Yesterday, at a Starbucks downtown, in a tight corner with room only for me, and a great window for people watching, I finished the book The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana by Umberto Eco. I enjoyed this book. It wasn't one that compelled me to read above all else, but when I thought I might sit down and read, it was always a pleasant thought to remember what book I was in the middle of. It was a fun shout out to all your history, comic-book, old movie, and Catholic dogma trivia; this book strings together all the incidental things that we absorb and make us who we are.
The premise is that a man, through some accident has lost his memory. He remembers events as one would have read about them but not as he experienced them. The book is his quest to restore those memories. He delves through old books, papers, records, comic books, etc, hoping to glean a bit of himself from them. In the minor details of political history and cultural iconography, he pieces together what kind of child he must have been - but he has no idea what kind of man.
Eco writes philosophically of the banality of individual lives and the trivial manner we have of living them. Though it wasn't as good as Foucault's Pendulum (one of my favorites) or as gripping as The Name of the Rose, it was a very fun book to read.
In other news: Mattel, not China, is responsible for the flaws that led to recalling more than 20 milion toys; Violence has soared in Afghanistan this past year - and the past two days have seen heavy fighting between US-led forces and Taleban militants; There is such a thing as a cadaver sniffing dog; and the word of the week is proglottidean (i have no idea how one would use it in a sentence).