Italian news sources are reporting that author Umberto Eco has passed away. He turned 84 years old last month. Eco is the author of two global bestsellers: Foucault's Pendulum, a playful conspiracy thriller; and The Name of the Rose, a murder mystery set in a Benedictine monastery. I especially enjoyed Eco's underrated 2004 novel The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, a deeply personal tribute to the comics and pulp literature of Eco's youth, as well as a rumination on memory and aging. Eco's novels were always fun and elegant and rewarding on multiple levels; he created beautiful labyrinths.

Between this news and Harper Lee's passing, this has been a very sad day for literature.