I read The Name of the Rose (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1980) on a trip to Europe. I started it on the plane, then continued reading it during the jet lagged period awake during the middle of the night. I like to read things related to where I travel. With the exception of Richard Russo which I'll read anytime. He needs to write a new one for me to read.
Here's how it starts:
On August 16, 1968, I was handed a book written by a certain Abbe Vallet, The Manuscrit de Dom Adson de Melk, traduit en francais d'apres l'edition de Dom J. Mabillon (Aux Presses de L'Abbaye de la Source, Paris, 1842Very formal.
Eco obviously wants to set a quasi-official tone, as if this were some kind of report. Not my strategy, but, hey the book was a best seller in every language it was translated into, and mine isn't even close. I've tried to read others of his, particularly Foucault's Pendulum, but to no avail.
This one served up a delicious mixture of Sherlockian whodunit, European history, Catholic doctrine, and heretical literature. I was engrossed from start to finish which means there's a lot of ways to write great stuff. So much exposition so adroitly handled. An amazing achievement.
This novel did for me what novels were originally supposed to do: inform, teach, and move. I was different after having read it than I was before. All this, and a spectacularly fine ride. My wife didn't really dig it though, which means not every book is for everybody, no matter how well crafted.
What do you think? Do you have a favorite book or first sentence? Tell me. Post a comment. I'd like to know. And follow me on Twitter.com
Writing is for me an entrepreneurial activity. For my ideas on entrepreneurship, go to www.hatman2.blogspot.com and for entrepreneurial real estate go to www.yourstopforrealestate.com/blog and for my ideas on writing and publishing, go to www.kearneymusicschoolmurders.blogspot.com.