's a difficult word to think or even write... but let's be blunt... What have I got to lose if I decide to become a prostitute for a while? Honour. Dignity. Self-respect. Although when I think about it I've never had any of those things. I didn't ask to be born, I've never found anyone to love me, I've always made the wrong decisions  - I've always made the wrong decisions - now I'm letting life decide for me." page 66

Deciding what she was really supposed to do Maria found out that there is really nothing to lose. She never had anything so why would she want to have it now? She decides to have sex with men for money without feeling bad about it, since there is no reason to regret it or feel bad about it.

"Every human being experiences his or her own desire; it is a part of our personal treasure and, although, as an emotion it can drive people away, generally speaking, it brings those who are important to us closer. It is an emotion chosen by my soul, and it is so intense that it can infect everything and everyone around me." page 178

Maria falls in love with Ralf Hart, a Swiss artist. She wonders what love really is and what we can expect from it. She is happy to have someone like Hart, because unlike other men, he is not trying to own her.

"Ralf was holding a bunch of roses , and his eyes were full of light, the light she had seen on the first day, when he was painting her while the cold wind outside had made her feel awkward to be sitting there." page 287

Until now I only used the quotes Maria used in her diary, now I wanted to show you how the book is written when Maria is not talking. This happens in the end of the book when Ralf Hart surprises her at the airport in Paris.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A critique and my response to it :)

"It is not TIME that changes man, nor KNOWLEDGE; the only thing that can change someone's mind is LOVE." a inspiring line from the book. :)

Paulo Coelho once again wrote an inspiring book which will shiver your skin to a state of Goosebumps. :)
As I was roaming the mall, I always find time to go to the nearest bookstore and buy a book. Looking all over the shelves, I found Coelho's book all arranged in one corner. Knowing that all his books are awesome, I decided to grab another book written by him. Surprisingly, I found "Eleven Minutes" to be such an interesting book.

At home, I easily put a hand on this book, not wanting to repeat the same thing that happened on the book "The Greatest Miracle."

Absolutely, I did not regret my decision. :)
Every page of this book was really disturbing in a way that it will change your views about "sex" and "prostitutes." I believe that Coelho wrote a masterpiece.

I learned a lot of things about viewing life in a positive way, and changing old things to a better new way.

To inspire you to grab this book, I will summarize what I have learned, and this is it:

"Every challenges that we encounter are just part of our life in order to mold us to be a better person. If we let it to overcome us, then we lose a chance of a lifetime. But if we overcome it, then we become a better person. Taking risk is better than not taking anything at all. Playing safe is only a necessity to those people who wants to be stuck up in a state where they're currently belong, but to those who wants to find the adventure of life and see what lies ahead the store, they will try to play it the way it should be even though it means risking their lives. You cannot achieve anything if you do not go out of your comfort zone. Seeking what is not around is better than seeking what you already know.
If you love a person, it doesn't mean that you have to go to bed with him/her and promise him/her everything. After getting what you want, you will leave him/her and say that it was the best thing. That's stupid Bitch!! The truth is this: If you love a person, you will not only touch her/him, but you should also unite with his/her soul and feel the things he/she is feeling. Because pure love means loving her/him beyond what we cannot see. For not all things that are seen by the naked eye are true.
Another point, I learned that living to achieve our dreams means risking everything we had, for better days and better things are yet to come.
Most importantly, I learned that we should learn how to ask and throw away that "shameful" attitude. For in asking, we will learn a lot of things. If we do not learn how to ask, we will be as ignorant as before. According to others, we will be a coconut with nothing inside, but beautiful outside."

My response
I agree with the author of the critique, though it is not a professional one, since I couldn’t find any. The author opens the readers eyes a little bit. He shows that love and relationships aren’t about owning someone but about being with each other with no extra expectations. The girl also says that for getting anything or while trying to reach our goals we have to give up the things from past, but if we do, there is no need to be afraid not to get better stuff. However, I found the book a little bit boring on the first few pages. The author was talking about Maria’s puppy loves.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Task 10

IMPORTANT INFO!! There is no play or a movie based on my book, therefore I have discussed it with Mr. Healy and he told me to compare my book with another one I have read written by the same author.
Veronika decides to die is very interesting book. 

