Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Very Important and Well-written Historical Fiction--The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

Genius on every page, one of those classics that will live forever in those who read it.  The first historical fiction I read; made me want to do it myself.  Gets you caught up in Roger Bacon, etc., whether you're normally nerdy like that or not.  Total immersion in the time.  The mystery itself is well-told, as well.  The best thing about it is that the core of the mystery is inherent on the era, the beliefs, and the superstitions of the people alive at the time.  Some very strong things to say about freedom, censorship, and the importance of BOOKS!  Yes!  And not just the reading of them, which anyone with a screen of any kind can do today.  The impetus here is on ownership, on the freedom to read, to know for oneself.  There are so many good, fundamental issues covered here that I cannot go into them all without seeming like a blubbering fool, but suffice it to say that it covers the issues of its time in a very non-preachy way, and the reader understands that the issues addressed are not just for that time, but for all times.

Books.  Ideas.  Freedom.  Access to knowledge.  (Remember that back then only those involved with the Church could read at all, and only the churches, monasteries and universities had access to books--outside of the very rich, of course.)  The right to learn.  The right to know.  The right to learn on your own, because only those with the books and the ability to read them have access to information, and only those people could dispense that information--as they saw fit--to everyone else.

Very important book.  Superior wit, intelligence and skill on every page.  Read this one, no matter what genre you normally like.  If any of the above issues are important to you--or if you just like a very intelligent read--you owe it to yourself to get this book and read it.  It'll stay with you.

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