Umberto Eco died.
I received the news from Al-Jazeera, my main news source these days, and I was filled with sadness.
I read The Name of the Rose many years ago and saw the movie (the book was better). But then I went on to read some of his other works: Foucault's Pendulum and his essays. Oh, he was a superb essayist. I devoured Travels in Hyperreality and Kant and the Platypus. Over the years, if I saw one of his works on the shelf of whatever bookstore I happened to be in, I always bought the book because I knew it would be a great read. Eco never disappointed.
A few days ago in one of my classes I asked the class TA (an Italian) if she knew anything about Eco's How to Write a Thesis. She hadn't heard of it and she wondered if the advice would be applicable to writing a thesis at a British University. Something tells me that even if it doesn't directly apply, I would benefit from reading it. Because Eco was not only brilliant but he could write about anything and make it fun and lively while slipping in life lessons like the importance of humility, persistence and hard work.. His advice to aspiring writers was to not take themselves too seriously.
And I plan to ask him more about that when I see him in heaven. And, yes, I am absolutely positively sure he'll be there. He was a "gift from the heavens" and now God has taken him back.
Requiescat in pace. Amen
And here is part of an interview he gave last year (h/t to Open Culture ).