Veronika is a Slovenian librarian who suffers from a huge dissatisfaction with her life. Therefore she decides to commit a suicide by overdosing her sleeping pills. While waiting for her death she reads a magazine with an article called Where is Slovenia? She writes a letter to the editor explaining that she committed a suicide because the people don’t even know where her country is. However, her plan doesn’t work out, she wakes up in a mental hospital being told she only has one week left. Being aware of this fact Veronika decides to enjoy the rest of her life to the last bit. She does whatever she wants to at moment without caring about what the other people think. She falls in love with a schizophrenic Eduard. She experiences hatred, love and many sexual acts. In the end of the story Eduard and her escape from the hospital, have sex and get drunk and she waits for her death again. However we find out that what the doctor told her is not true and they only wanted her to enjoy her life again.

Although the author is Brazilian, both of these books take place in Europe. In both books the protagonist is a beautiful, young woman who doesn’t enjoy her life and wants to change it somehow – Maria decides to leave her country and Veronika decides to commit a suicide. Both of the characters like books too, Maria keeps visiting the library in Geneva and Veronica is a librarian herself. The books are based on religion and deep philosophical thoughts as the author’s faith is very strong. Veronika and Maria are afraid of trying something new in the beginning, but unpleasant life situation makes them throw away their good manners and do what they want. Veronika starts drinking, having sex in public and telling people what she really thinks and Maria becomes a prostitute. For both of the girls these things were considered impossible, unfeasible and unbelievable before. Changing their lives entirely they finally find themselves and live their lives way better. In the end of both of the stories they find love and are happy in their unusual relationships. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

The protagonist

As there is no antagonist in the book, I would like to talk about Maria's primary motivation. Why does she decide not to marry her boss? Why does she decide to leave Brazil? Why does she decide to become a prostitute? I feel like I keep mentioning the same things over and over in every single post. However, that's what I actually AM supposed to do...... Haha.... Whatever... Let's have a look at my lovely protagonist.....

As a child Maria experiences two puppy loves, unfortunately both of the guys break her heart and that’s what makes her stop believing in the true love. On the other hand she doesn’t like the thought of true love’s no existence. It stays deep down in her heart. When she gets older and starts to work in a little boring store selling fabrics her boss offers her a marriage, but she rejects, because she doesn’t like him. She decides to try something new instead and she leaves Brazil in order to work in Switzerland. Her motivation of moving to Switzerland is finding herself, earning money and experiencing something new.

Another motivation in here is choosing to be a prostitute instead of a dancer. She doesn’t feel very happy after coming to Geneva (nor before that). She works as a dancer but then when her agent invites her for a dinner with a wealthy Arabian man and the Arab offers her 1000 Francs for spending a night with him. Firstly she starts to cry, but then the adventure and the idea of having so much money just for one sex makes her say YES. The second day she says: “When I stopped being who I am I finally found myself.”

When Maria decides to leave her boyfriend Ralf her motivation is her belief that everything should be abandoned while the best time. Although Ralf and Maria are happy together she buys a ticket to fly back to Rio de Janeiro without telling him. This might be the last sign of any kind of motivation in the book. J

Thursday, April 5, 2012

What is luck, faith, and coincidence in Paulo Coelho's point of view :)

Hi again, Id like to share a video with you. It is not really connected with 11 minutes, but I think it is very interesting. It gives you an idea of what Mr Coelho thinks like. Enjoy watching it :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A few things about the incredible Paulo Coelho

In August 1947 a star was born in Rio de Janeiro. In his early age, Paulo Coelho attended a Jesuit school and then decided to be a writer; however his idea was extremely disliked by his parents. Coelho observed the professional writers and did what they do - opposed the traditional path. He ended up in a mental institution, because his parents thought he was insane. He broke away from the hospital three times knowing that his problems are not serious at all. Now when he looks back at those times he does not blame his parents at all, he respects them and knows that they only wanted the best for him and wanted to help him. Fulfilling his parents’ wishes Coelho studied law for one year and abandoned his big dream. After that year he decided that this is not the way he wants to spend his youth and became a hippie and travelled South America, Mexico, North America and Europe and he started to use drugs. When he returned to Brazil he worked as a songwriter, journalist, actor, and theatre director, but his life still didn’t get very easy – he got arrested for subversive activities – the government found his lyrics left-winged and satanic. After being released again Coelho went to the pilgrimage route, Santiago de Compostela. Despite being happy, Coelho still didn’t fulfill his biggest dream – being a writer and so he went back to Brazil and pursued writing full-time. The first book he wrote, Hell Archives, was not successful at all, but he didn’t give up and kept writing. His fourth book, The Alchemist, became one of the world’s bestsellers with almost 70 million copies sold. The Alchemist also holds a Guinness World Record for being the most translated book – 71 languages – from a living author. He wrote many more books such as my favorite Veronica Decides to Die or Devil and Ms. Prym. Coelho is the all-time bestselling Portuguese language author, nevertheless he doesn’t only concentrate on his fame and popularity, but he is helping the ones who need it. In 1996 he had established the Paulo Coelho Institute, which takes care of and helps children and elderly people with financial prolems. He is still alive and keeps writing and hopefully will share some more great stories with us. I love him and admire him for who he is and for the way is able to explain the unexplainable feelings inside our souls. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Themes, themes, themes :)

