Two authors passed at the end of last week, as I’m sure you all have heard. Both Harper Lee and Umberto Eco are represented in the College’s catalog, which I imagine comes as no surprise.
Harper Lee was an American author, born and raised in the deep South. Her work, To Kill a Mockingbird, is considered an American classic, and has been on summer reading lists and in curricula in high schools across the country for quite some time. I still have vivid memories of clutching that purple paperback at La Jolla Shores, trying desperately to focus on my summer reading instead of the ocean in front of me. Interestingly, To Kill a Mockingbird was not just Lee’s most famous work until recently, it was her only published work. Go Set a Watchman was released earlier this year to a fair bit of consternation. Having not read it myself, I can’t say whether it is good, bad, or just different. Those looking for To Kill a Mockingbird in the library should visit the Newman Room.
Eco’s works span both fiction and non fiction; his day job was as a professor of semiotics at the University of Bologna. He was somewhat polarizing, too highbrow for some and too lowbrow for others. Nevertheless, his works gained attention, particularly his first novel, The Name of the Rose. I must confess, The Name of the Rose is currently in my “to be read” pile, and so I cannot recommend a particular work of Eco’s. The collection contains quite a few. Eco’s nonfictional works can be found in the Ballroom (including Kant and the Platypus, shown in the image attached to this entry), his fictional works in the Newman Room. A single work of his, on Art in the Middle Ages, can be found in the Scholar’s lounge.