Posted by: Matt | January 7, 2008

First Two for 2008

I finished my first two books of the year this past Friday. I completed Ragamuffin by Tobias Buckell which is the second book in the universe that he has created, the first book was Crystal Rain. You might recall I gave Crystal Rain a 5.0, however I wasn’t as impressed with Ragamuffin, I ended up rating it a 4.0. It was still good but not nearly as incredible as the first. The novel relates the beginning of humanities fight to free themselves completely from a race of mind controlling aliens. This one was a bit confusing at first and I didn’t really get into it until John and Pepper from Crystal Rain were pulled into the story. But there was definitely enough in this book to have me looking forward to the third which will be called Sly Mongoose.

The second book I finished was Baudolino by Umberto Eco.  This is the first novel I’ve read by Eco.  The novel takes place in the 12th century and tells the tale of a boy adopted by Frederick, the Holy Roman Emperor.  The boy, named Baudolino of course, tells fantastic lies to bring glory to Frederick.  He also travels to the Far East in search of Prester John in order to deliver to him the Holy Grail. I wasn’t sure what to think of this book at first, it was quite strange and a bit hard to take in at times, but by the end I was really enjoying Baudolino’s epic journey.  It ended up taking me by suprise, I might just have to check out some more of Eco’s work.  I rate it a 4.0 as well.  You used to be able to find this in hardcover at many Barnes & Noble stores for $6 or $7, but I’m not sure if you can anymore.



  1. Umberto Eco is definitely a ride/read worth taking.

  2. I haven’t read Baudolino, but I have read a couple other books by Eco. Neither of them were what I would call an easy read. And I gave them mixed reviews. The Name of the Rose was absolutely wonderful. It is set during the Medieval period, as well. I actually kept a dictionary handy while I was reading this one, but it was well worth the effort. The other one I didn’t like nearly as well, The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana was a rambling story set in Italy over the course of a man’s life. It is somewhat autobiographical in nature if I remember correctly. I really don’t even know how to describe it. I own Foucault’s Pendulum but haven’t read it, yet.

  3. Name of the Rose (despite some heavy historical information) was a fantastic read. His essays (How to Travel with a Salmon) are also worth a look. I keep trying to read Foucault’s Pendulum but haven’t had the patience. It seems interesting enough but I keep getting distracted by newer shinier books.

  4. Carrie K – That’s what I’ve discovered, just have to figure out which of his to try next.

    Lisa – I actually own The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana because of a library sale but it hasn’t been reviewed as well as his other books like The Name of the Rose.

    themadmanx – The Name of the Rose and Foucault’s Pendulum are the two books that I will decide from when I next read Umberto Eco. The historical information in Baudolino is what made that novel difficult to take in at first as well.

  5. Thanks on the scoop on Baudolino. When it came out I decided not to take on it after seeing that the reviews were split in the middle. I’ll look it up in my next round of shopping. His other book, The Name of the Rose, has been a favorite of mine.

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