Some ‘Light’ Reading

The last month might as well have been called “Medieval-ary,” because that’s pretty much where my head has been. Not just with the food and drink experiements, but just my whole attitude.

I’ve started to re-read Umberto Eco’s 1980’s classic, The Name of the Rose.  This is not a text for the faint-at-heart; it’s a very intense and in-depth attempt to recreate the religious and philosophical arguments of the fourteenth century.  Toss in anger towards a corrupt pope, a threatening emperor, and a renegade inquisitor, and you’ve got yourself several days of reading material.  Did I mention that it also contains a rather interesting murder mystery?  Monks are being creatively murdered at a monastery in 1327, and it’s up to William of Baskerville (literally, Sherlock Holmes with a beard, cowl, and tonsure) to crack the case.  There’s no “John of Watson,” however; William’s underappreciated partner is a novice named Adso.

The film version featured Sean Connery and Christian Slater, but it mangled Eco’s narrative beyond recognition.  I read the book about fifteen years ago, and it’s a testament to Eco’s writing that even on the second trek through his medieval world, I’m still captivated.

Definitely a good read if one is up to the task.


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