I just finished reading The Alchemist (haha, one of the rare books of fiction on my bookshelf... I'll get to Da Vinci Code sometime... though, not sure if I left it in Toronto or not.)
Other than being a delightful read, what impressed me the most was the smoothness of the writing. I thought he did an interesting (and very good) job of intermingling the spirituality of Islam, Christianity, folk religion and Eastern mysticism (e.g., pantheism).
It's inevitable for me to see integration in all that I encounter (part of how I learn, I think). I love thinking about the "application of principles" from one area to another (say, accounting to theology, or secular management into a Christian environment). So, the principles in this book, despite the mixture of spiritualities, are aligned to principles which I deeply value.
In the spirit of the lifelong search of finding the Soul of the World, I relate to idea of a lifelong quest for wisdom by noticing the caravans while reading my books. I've started to learn to listen to my heart... especially in understanding the tensions of the heart as an interesting "check and balance" as presented here. I like to think I live in the present and eat when it's time to eat, not dwelling too much in the past or worrying too much about the future. And I am reminded of the tidbit of wisdom at the beginning of the book, to see the marvels of the world but not to forget the drops of oil in the spoon...