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23 September 2009 @ 04:02 pm
The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand

... Yeah, I still don't know why this was called the Fountainhead. Noticeable lack of fountains, with and without heads, all the way through. A better name might have been 'The Anti-Communist Manifesto.' Ellsworth Toohey is the spectre haunting Europe!

Seriously, though, I thought this book was FREAKIN' AWESOME till I finished it. Then I remembered it was all about architecture, which is not exactly the most hip and happening art subclass around, no matter how hard Rand tried to convince me otherwise.

I was annoyed by the constant use of surnames throughout the book. However, two pages in, I was pleasantly surprised by how readable it was. This trend continued all the way through. Oh, she's a fantastic writer (although I wonder about her use of architecture as a vehicle for expressing these views. I think everything designed since 1920 is basically hideous). But she's not purposely dense. It was great.

She also made me think and that, too, is rare. Howard Roark divides the world into creators and second-handers, who never want anything on their own, but only want things they think others think they should want. I'm a clear second-hander, but since reading that I've started wondering what it is I do want all for myself - if anything. Should be an interesting road to follow. (For me, anyway. Possibly not for ... anyone else.)

Keating thought, as he walked towards Catherine's house that night, of the few times he had seen her; they had been such unimportant occasions, but they were the only days he remembered of his whole life in New York.

Keating and Catherine are tragic, but I don't feel for them - mainly because Catherine became such a monstrosity. It also bothered me that he started dating her when she was about fifteen and he was ten years older. HELLO, EW.

You know Toohey is evil because he considers folk songs the most superior type of music.

When the British Empire collapses, historians will find that it had made but two invaluable contributions to society - this tea ritual and the detective novel.

It's funny because it's true!

She was Venus rising out of a submarine hatch.

Very, very pithy - and often pretty - descriptions.

It's the hardest thing in the world - to do what we want. And it takes the greatest kind of courage. [...] It's such a big responsibility, really to want something.


Yeah, this book is about Communism, right? That's what she means by 'collectivism'? I don't know. I do know the vaccination schedule and what it means if a child's vomit is green instead of yellow, but the deep context of historically significant books? Not so much.

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
JRevalangui on February 23rd, 2010 01:20 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the quotes. I just finished it and I'm still processing but what did you think of Dominique? :)
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on February 23rd, 2010 06:27 pm (UTC)
Dominque was awesome! But in a way that was not designed for any other woman to emulate; like the way Roark 'raped' her - I use inverted commas because, while she thought of it like that, it's not really what it was objectively. As in, it wasn't a trauma for her. She was very much of herself, one of the most complete characters I've ever read.

Have you done Atlas Shrugged? If not, YOU MUST.
JRevalangui on February 23rd, 2010 08:34 pm (UTC)
Atlas Shrugged? I was thinking about it but I'd have to wait a bit because The Fountainhead has left me quite in shock, really.

I agree the "rape" wasn't actual non-con, although a court of law might disagree and I would find it hard to call it concensual myself. But even beyond her strange approach to intimacy I was really annoyed at Domnique, I still don't get how she was creative in any way for the creation itself, how she wasn't a second-hander except for her ability to see beyond the trappings of tradition, etc. (Ranted about it here but that's basically it). I'm afraid "Atlas Shrugged" will have another female character I will hate (Rand herself doesn't sound like a rational enough person, and Dominique is like the representation of all the places where she forgot logic). I mean, I think Rand, as a creative independent woman herself, had no rational excuse to make her only good female character *only* a woman and not an individual, the men are clearly the "default" and if you're a novelist I might forgive you something like that because you're not trying to promote ideas but Rand was a philosopher, she wrote the novel to promote ideas and one of the ideas that she promoted was that Dominique was the ideal of womanhood.

Woops, I'm ranting again :p