Because what I think doesnt match with what the author thinks (which kind of sucks, right), I am going to use a quote I have already used once. When Mr. Coelho was asked what the main themes are, he answered “We live in a world of standardised behaviour, standardised beauty, quality, intelligence, efficiency. We believe there is a standard for everything, and we believe, too, that if we stick to that standard we’ll be safe. Because of this, we have created a kind of ‘standardised sex’, which, in fact, consists of nothing but a string of lies: vaginal orgasm, virility above all else, that it's better to pretend than to disappoint your partner, etc. As a direct consequence of this, millions of people have been left feeling frustrated, unhappy and guilty. It also lies at the root of all kinds of aberrant behaviour, for example, paedophilia, incest and rape. Why do we behave in this way with something that is so important?”

Okay. In my opinion there are three main themes -sex,  dreams versus adventures and the, so called, ‘inner light’.

The sex theme is very clear, I suppose, since it is a story about a prostitute and Mr. Coelho describe her sexual practices and experiences in detail. The book describes what sex really is, what is bring to us and how to do it (yes, I am serious). In my opinion it also shows how it is misused – prostitution. For example when Marias client beats her up and she is still happy for the money she gets for sleeping with him because then she can send it to her poor parents in Brazil. It shows good and bad sides of sex. Actually, when I think about it, it only shows the good ones, but to me some of them seem bad…. Well, I guess every reader has to decide it themselves.

In the book there are also a few situations where the protagonist has to choose either to get what she dreams of to get in her life or do something crazy just for experience, money, change…. This one is a good example. In the beginning of the book Maria is a young girl who keeps waiting for her ‘Prince Charming’ who would come and take her to his big house and they would have kids together and all those things attached to a loving couple. After some time she gets disappointed because there is still no one there for her like this and she decides to go to Europe. She still hopes to fall in love inside her heart, but instead she chooses to work as a prostitute. Why? Maybe experience, money, adventure, excitement….

The book also concentrates on something that Paulo Coelho calls the ‘inner light’. According to the author it is something everyone has inside. We cannot define, nor see it. You just feel it. For example the inner light is the reason people fall in love. It doesn’t matter if you fall in love for the first sight or after ten years knowing each other. It is just something that attracts you to a person for no explainable reason. I think we all know this feeling, but the author has written it down J

Friday, February 24, 2012

Why 11 minutes?

Some of you may wonder why the book is called Eleven Minutes.... According to the protagonist, Maria, 11 minutes is the ideal duration of sex.... Just wanted to make it clear to you :)

Critical moments in the book

Hey guys, today Im going to tell you about all the moments in the book that influenced the plot somehow. WARNING FOR THE ONES WHO HAVENT READ IT YET BUT WANT TO READ IT: If you read this post, you will know how it is going to end up, therefore it is not that interesting anymore.

So, chronologically.....

First of all Maria gets bored of her life in a teeny-tiny village in Brazil and so she makes an appointment with an European business representative in Rio de Janeiro. The agent likes her and gives her an oppurtunity to be a samba dancer in Geneva. So we move on to the point when she finally lives in Geneva.

While being a samba dancer she talks to her boss and Vivian, a cold Swiss woman, and those two  introduce her to Rue de Bern - a Swiss street in the red district of Geneva. Maria realizes how much more money she could be earning and quits her job. She becomes a high-class prostitute in a Copacabana bar. She gets absolutely devoted to sex with strangers and just enjoys her life and does what she likes - reads books, writes in her diary and works in the bar. She is much better than the other prostitutes, because she is extremely beautiful (something like the girl in my post called Characters) and she does not only please her clients physically, but she is also kind of therapist, she talks to them about their problems and helps them solve it. This all makes her really popular and wanted. She is happy, but deep inside her heart there is a tiny little hope for a true love.

One day Maria goes to a café and meets Ralf Hart, a Swiss artist, and they fall in love. He can see her 'inner light', as Paulo Coelho calls it, and she can see his too. They hang out together a few times and also spend a night together. Even though their relationship is the most amazing thing I have ever read about, Maria decides to leave Geneva and forget about this adventure (I wanna slap her in this part).  She goes back to Brazil.

