The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe (1979)

With the successful release of the film Hidden Figures and being that it’s the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 1 launch disaster, I figured that I’d start 2017 with a switch to non-fiction, focusing on the critically acclaimed The Right Stuff by the New Journalism pioneer and provocateur Tom Wolfe.  When the book was released in 1979, America’s self-confidence was at a nadir. 

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (1980, tr. 1983)

This past February, one of the most brilliant contemporaries in the literary world passed away.  His name was Umberto Eco, who was an Italian professor in semiotics.  In 1980, he won surprising acclaim in the Italian publishing world for The Name of the Rose, and later, in 1983, he had similar international success with the English translation.