'Anthology' comes from the Greek word that stands for garlands - a bouquet of flowers. An anthology then, should be a sort of reminder of something else, a small token of something much larger. In the case of flowers, they bring with their fragrance and colorfulness the reminder of the fields, of a season. Coelho's anthology, therefore, is not only a collection of texts or poems, but a gift, something arranged according to his sensitivities, to give to others. The selection of books presented in this volume have been chosen as if from a vast field of flowers, stretching infinitely into time's horizon. Coelho's selection is ordered in to the four elements, symbolizing both our world on all its directions, and the way we dwell in this world, the way we say it. In 'Earth', we find writers as diverse as Oscar Wilde and D H Lawrence; in 'Air', Nelson Mandela and Gabriel Garcia Marques; in 'Fire', Rumi and Mary Shelley; and, in 'Water', Hans Christian Anderson and Machiavelli.
Paulo Coelho is one of the most widely read authors in the world. In 1986, at the age of 38, Paulo Coelho walked the Road to Santiago, and it was there that he reconverted to Christianity and found again the faith bequeathed to him by the Jesuit fathers of his school years. He would later describe this experience in his first book, The Pilgrimage, published in 1987. The following year, his second book, The Alchemist, established his worldwide reputation. Subsequent books were Brida (1990), O Dom Supremo: The Gift (1991), The Valkyries (1992), Maktub (1994), By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept (1994), The Fifth Mountain (1996), Love Letters from a Prophet (1997), The Manual of the Warrior of Light (1997), Veronika Decides to Die (1998) and The Devil and Miss Prym (2000). Among his recent novels are Eleven Minutes - bestselling fiction title worldwide in 2003 -, The Zahir (2005), Like the Flowing River (2006), The Witch of Portobello (2006) and The Winner Stands Alone (2008). He has received numerous prestigious international awards. The critics have praised his poetic, realistic and philosophical style, and the symbolic language that does not speak to our minds, but to our hearts. He has been a member of the prestigious Brazilian Academy of Letters since 2002 and he was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace in 2007.