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How to Travel with a Salmon and Other Essays

(Diario minimo #2)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  5,596 ratings  ·  363 reviews
Once a columnist for an Italian literary magazine, Eco now shares his acute and highly entertaining sense of the absurd in modern life in these essays about militarism, computerese, cowboy and Indian movies, art criticism, librarians, semiotics, and much more--including himself.
Hardcover, 248 pages
Published December 1st 1994 by Houghton Mifflin (first published 1992)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  5,596 ratings  ·  363 reviews

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Feb 21, 2016 rated it liked it
It's a pretty hard task to speak out your mind -truthfully- about important people's writings.
Umberto Eco is a well known and highly celebrated for his works, philosopher, writer, anthropologist, sociologist and so on, but that doesn't exclude him from critics, ratings and reviews and it shouldn't either.

This particular collection is filled with articles targeting mundane vexations of modern life -that he radically hates- and what enables us to face them. Whilst the reader can identify a great m
Steven Godin
Jul 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, italy, essays
Much prefer Eco's non-fiction to his fiction, and these essays, which had so much variety in them, were mostly intelligent and fun to read, with only three or four that weren't as impressive as the others, and considering there is forty-one essays are on offer here (the longest being about 30 pages and my least favourite), I felt a four star rating was overall what the book deserved. Although amusing there were a few that were really quite affecting, including a mini-memoir of his home town.
May 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eco can be really funny :)
Apr 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It is funny to me now how forward thinking Eco was in terms of the mobile phone, the subject of my favorite essay in this book. In 1992, when the devices were still a rarity, he likened a mobile phone not to a luxury item for the important, but as a dog collar for the servants. I don't remember the exact words anymore, but his main point seemed to be, "If you are really important, you have someone else take care of that stuff for you; you are not at anyone's beck and call." It changed my view th ...more
Apr 29, 2015 rated it liked it
While making my way through this collection I couldn’t help but be reminded of the classic scene from Fight Club in which the narrator introduces Tyler Durden to the concept of a “single-serving friend.” Umberto Eco is very clever, but with the wit washed away I’ve almost become convinced that the contents of this book could be summarized in a series of tweet-length statements.

To be sure, the essays are mostly amusing. “How to Replace a Driver’s License” and “How to Play Indians” were two of my
Jun 21, 2010 rated it did not like it
Glorified diary of complaints that you'd probably hear from your grandparents. Uninteresting.
Weronika Zimna
My last birthday present. Really curious about this one.
Dec 01, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
"laugh out loud" (from other reviews). Really??

I've read his novels and love them. This, however, was tremendously disappointing.
Nov 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read_2014
It's a rare book that provokes me to giggle out loud at 1:30am.
'Izzat Radzi
Brilliant! Chuckled a few times on this light reading.

Briefly, this is a re-collection of Eco’s essays, a sly dig and at times a critique on bureaucracy on various things from his travel experiences, literary critiques, guidance for general and specific things (How to write an introduction to an art catalogue), some short fictions (as what Star and Stripes pieces); and lastly his reminiscence of old days, that some are still relevant in the 21th century (in How not to use a fax machine or How no
Dec 04, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays
Hilarity is what we can find while reading this sequel of his "Misreadings" (Picador 1994) since Umberto Eco has written like a true professor as aptly credited to St. Augustine I read somewhere some years ago, that is, 'St. Augustine wrote like a professor' [to verify, Would any GR friend please inform me if you know its reference?]. This of course has proven one thing, that is, writing is one of the tough, grinding and formidable processes essential to all good and great professors worldwide f ...more
Oct 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
“I like the notion of stubborn incuriosity. To cultivate a stubborn incuriosity, you have to limit yourself to certain areas of knowledge. You cannot be totally greedy. You have to
oblige yourself not to learn everything. Or else you will learn nothing.” - Umberto Eco (1932-2016)

Probably not the first Umberto Eco one would pick up, but this caught my eye at a quaint hotel in Matheran.

It is a series of articles, with topics from one's daily routine, taken forward via witty, haphazard thoughts. Fr
Jul 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Favs: <How to Take Intelligent Vacations>, <How to Use the Taxi Driver>, <How to Eat Ice Cream>, <How to Justify a Private Library>, <How to Compile an Inventory>, <Editorial Revision>, <How to Write an Introduction> and <How to Watch Out for Widows>.

