Why did I love this book?
I picked up Eco’s novel in the campus bookstore one afternoon while I was in college and finished it as the sun came up the next morning… even though I had a half-written paper due in a few hours. It’s that good. The murder mystery cracks along, but the real magic comes from the way Eco vividly recreates the medieval mindset. This isn’t just Sherlock Holmes in a medieval monastery, although William of Baskerville could definitely give Sherlock a run for his money. William and the other characters think like medieval people. It’s strange, compelling, and baked into the plot in a way that makes this, for my money, the best fictional recreation of a historical mindset ever.