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08 November 2009 @ 09:35 pm
#51  
Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand

I really, really wish I'd recorded my thoughts on this book before I came to the Infamous Speech (which pretty much ruined it for me). In my head, I was scampering around yelling, "This book is changing my life! I never realised I was so naturally right-wing! Also, I'm a headless chicken!"



THAT SPEECH WAS LIKE SIXTY PAGES LONG. It was repetitive and meandering and poorly structured and every few sentences I thought, "Who could actually listen to this and take it all in, unless they were making notes at the same time? Plus, he's addressing the nation via radio - at least 75% of those listening are too stupid to understand it. SMALL WORDS, DUDE. He's fucking lucky he didn't try it in the Google generation, attention span: approx. minus ten seconds." I don't know why some of the more high falutin stuff couldn't have been slotted in elsewhere, in a discussion between, say, Dagny and Galt. It took me a week to finish reading that part and, while I devoured the preceding three quarters of the book, I started feeling reluctance to even finish it after that. The ending was a little flat, too. Whatever happened to poor Eddie Willers?

Okay, I know all the characters were supposed to be these super-enlightened beings, but - seriously? Dagny slept with THREE of them and not one was a little jealous or annoyed about it? Or was Ayn suggesting they actually ended up in a futuristic menage a quatre wherein dildos shaped like dollars featured heavily?

That Fransciso wasn't perhaps a girl, or just Dagny's friend (without benefits) bothered me a great deal. As did the part where she sees John Galt and INSTANTANOUSLY FALLS FOR HIM. To the point where she wants to be his MAID. Rand might have come up with a new philosophy of morality, but she seemed to forget about the small issue of feminism. You might argue that the whole new mode of thinking she invented with negates the ridiculousness of her romantic storylines, but fortunately for me I'm not above being annoyed by such things.

She way overused the word 'stressed'. In terms of stressing a word or clothes 'stressing' a body, it stands out, and so should only be used once. She uses it, oh, seventy million times. It grows wearying. I get that you have a favourite word, okay, but I have a thesaurus and I win.

When he threw her down on the bed, their bodies met like the two sounds that broke against each other in the air of the room: the sound of his tortured moan and of her laughter.

Something about this image - I can't quite pin it down - spoke to me as the ideal love scene: one surrenders and one is exultant. But not in a bad way. Um?

The man who is proudly certain of his own value, will want the highest type of woman he can find, the woman he admires, the strongest, the hardest to conquer - because only the possession of a heroine will give him the sense of an achievement, not the possession of a brainless slut.

I admit, right here's where I fell in love with the book. I want so much to think I'm a heroine, but I think I'm neither that nor a slut. OH WELL.

He did not say, "It seems to me," and he did not take orders from those who say, "In my opinion."

I just found this funny, because we're always told off for saying 'I think' or 'It seems to be' when we're doing mock exams.

That which others claimed to feel at the sight of stars - stars safely distant by millions of years and thus imposing no obligation to act, but serving as the tinsel of futility - she had felt at the sight of electric bulbs lighting the streets of a town.

Darkness freaks me out and stars don't help. Plus, TINSEL OF FUTILITY.

To achieve the virtue of sacrifice, you must want to live, you must love it, you must burn with passion for this earth and for all the splendour it can give you - you must feel the twist of every knife as it slashes your desires away from your reach and drains your love out of your body.

Okay, maybe there were SOME good points in The Speech.

"It's horrible! It's immoral! It's selfish, heartless, ruthless! It's the most vicious speech ever made! It ... it will make people demand to be happy!"

OH LOL.



Previously, on Book Glomp 2009:
He Knew He Was Right, Anthony Trollope |The Bostonians, Henry James | For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway | For Esme - with Love and Squalor, JD Salinger | The Outsider, Albert Camus | The Princess Diaries: Ten out of Ten, Meg Cabot | The Vicar of Bullhampton, Anthony Trollope | Molesworth, Geoffrey Willans | Villette, Charlotte Bronte | The Portrait of a Lady, Henry James | The Way of All Flesh, Samuel Butler | Cecilia, Fanny Burney | The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger | The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark | Breakfast of Champions, Kurt Vonnegut | Valley of the Dolls, Jacqueline Susann | Siddhartha, Herman Hesse | The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga | The Duke and I, Julia Quinn | Brave New World, Aldous Huxley | North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell | Cider with Rosie, Laurie Lee | Catch-22, Joseph Heller | Bright Shiny Morning, James Frey | Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck | The Demon's Lexicon, Sarah Rees Brennan | The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton | jPod, Douglas Coupland | 'Are these my basoomas I see before me?', Louise Rennison | Faro's Daughter, Georgette Heyer | Anansi Boys, Neil Gaiman | The Accidental Sorcerer, K.E. Mills | Ethan of Athos, Lois McMaster Bujold | V., Thomas Pynchon | The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway | The Dragon Keeper, Robin Hobb | Orlando, Virginia Woolf | The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath | Snuff, Chuck Palahniuk | Crush, Richard Siken | Trust Me, I'm a Junior Doctor, Max Pemberton | The Dice Man, Luke Rhinehart | Call Me By Your Name, Andre Aciman | Young Miles, Lois McMaster Bujold | He's Just Not That Into You, Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo | The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand | A Classical Education, Caroline Taggart | The Way We Live Now, Anthony Trollope | Two Cures for Love, Wendy Cope | Unseen Academicals, Terry Prachett
 
 
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(Deleted comment)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: halowrites: pink doughnutscoradh on November 10th, 2009 11:48 am (UTC)
It was probably a hundred in mine, too. It's just that I started reading it, happy as a bug, and slowly my happiness faded to be replaced by a feeling of 'OMG WHEN DOES THIS END.' At which point I started counting pages.

NOT IN THE LEAST, LOL. I have to say, I am happy for marriage to take place between any two interested parties - but I must stress the TWO part. I don't think humans are built to withstand a three-person relationship, unless two of them made the third.

HA. LOVE IT. :D
the zedmeisterzedmeister on November 9th, 2009 01:00 am (UTC)
Rand might have come up with a new philosophy of morality, but she seemed to forget about the small issue of feminism.

Yeah. I haven't read Atlas Shrugged; one of my coworkers when I worked at Chapters was a huge fan of Rand's and kept pushing me towards her books, but I gave The Fountainhead a try and wanted to burn after reading it, so I decided not to bother. Dominique being grateful to Roark for raping her because she needed it made me sick.


every Starbucks should have a polar bear: halowrites: awesome tightsscoradh on November 10th, 2009 11:51 am (UTC)
Oh, yes. That. See, the thing for me was that it wasn't rape - in that both parties were willing and consenting. Apparently Roark was a mind-reader, so I guess that's how my mind justified him never actually asking her. I think it is terrible of her to treat rape in that way, as something 'needed', but I really don't think Rand should be read for her romance.
jehnt: bones - cam - laughterjehnt on November 10th, 2009 05:29 am (UTC)
I've never read an Ayn Rand book. Like half of the people I know are crazy about her but, well. Come on, they have titles like "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead" and people call them inspiring. I try to stay away from anything people call inspiring - it is usually far too depressing or boring for my tastes.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: jillicons: revolutionsscoradh on November 10th, 2009 11:54 am (UTC)
lol I move in much less rareified circles ... I heard of her through the Gilmore Girls and Ryan Ross. In fact, I just had a huge Communists versus Capitalists argument with the only friend I have who HAS read them. It was kind of upsetting.

I wouldn't say 'inspiring' so much as 'interesting' and 'huge in scope.' Scope is something most authors lack, and you don't come across it too often. If you're going to read them for any reason, read them for that. :D?