Friday, January 9, 2009

The Second Most Influential Book

I've been discussing this book with the Captain for some time now. Although I am very familiar with its topic and concepts, I have not truly read the book. But the Captain says I should, so I've been meaning to sit down to it, for both myself and because I love to please him.

It's over a 1000 pages, though, and while I've always been a literature lover throughout my years (no, not just romance novels), I'm worried I'll find it overwhelmingly long and tedious in places. I at least think I'll wait till after my wedding and honeymoon. It might be a little too heavy to delve into while swooning and honeymooning. But actually, I could totally see the Captain and me discussing it while relaxing on the driving and exploring trip we're planning.

The Wall Street Journal says it's a book come to life in today's United States political climate.

Atlas Shrugged: From Fiction to Fact in 52 Years


smartass sob said...

Read "Anthem" first. It's very short and to the point...and if you don't like it, you won't like "Atlas Shrugged" either.

Chatelaine said...

Good idea, Smartass. Might be a good way for me to see if I can get into the writing style.

smartass sob said...

I first encountered Rand's work when I was 17 or 18 years old, but I didn't read Atlas until I was 19. Actually, believe it or not, the first book of hers I read was nonfiction. It was "For The New Intellectual" which I read at the time because I was interested in reading various philosophy pieces. It was a collection of essays with a great many quotes from her novels, primarily from "Atlas Shrugged." It wasn't the phiosophical ideas expressed in those quotes which intrigued me so much as the allusions to the story line in Atlas - the idea of an apocalyptic world where the men of the mind had gone on strike. I was into science fiction, apocalyptic stuff at the time like the novels of Philip Wylie ("The Disappearance"; "Tomorrow"; "When Worlds Collide"; "Gladiator" etc.) Later, after I had joined the Navy and happened to be on liberty in San Diego, I was in a used bookstore and ran across a copy of "Anthem." It was small and inexpensive and the story dealt with the aftermath of collapse of civilization, so it was right up my alley at the time. After I read that, I immediately got all of Rand's other books and read them.

That was a great many years ago - and though I'm no longer the wild-eyed, true-believing, impressionable young kid I was back then, I still can't find any real fault with her basic philosophical principles. Some of the followers of those principles - ah, that's a different matter. ;-)


The Wine Commonsewer said...

Some of the followers of those principles - ah, that's a different matter. ;-)

I hear that, yet of us who are passionate about liberty owe a debt of gratitude to Ayn Rand.

I was about 14-15 when I read Anthem, it the first of Rand's books I read, and it knocked me out. It was like nothing I'd read and, even though the 'Summit of the Mountain' chapter was a little awkwardly written, I was enthralled with it. I even copied that speech onto paper and taped it on the wall [insert embarrassed grin]

Atlas is tedious and I never had the patience for it although the story line is intriguing. [ducks Hogan's & Kent's Fists of Death]

My favorite of her novels is one that many of the true believers and other assorted libertarians scoff at, We The Living.

And then it turns personal.....I had known Mrs TWC for a while, noticed her big brown puppy dog eyes, thought she was a might better looking and a whole lot nicer than this blond chick I was currently residing with, but when I noticed one day that she had a copy of FOR THE NEW INTELLECTUAL under her arm, well, it was like Moses and the Burning Bush, God was giving me a SIGN!

I have to agree with SA, LC, For The New Intellectual is a great way to get at the philosophy of Rand. It is put together in fully digestible increments. Still weighty, but not tedious. You might consider it. Not for the honeymoon though.

And lastly, for those who might be interested, I did a blog post for the 50th Anniversary of the publishing of Atlas Shrugged. Click my name and you are there. Gracias.

Skip Preview Go Straight To Post said...

Jesus Chrysler, Snell, Preview is YOUR FRIEND!

TWC said...

Oh, meant to mention that a friend and true connoisseur of wine (Kent) gave me a block of those Rand stamps years ago that he framed in stainless steel. The frame was well chosen for the image and fits my decor just perfect. Still sitting on the glass mantle.

Rand was not a hot chick and short hair doesn't appeal to Moi in the least, but I really like the artwork for that stamp, which is reproduced for Moore's article in the WSJ

Chatelaine said...

"well, it was like Moses and the Burning Bush, God was giving me a SIGN! "

Lol! That's awesome, Twc. I like a man who appreciates a smart woman who just happens to be beautiful too.

So ok...I'll give Anthem a try first. I remember the Captain talking about that one too, but not as much as Atlas.

NoStar said...

I learned years ago that 99% of the time that a guy finally pulls his head out of his assets to notice a female, she noticed him earlier and positioned herself so that he couldn't miss her even if he was half blind.

Do you think she had been carrying that book around for a week because she is a slow reader?

TWC said...

LC, you can read Anthem online at no charge if you click my name. It isn't quite as cool as a book, but it's quick.

And thanks for the kind words.

TWC said...

Do you think she had been carrying that book around for a week because she is a slow reader?

Heh. :-)

Chatelaine said...

Hey, that's totally cool, Twc! Thanks :)

smartass sob said...

it was like Moses and the Burning Bush, God was giving me a SIGN!

And Ayn Rand is spinning in her grave so rapidly that fillings in her teeth are generating an electrical field. ;-)


Col. Hogan said...

I read Atlas Shrugged about every year and a half or so, as a sort of cultural barometer. I'm reading it now. I figure it won't be long before the world in the last couple of chapters starts to look good, it'll be time to go to the gulch.

As the dog said after he pulled the stub of his tail out of the lawn mower, "It won't be long now!"

Chatelaine said...

Aw! Poor puppy :-(

Yep, Col Hogan, I've heard a little about the gulch. It sounds Utopianly (to make up a word) attractive.