that's it?

Oct. 17th, 2005 03:44 pm
fable: (Default)
[personal profile] fable
To all the people out there who enjoyed reading Umberto Eco's Name Of The Rose - how?

Date: 2005-10-17 09:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
3. See your NotR--which I loathed--and raise you DaVici Code--which I couldn't get past 30 pages--man.
4. Then again, I think Harry Potter is the shit, so what do I know.

I think you're either into this kind of stuff or not. I adore Penman's historical novels, but couldn't get into her historical mysteries at all, either.

Date: 2005-10-18 02:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
omg. DaVinci Code was just awful, no ifs ands or buts about it. And pretty much everyone I knew had read and liked it, which was so ajsdfl;jklfadjfa;k!inducing.

I think you're either into this kind of stuff or not.

Yeaah, I'm starting to think that too.

Date: 2005-10-18 02:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
for the record, i didn't like the way the da vinci code was written. my bias is mostly stylistic i guess? i can't substantiate that, i'm afraid; that was just my first impression.

(checks your latest post's mood) ...grumpy?

(hearts til grumpy goes away)

Date: 2005-10-18 09:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
for the record, i didn't like the way the da vinci code was written. my bias is mostly stylistic i guess?

Yeah, I didn't either. It's been so long that I read it that I can't remember exactly what rubbed me wrong though - just that a lot "" of things did.

(hearts til grumpy goes away)

♥ ♥ ♥

Date: 2005-11-03 03:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
davinci code just struck me as mediocre, although since i didn't know any of the research i found it readable for that. i'm NOT a mysteries fan.

name of the rose i read recently and, well, it was heavy and gothic and ridiculously erudite and i think if i were more into puzzles i'd have had more fun imagining the architecture but as my mind isn't very 3D i just went, oh nifty and read on.

it was also insanely pretentious and the point was belabored into oblivion halfway through; i liked it only for the hero who was essentially sherlock holmes as a monk.

what? i ADORE sherlock holmes.


Date: 2005-10-17 09:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well ... the "solution" to the mystery sucked, I agree, but everything leading up to it was cool? And I loved the labyrinth?

If nothing else, I loved the very last part ... very appropriate and nuanced and sad.

Date: 2005-10-18 02:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, the last part was great. My favorite part of the book, really.

Date: 2005-10-17 09:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
because it was a really fun, long-winded trip? XD

i kinda liked -foucault's pendulum- better, though that took another reading and a half before it really got under my skin. the ending was gorgeous ♥ might reread -the name of the rose- sometime.

Date: 2005-10-17 10:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I didn't really understand Foucault's Pendulum; became totally confused at the ending and threw up my hands, what's with the trombone or trumpet or whatever its was?

Date: 2005-10-18 01:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I loved Foucault's Pendulum but never understood it. *dies* I just read it out of uh, amusement, I guess-- I especialy liked the explanation of why certain numbers are mythologically important.

By which I mean, Sai, I have only read the first page of Name of the Rose whereas I went through the entire Foucault's Pendulum despite my not understanding it. read Cryptonomicon! Stephenson is wordy and wordy and wordy and cannot end his books properly but at least he's amusing.

Date: 2005-10-18 03:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I don't think I have enough background in nutty conspiracy theories to properly appreciate Foucault's Pendulum. Plus, at some points I did lose track of the plot... I read it too fast. XD

Date: 2005-10-18 08:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
i suppose it helped that i was into researching the templars and the rosicrucians when i reread -pendulum-... before that i was like WTFCONF00ZED and i couldn't get very far. know what, i do not remember the trumpet? it must have been significant for it to be brought up though! (shot through the noggin)

Date: 2005-10-18 05:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, all I know about them comes from a book about modern 'secrets,' alongside the Mrs. Field's recipe. The Rosicrucians IRL are somewhat less inspiring.

It's on the last page or something. I should reread the book, maybe it'll make more sense now.

Date: 2005-10-19 12:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
ooh, m.e.! Came across a rather amusing review of Foucault's Pendulum in amazon the other day, that had little to do with the content of the book itself, but anyway. c&ping here (why oh why doesn't amazon allow us to link specific reviews? Q_Q):

A few years back, a friend of mine who was an assistant publicist in Hollywood told me that there were some prominent actors (Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Ted Danson, Kirsty Ally, Richard Gere and several others) who discovered through focus groups that the general public's net impression of their powers of intuition, perspicacity and discovery were idling just to the south of those of Elmer Fudd (you know, the fat cartoon guy who twied to shoot the wabbit). More succinctly: people thought they were stupid.

This was a serious problem for the actors and their financial backers as it was apparent that this would limit the range and type of roles that they would be offered. And since these were proven, bankable stars, this was a problem that needed fixing, and fixing fast. Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, the solution was not to get these folks into classes, or have them give speaches on erudite matters or become involved in intellectual pursuits. No, the solution was much more Hollywood than that -- and here it is: each one of these stars was to be photographed ("candidly" -- wink, wink) at outdoor cafes or parks or wherever, casually leafing through one of two books: Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon, and Foucault's Pendulum, by, you guessed it: Umberto Eco.

Now, neither of these books were chosen lightly. And I won't get into the why's and wherefores of the selection process, but suffice it to say that these books were chosen because they were so completely and totally unapproachable that no one connected with the Hollywood scene would ever, and I mean never, never ever, spend the time required to ask the stars questions about the material -- most would just assume that anyone who even bothered owning one of these books was smart. The good news for several of these stars is that this harmless ploy worked (a truly victimless crime!)

