A Reader's Guide to Unfamiliar Literature
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A Good Place To Start

TitleVotes 
Foucault's Pendulum 3
The Name of the Rose 1
Baudolino 1
How to Travel with a Salmon & Other Essays 1

A Bad Place To Start

TitleVotes 
The Island of the Day Before 3

Umberto Eco (1932 - )

added by UrbaneSpaceman

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Please consider recommending where to begin reading this author, or where not to. A few words about your experiences reading this author and why you make the recommendations you do will be helpful to other users. If you are the author or have studied this author extensively, please say so.

UrbaneSpaceman September 2nd, 2006 04:14 AM PST

The books I've put into the bibliography so far are only the novels he has written. There are plenty of non-fiction books worth checking out too. If I get the time I will try and update the bibliography later.

My personal favourite is Focault's pendulum. I've read it three times now and it just gets better each time. The first time it took me almost 6 months as I was constantly looking up references. The second time I read it in 2 days. I'd recommend both methods ;-) Without spoiling it I'd say it's the ultimate conspiracy theory book.

dantesgrl January 28th, 2007 01:10 PM PST

Eco is at the top of my list of favorite contemporary authors!!!! Foucault's Pendulum is truly a fantastic novel! It is extremely complex though - it spans multiple continents and centuries while exploring the evolutions of occultism, gnoticism, conspiracy theories...

'Baudolino' addresses some of these same topics but is a much easier read - it also includes quests for the Holy Grail, the Lost Tribe of Israel and Prester John, and along the way the protagonist finds a unicorn; what more could you ask for :)

"It is April 1204, and Constantinople, the splendid capital of the Byzantine Empire, is being sacked and burned by the knights of the Fourth Crusade. Amid the carnage and confusion, one Baudolino saves a historian and high court official from certain death at the hands of the crusading warriors and proceeds to tell his own fantastical story. Born a simple peasant in northern Italy, Baudolino has two major gifts-a talent for learning languages and a skill in telling lies. When still a boy he meets a foreign commander in the woods, charming him with his quick wit and lively mind. The commander-who proves to be Emperor Frederick Barbarossa-adopts Baudolino and sends him to the university in Paris, where he makes a number of fearless, adventurous friends. Spurred on by myths and their own reveries, this merry band sets out in search of Prester John, a legendary priest-king said to rule over a vast kingdom in the East-a phantasmagorical land of strange creatures with eyes on their shoulders and mouths on their stomachs, of eunuchs, unicorns, and lovely maidens. With dazzling digressions, outrageous tricks, extraordinary feeling, and vicarious reflections on our postmodern age, this is Eco the storyteller at his brilliant best."

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