Thursday, January 26, 2006


I suppose I should be giving positive reinforcement to Roxanne's continuing resolutions to average reading a book per week for the year. On the other hand, I am also sad to see anyone needing to urge themselves on to read so few. What does she have, a social life or something? But, inspired by the example of her ongoing reports as, at least, a way to fill blog space, I may post some interesting quotes I find in some of this annum's perusals.

Umberto Eco is the sort of person who can drown you in his erudition and in-jokes, turning otherwise readable tomes like The Name of the Rose into huge shaggy dog stories. Not long into his latest that I picked up, The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, I was ready to quit in frustration. This tale of an amnesiac struggling to recall his past seemed as grossly self-indulgent as Daniel Martin or Fools Die, but with a much more immature (even though older) protagonist. The innocence of the narrator lured me on a little, as the self-indulgence descended into childish memories of reading, movies, and music. For some reason it began to remind me more of The Number Of The Beast (but with no adventure), or a young boy's version of the movie All That Jazz. It became even more like that movie toward the end, which is such a disappointment here that I cannot recommend this one. What, I read through all this just for that? He does include one interestingly Dostoevskian character who propounds this rant:
"It's simple, it just never occured to anyone before: God is evil. Why do priests say God is good? Because he created us. but that's precisely why he's evil. God doesn't have evil the way we have a headache. God is Evil. Maybe, seeing as he's eternal, he wasn't evil billions of years ago. Maybe he became that way, like kids who get bored in the summer and start tearing the wings off flies, to pass the time. Notice how if you think that God is evil, the whole question of Evil becomes crystal clear." ...

And yet he was not mean, he loved the people around him. He had it in only for God, and that must have been a real chore, because it was like throwing rocks at a rhinoceros -- the rhinoceros never even notices and continues going about its rhino business, and meanwhile you are red with rage and ripe for a heart attack. (p. 351-353)


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