Secretly skipped: <Stars and Stripes>, <On the Impossibility of Drawing a Map of the Empire on a Scale of 1 to 1>, <How to Buy Gadgets>, <Three Owls on a Chest Drawers>, <Sequels>, <How to Write an Intro to an Art Catalogue>, <The Miracle of San Bau
Oct 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, essay
Book for a good morning, book for a good night. Book for every day. When it rains, and when it's sunny. It is always next to me when I want to laugh. Eco's sense of humor refreshes, purifies, raises...
One of my favorite books.
Paul Kohn
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No two essays are the same, but most are very amusing!
Very well written and covering so many interesting topics that you never knew you wanted to know anything about, this is a great and easy read.
Jun 12, 2009 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I haven't read anything by Eco before but since one of my friends gave it 5 stars it is probably worth a look :)
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, essays, italy
Umberto Eco's Travels with a Salmon & Other Essays consist of short, mostly humorous essays written for the "Diario Minimo" column of the Italian literary magazine Il Verri As in many collections of essays, the best ones generally are at the beginning. For some reason, he tends to be most funny when dealing with the things that occur during his travels.

I have liked Eco ever since The Name of the Rose (1980). Then why have I not read more of his fiction and essays? That is a problem: I find myse
Sep 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Maybe 3.5, but whatever. A bit uneven, but at times truly enjoyable. While I get the sense that Mr Eco's highly erudite allusions are sometimes flying over my head, I did find myself laughing out loud at some stories (and even had some funny dreams after reading others). Loved the ones about over-analyzing lit, how to write an introduction for an art journal, his complaints about coffee servers, and the titular story especially.

The one about animals and people still resonates today.

I skipped th
Laura Fusaro
Mar 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As my beloved Daniel Pennac writes in one of his books on reader's bill of rights:
2. The right to skip pages
3. The right to not finish
And this is what I did from page 156 until the end. Sorry. That was way too much for me.
Eco was AMAZING, I truly think he was one of the best writers ever. But you really need to have an extended background on literature, philosophy, history, semiotics, basically EVERYTHING to be able to fully enjoy these essays. Sadly, I am not that person. I still want to give
Jan 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Some of these essays I really enjoyed; some I didn't know what he was talking about, which I'm sure is more a reflection on me than on the author. I guess that's what you get when you read something by someone magnitudes of intelligence and/or education beyond you.
Dec 22, 2019 added it
Shelves: new-in-2019
Tremendous humour, and a tempo that his novels never achieve. A genuinely funny read.
Ivan Antonov
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Laughed my pants out
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even though one should realistically expect what they are getting when they pick up an Eco, I feel that sometimes it's been too much. Too much vanity, too much blabber, too much trying to sound fun.
I admire Il Professore and always will be his fan, but this book was rather tedious in many a place, making you struggle to just not want to put down it for good.
John Defrog
Dec 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like a lot of people, my introduction to Umberto Eco was The Name of the Rose. This collection of short writings is my second time reading Eco, and it’s a remarkably different experience. Where The Name Of The Rose is a dense philosophical murder mystery, this is a collection mostly of “minimal diaries” in which Eco uses the advice-column format to satirize everything from travel, library rules and computer jargon to gadgets, Amtrak, art catalogs and the blurring of fact and fiction in media, as ...more
Louai Roumani
Nov 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
This probably has to be Eco's lightest read ever; a collection of entertaining newspaper column articles, around 4 pages each, written in the late 80s and early 90s. Titles revolve around daily routine activities/events and Eco geniusly analyzes them with his renowned wit and intellect. He talks about how all taxi drivers in the world have one thing in common; in that they never have change. To avoid having one's unworthy notes and 'secret letters' published after death, Eco advises writers to i ...more
Jul 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: essays, non-fiction, italy

The train, in America, is not a choice. It is a punishment for, having neglected to read Weber on the Protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism, making the mistake of remaining poor.
Sep 10, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Linguists and other degenerates.
Shelves: humor
Hilarious, in that uniquely Eco-ian way. You will never travel with a dead aquatic special the same way again.

Oct 04, 2012 rated it liked it
I have never had this much fun being made fun of. If you don't mind excessive exercises in the absurd, juxtaposed with educational wit this may be the book for you.
Jan 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: essays
Brain candy, pure and simple. And good, too.
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bottom Line First: How to Travel with a Salmon is not a good introduction to Umberto Eco. It is a relaxing, mostly good humored collection for his fans. Some of these pieces are dated to the point of being quaint others have to limited audiences. This is the work of a man capable of very sophisticated and complex work. Here he is having some fun. It is best read in that same frame of mind.

Having been entangled and over my intellectual head in some of Umberto Eco's more serious essays, I find his
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Umberto Eco was an Italian writer of fiction, essays, academic texts, and children's books. A professor of semiotics at the University of Bologna, Eco’s brilliant fiction is known for its playful use of language and symbols, its astonishing array of allusions and references, and clever use of puzzles and narrative inventions. His perceptive essays on modern culture are filled with a delightful sen ...more

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