Saturday, March 19, 2011

Atlas Shrugged Readalong Post 1:

Well folks, it is time to talk about the first third of the behemoth Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. Going into this post, I am going to try to stay away from just giving summary, but instead talk about some of the deeper issues in the book (I say this because I find myself merely summarizing in my readalong posts-I think I feel, that as the host, I should only be forming a starting point for other bloggers to comment on-know what I mean?).

In any case, I went into this book with a lot of apprehension. I don't know a great deal about Rand, but the pieces I do know are unsettling. I'm not sure how I feel about her, even after looking around for answers. I was also intimidated by Adam, who finished the whole shebang rather quickly. His post, which is linked below, really dove into the depth of this book far more than I hope to.

At the time when I read his post, I was only two chapters in. I hadn't formed a real opinion, but was finding myself annoyed with Rand.

That feeling has gradually disappeared. While I don't agree with her philosophy of Objectivism, I get it. I mean, I can understand why some would feel that way. And as a vehicle for her philosophy, Atlas Shrugged really seems to shove those ideas down the readers' throats.

I didn't really mind once I got going. In fact, I read the rest of this section, 8 chapters, last night in a long reading spurt. Of course there were pieces that made me a little angry. I have thrown my copy of the book a few times at the wall (I'm serious-one side is dented). I don't like it when writers shove things down my throat. It irritates me. I hate that there seems to be no middle ground-that things are black or white, right or wrong. Life can't function that way and examples of that just serve to piss me off as I am reading...

But I kind of like what Rand is doing. Since this is my first read and I know little about Rand and the story, I don't know where this is going. It is certainly a bit of mystery and I am enjoying that. I like going into books not knowing the story. They catch my attention far more.

I also really like the character of Dagny. She is spunky and ferocious, which I love in a female character. At times I feel like we don't know enough about her, but I can fill in the blanks. I think that if I were ever to be in the business world, I would also be a bit spunky and ferocious. I'm like that with my students (restrained of course), but I don't take nonsense.

Some of the other characters are a at this point so I am curious how Rand, or if, she develops them more. I can't stand Reardan, but who really can? He seems to be rather cold-hearted. In fact, a lot of the characters seem to share that trait. That is hard to relate to as a reader, so I must struggle through some of those sections.

I am curious, and anxious, to see where Rand will take me. I am curious about what else she has to say and how she'll get it across to me. I wonder how many more times I will throw this book to the ground in frustration, and how many times I will wonder if Rand has a point. All of that has happened in this first section, and I am just curious.

I will say that this is not as bad of a read as I was expecting. I thought I would be sucked into a novel with horrible writing. And while Rand isn't a great writer, she is easier to read than I though. The language isn't complicated.

Anyway, I will see you all again on April 8th!

If you have your post up, please comment and leave a link to your post below!

Adam (his post covers the entire book)


  1. I agree with you thoughts on Rand basically force-feeding Objectivism to the reader. I am also really enjoying the mystery aspect of the novel. I look forward to reading your thoughts on the next part.

    Here's the link to my post on Part One:

  2. I kind of like Hank Rearden even though he is incredibly self absorbed. There is something about his determination and Puritanical work ethic that I admire. He knows what he wants and he goes after it. He isn't maliciously stomping on people on his way up the ladder to success. He just does things his way, on his terms. I like that.

  3. My thoughts exactly! Everything you've hit on troubled me as well, but I haven't thrown the book-- yet.

  4. The idea that everything is just black and white is really annoying me! That's just not how life works (isn't that part of the problem with any philosophy though? They fail when put into play.)


  5. I'm nearly done with this and ultimately I have mixed feelings. I'm simmering. My post should appear in the next week.

  6. I had similar feelings while reading it. I felt Rand was to overt with her ideology. I'm not dumb, I can pick it up through the story so it was a little annoying that she kept rehashing things through inner monologues by the characters. Ugh! I do appreciate the mystery aspect of it. I want to know who John Galt is, more about the third unnamed student, and what caused Francisco to freak out like that.

  7. She is really heavy-handed with her ideal of objectivism, but once you get past that and to the actual plot of the story, it gets better. I'm surprised you don't like Rearden, but I think I remember feeling the same way in the beginning. I'll be interested in seeing if your opinion of him changes with your next posting. Just wait til you get to the 50 page radio broadcast. I ended up skipping ahead to just get on with the story.

    And I'm totally in love with Dagny. Nathan wants to name a daugther after her. (I was able to find out it means "New day" in Swedish, which could also be part of the reason he likes it so much.)