Interesting But Not Entertaining

I’m just now finishing Umberto Eco’s Serendipities (I skipped over some parts earlier in the book and am considering skipping the last few pages). It’s only 115 pages long, but it’s taken me 2 months to get through it. I do have a legitimate excuse for not reading more, but I think the real reason I haven’t read more is sentences like this:

The intent is first of all to question the materialistic claims of all epicurean, polygenetic hypotheses and then to reject every conventionalist theory as a way of separating language from the very source of Truth.

Right now I want to read books for fun and don’t really have the patience for parsing academic text even if the subject of the book (essays on the history of langauges) is appealing. I recently read a review on Amazon that sums up my limited experience with Eco’s non-fiction — “it is like listening to a professor who is interesting but not really entertaining”.

I have really enjoyed Eco’s fiction though and I’m happy to read more of that. The Name Of The Rose is great and I enjoyed Foucault’s Pendulum enough to read it twice (I thought I might understand more the second time around, but I’m not sure if I did). The Island of the Day Before and Baudalino weren’t quite as good, but still enjoyable enough. If I do read any more, I think I’ll try The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana.

Up next, a collection of Civil War writings by Ambrose Bierce.

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