November 30, 2004

Meme du jour

Hugh Hewitt is asking folks for what modern novels have they read more than once?

Fortunately, it's times like this that I'm glad that my co-blogger is such an erudite chap as Robbo---for as our regular detractors (Hi Bill and Jeff!) know, I am actually illiterate: the character of "Steve-o" is actually played by a howler monkey from the Cleveland Zoo named "Dave" who pounds with his toe fingers on a specially designed Dell Laptop that can withstand regular rants of political invective, not to mention the odd thrown clump of feces.

Say hi Dave: "Oooh Ooooh AHHHHHH AHHHHH AHHHHHH!!!!!!! (insert sound of hurled feces hitting the bars of the monkeyhouse cage)

Anyhoo, there's a whole bunch of novels I've returned to over the years, but the one that I would have to say I've reread the most would be Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose. I started writing on the title page each time I've read it again on the now-decrepit paperback version that I got in the summer of 1987. Since the first summer (when I read it twice), I've revisited the Library 9 times. It resonated at first because of a class that Robbo and I had together (which I believe was the only one we had: Rob was an English major and I was in this wacky insane program called the College of Social Studies which was a triple major in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics. Let's just say Dave the monkey got very good at flinging feces at the computer extra fast), where was I? oh yes---we were in this art history class on the gothic cathedral. I remember doing my paper on the role of political symbolism for the Capetian kings of France in the development of gothic style, at the same time I was doing a papaer for class in the major on the political theory of Aquinas and the Scholastics. Eco's themes and his characters just exploded into my psyche, and to this day, when I want to get myself into a particularly tight frame of mind, I envision William of Baskerville standing in the winter garden, trying to think his way through the problem.

That, plus it is one of the greatest works of detective fiction ever written, the genre which is my favorite. (And, ignore the hell out of the movie. It sucks)

Oh yeah, and it had reeeeeeaaaaal purty pictures. (The other Eco book that I recommended the other day as an alternative to the Dan Brown schtick is Foucalt's Pendulum)

What about you?

(PS---I'm going to catch holy heck for this but I've only read the LOTR series once, and haven't ever had a hankering to go back through it)

Posted by Steve at November 30, 2004 10:36 AM

If you decide to ditch the paperback, or if it falls apart, try to find a copy of the Folio Society edition. Absolutely beautiful.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at November 30, 2004 06:37 PM

As an aside:

I assume your undergrad PPE major was modelled on the Oxford program of that name, which Evelyn Waugh dismissed as a "new, disreputable school" for "publicists and politicians."

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at November 30, 2004 06:43 PM

And didn't he know it!

I would only add to that description "and wannabe professorial dung flingers"

Posted by: Steve the LB at November 30, 2004 11:00 PM

Oh, yeah. I spent an entire summer getting through "Foucault's Pendulum." The book had me running to the library countless times researching the historical figures and secret societies Eco mentions, trying to separate fact from fiction. (This was in the pre-interweb days, you understand. We didn't have a Google.) A real barn-burner as they say. But "The Name of the Rose" is much better.

Posted by: Drew at December 1, 2004 02:56 PM

Well, I LOVED the movie of 'The Name of the Rose.'
Apparently it was seen by you, me, my husband and six other people in the world. I don't know about those other six, I know you hated it, but my husband and I loved it. We watch it at least once a year. Shameslessly, I will admit to be willing to pay money to watch Sean Connery read the Yellow Pages. ('Paginas amarillas' in Spanish.)
BUT you are apparently of the opinion that every scene in the book must be transcribed faithfully into the movie. Yes, well, you're like one of our daughters; she feels the same. As I'm sure you recall, the book opens with two pages of description of the front door! And a lot of interior dialogue. I mean, really, I'd still be watching the damn movie!
The movie was great! But the book was superb! An Italian writing about a murder in an Italian monastery and the Pro from Dover is an English gentleman/priest. Pure Sherlock Holmes, as I'm sure you've deduced from the protagonist's name. William of Baskerville!
Honey, it aint rocket science, just an entertaining romp through late-14th century Italian politics. Well, considering UNDERSTANDING late-14th century politics, maybe it is rocket science.
Yours in rocket science, philosophy and the odd good novel, Kathie in Mex

Posted by: kathieinmex at September 6, 2005 10:08 PM
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