I doubt the accuracy (mainly because I don't think that Gravity's Rainbow is all that unapproachable, and doubt that Foucault's Pendulum is, either, and if I was a journalist I would so ask them about it just to put them on the spot), but there's the tiniest seed of doubt, that maybe it is true, and it's funny for me to picture that.

Date: 2005-10-19 11:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
ahahaha i can't recall any hollywood star i know who waved around a copy of -pendulum- onscreen -- but hell if i were a publicist, that would be a very good ploy! they'd probably restrict the book-toting to photoshoots, where the journalists can't take the mandatory potshots... and then buy cliff's notes for the actors right before the next press con.

been trying to avoid mentioning this, but back in university, -foucault's pendulum- was what all the geeks lugged around, and hardly ever read. it was known as "the thick book you lug around when you want to look intelligent." some of them even admitted they couldn't read through the book -- which was why they carried it around, hoping they could finish it someday XD

Date: 2005-10-17 10:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It's the pomo, dude. Or more like, it is refreshing to read if you've been sick of reading the usual novelistic or sffic view of the medieval period plus rousing humanist themes. But then, am not a mystery reader and read it for the historical aspects.

Date: 2005-10-18 01:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
read it for the historical aspects.

Same, same (although, I do enjoy a bit of Hercule Poirot every now and then). ^^ The semiotic overtones are kind of fun, too.

Date: 2005-10-18 02:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ooh. So in part it was the novelty factor, for you?

And, hmm, I think I did go into this expecting a mystery novel, for it to be an AU of Sherlock Holmes (William Baskervilles?), and in that, imo, it failed, because the resolution of the mystery was very underwhelming and the plotting - could've been tighter. I think in actuality it was more an au of Plato's Phaedrus (with William serving as a postmodern Socrates who at the same time expounds and doubts reason - his whole bit about if there are universal laws then God would have to follow them too) in the trappings of a mystery novel, with bits of le roman de la rose thrown in for kicks. And I've never liked either of those books, practically had to be tied down to read them (that, or be threatened by a bad grade, same difference really), so I suppose it'd make sense that I wouldn't like this one.

Date: 2005-10-18 05:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Pretty much. I don't read mystery novels, basically, so it didn't bother me. It doesn't really work as an AU of anything, IMHO. Eco is just being intertextual there, and IMHO the resolution is underwhelming because the mechanics of the mystery aren't really the point and it's all in the semiotics, the thematics, and the asides about the poverty of Christ and the Crusades etc.

Haven't read the roman de la rose, actually. Closest I've gotten was stuff like Marie de France, which I quite liked.

Date: 2005-10-19 12:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I started thinking in terms of aus because in the beginning it did seem to be set up as one. It's not just the name - the way William is described reminded me a lot of the way Holmes was often described - like, for instance, when Adso says William's appearance attracted the attention of the most inattentive observer - practically the same words were used by Doyle when Watson was describing Holmes, and there were a lot of other instances of that in the first few pages of the book. (And, actually, now that I think about it, even when the story went on, there were times where it seemed clear that Eco had based William on Holmes - for instance, when Adso was saying that there was no one more energetic than William at times, but then at other times he'd just become completely still, saying barely anything, with a vacant expression in his eyes - that's exactly how Watson described Holmes. And lots of other cases like that. Not to mention, the way Adso narrated at the beginning seemed to me a lot like the way Watson did, though not in what he described but more in how he described it.)

Haven't read the roman de la rose, actually. Closest I've gotten was stuff like Marie de France, which I quite liked.

If you liked Marie de France chances are you'll also like that.

Date: 2005-10-17 10:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I was just talking about NotR and how much I loved the book. I read it when I was I think 11, and I didn't totally understand it, but what I did moved me hugely. I remember sneaking it with me to a show because I was almost finished and and reading it by the seat number lights, then finally scuttling off to hide in the bathroom stalls for the last chapter and just weeping and weeping at the ending.

Man, I gotta borrow it and read it again. Another book that reminds me of NotR is the Instance of the Fingerpost, which made me cry and cry again.

There are books smart and lovely people I know adore that do absolutely zilch for me. I can sort of see the appeal and admire the literary work, but they don't strike that chord.

Date: 2005-10-19 12:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This is the first time I'd heard of Instance Of The Fingerpost, and I just checked it on amazon, and the description sounds so intriguing. I'm going to have to pick it up.

Thanks for the rec!

Date: 2005-10-17 10:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The whole conversation with the Abbot being fatuous about the abbey's material possessions is ripped verbatim from the writings of an actual medieval abbot - Eco basically added quote marks around the thing.

Stuff like that. Also the ending was absolutely heartbreaking.

Foucault's Pendulum was really the last readable one IMO though.

Date: 2005-10-18 02:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
(back on the internets) And I should add that I started and gave up on Foucault's Pendulum three times before I could get through 50 pages, but once I got into the pace of the thing I enjoyed it thoroughly. Then again I'd gotten pretty nerdy about the history of the occult in the interim, which I think may be what it takes to give the ending actual punch (i.e. you have to be able to identify with the protagonists essentially being punished horror-film-style for the crime of being occult history nerds).

Date: 2005-10-19 12:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Three recs for Foucault's Pendulum so far. It's strange, because in the reviews I'd read it was described as more unapproachable than Name of the Rose. But the subject matter is something I'm much more interested in, and from what you guys have said that's probably what makes a difference.
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