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Today's question is, "What's the last book you flung across the room?"
Okay, well, I'm not much of a book-flinging person. (As book lovers, I imagine most of you aren't, either.) There's only one book that I can actually remember flinging across the room.
That book is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.
That book drove me totally up the wall. I was on board with it for the first, I don't know, 300 pages. I liked the strong female lead, Dagny Taggart, and I liked where the book was going. I was so engrossed in the mystery of John Gault. And then...it was just downhill from there.
*spoiler alert--if you don't want to read spoilers, skip the next paragraph*
The characters I had originally liked turned out to be robotic, inhuman, and even disgusting. The character most worth admiring (Eddie, anyone? Does anyone even remember him?) had a horrible end. From a literary standpoint, there were far too many characters and they all resembled each other far too much (all the "good guys" thought and talked exactly alike, and all the "bad guys" were stupid, incoherent, and obnoxious). But even worse, most of the characters were not only stupid, they turned out to be lifeless and empty. Rand was so obsessed with her (exceedingly strange) worldview that her characters became a little group of poster children for it. She completely abandoned any attempt at plot and character development in favor of excessively long speeches (that all said essentially the exact same thing).
I felt like this was a betrayal of the entire genre of the novel. What Rand wanted to do was shove her beliefs down her readers' throats, not give us a portrayal of humanity the way she saw it. I can see the elements of genius in this novel, but she could have kept that and still have written a good novel. Rather than adapting the content to the form (and vice versa), Rand appropriated the form for her own personal agenda, and I hated it. So when I finished it...there was a little bit of book flinging.
When my now 24-year-old son was about 14 he developed a crush on Ayn Rand. As a good mother I got a copy of Atlas Shrugged so we could discuss it. I, too, read about 300 pages and just stopped (no flinging involved) because I hated it. Fortunately he also outgrew Rand and is now a happy PhD student in Philosophy reading Plato, Aristotle and other books written in BCE.ReplyDelete
Haha! That's a great story. I love that you got a copy of the book so you could discuss it with him...that really is a good mother! I'm glad he outgrew his Rand phase--I never know what to say to people who really love her. Good thing we have the ancients! :)Delete
I've only read one Ayn Rand book, The Fountainhead, and I absolutely loved it... but that could be because it was one of the first books I read after finishing college, and I may have loved it just because I was so excited to finally be choosing my own books to read all the time instead of having assignments.ReplyDelete
Anyway, I don't think I've ever thrown a book. Not since I was 5 or so, anyway. I had a roommate in college who threw her German dictionary across the room once in a while when she got frustrated with her German homework, though.
I've heard that The Fountainhead is much better than Atlas Shrugged, and I suspect it might not be as forceful. The ideas in the book are interesting, I just felt attacked.Delete
To be honest, I don't know that I really "flung" this book...it was more like I tossed it onto the floor. I remember being very self-conscious about it--I didn't want to hurt it. Haha.
The Fountainhead is the only Ayn Rand book that I've read, and I absolutely hated it! I expected to like it because of my political views, but it actually seemed kind of evil to me. Ayn Rand appeared to have no understanding of love.ReplyDelete
Yes, exactly. I liked Atlas Shrugged at first, but I thought Rand took her entire view way too far, until it was just sickening.Delete