This book is totally awesome, because there are many turning points and one can never predict what the next page is going to bring. So! One of those turning points is when Maria goes back to Brazil. Let’s go back to the night before she left. Ralf came to her house and they had amazing time – no need to tell you the detailsJ.  The second day she goes to Paris just to hang around the city for one day and then she is planning to take the plane to Rio de Janeiro.  Yes, I said she is planning to. It doesn’t work out though. When she arrives to Paris there is someone she loves waiting for her at the airport asking her to come back to Geneva. But before they go to see the Eiffel tower J.

These are the moments influence the plot of the book the most - at least according to what I think haha.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

How is the book interconnected with today’s society?

Paulo Coelho does not mention what time period it takes place in. Anyways, when I read the book I imagine it to be happening in the end of the 1980’s. The story is quite contemporary though.

Why do I think the story is contemporary? Let me copy a small part of an interview with Paulo Coelho. He describes the main thought of the book. After you have read that, you all will agree with the story being contemporary.

“What is the central idea in Eleven Minutes?”
“We live in a world of standardised behaviour, standardised beauty, quality, intelligence, efficiency. We believe there is a standard for everything, and we believe, too, that if we stick to that standard we’ll be safe. Because of this, we have created a kind of ‘standardised sex’, which, in fact, consists of nothing but a string of lies: vaginal orgasm, virility above all else, that it's better to pretend than to disappoint your partner, etc. As a direct consequence of this, millions of people have been left feeling frustrated, unhappy and guilty. It also lies at the root of all kinds of aberrant behaviour, for example, paedophilia, incest and rape. Why do we behave in this way with something that is so important?”

The theme of the book – sex and prostitution - is just a metaphor for people’s prejudices, standards and daily routine.  The people look at you badly and don’t forget to judge you every single day if you differ a bit. Inside of them they dream about being different too, but they would never ever admit it. This is exactly the way it works in today’s society, therefore the book relates a lot to today’s world.


Each character will be posted with a picture of how I imagine them to look like :)

Maria, the protagonist, is the main character. She is a young Brazilian girl bored of living in the middle of nowhere in western Brazil. She keeps waiting for her “prince” to come to the village and take her away. She wants to truly love a guy and wants the love back from him, raise a few kids and live an ordinary life. By the years of waiting her opinion about love and guys generally gets bitter and she decides to go to Switzerland.  In Switzerland she becomes a high class prostitute, but then she falls in love……..  Maria is an especially beautiful, confident, adaptable, passionate feminist.
One of Maria’s beautiful quotes in the book. “At every moment of our lives we all have one foot in a fairy tale and the other in the abyss.” Paulo Coelho.

Heidi, the librarian, looks like a quite girl, but she is the one Maria comes to talk about sex to. She is not shy to ask or answer to Maria’s questions and they talk about sex in metaphors, so the people around don’t get it. They meet pretty often, since Maria is a voracious reader.

Nyah is a prostitute from the Philippines. When Maria starts working in Copacabana (the brothel/bar) she is the only one talking to her and giving her advice about how to treat the men and how to behave while being in Copacabana. She is Maria’s only friend, because the other girls are jealous of Marias physical perfection.  She is the one that helps Maria keep the job and become really good at it.

While living in Geneva Maria meets Ralf Hart, a painter, in a café. He is a nice, good-looking, smart, funny, sensitive 29-years old guy.  He was divorced twice, but now, that he met Maria he believes that his love-life can be great again. Maria meeting Ralf causes a critical change in the whole plot and Maria’s dream about true love comes true.

There are, of course more characters in the book, but these are the ones influencing the book somehow and I don’t consider the others very important.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Nine years ago a very distinguished Brazilian author, Paulo Coelho, published a great story called Eleven Minutes. No wonder this book was translated into more than forty languages – even me, a person disgusted by reading, came back to this book three times and enjoyed it a lot. Coelho’s style of writing is very philosophical and it makes the reader think a lot. Therefore it is very likely to find something new we haven’t noticed before every single time reading it over again.

The book introduces us to a story about a girl from Brazil, Maria, who is bored with her ordinary life in a country she’s always lived in, so she decides to find her fortune in Switerland. For now, I am not going to say more, since the story is very interesting and there are many unexpected extracts in the book.  

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Hello, I have no idea whats going on or what book I should choose, so I cant really write anything and I am waiting for you to come and help me haha.... Enjoy your stay in Romania :)