Monday, March 2, 2009

Make sure you return it; I have notes in the margin.

Current book: Atlas Shrugged
Pages read: 11-43

So, it turns out that it's pretty damn hard to concentrate on reading while your husband's in surgery. That said, I got a little bit read after I could see him and hold his hand while he was asleep. It's not as though I've gotten to the Objectivist part of the novel yet, but I have to say that I'm not sure it's in the spirit of the book to be reading it while nursing your recovering husband. I could be wrong.

So far, we've met Eddie Willers, who's a middle-management type for the Taggart company, the two heads of that company, James and Dagny Taggart, who are brother and sister, and one of their materials suppliers, Hank Reardon. The Taggart company is a struggling railroad business (well, not actually struggling, since it's the most successful in the country) that's having financial troubles largely due to James's mismanagement. Dagny, who we're given to understand has a great deal of business acumen, is attempting to turn the company around by revitalizing one of the rail lines that's failing. She's going to do so by rebuilding the track, which has fallen into disrepair, with Hank Reardon's new Reardon Metal. James objects on principle, because although it's purported to be stronger and cheaper than steel, it hasn't yet been used by any other industry. Dagny seems like a real go-getter, and also her name has internal rhyme, so she must be destined for great things. What little we've seen of Hank Reardon has shown us that he's pulled both himself and the Philadelphia steel industry up by the bootstraps, and that his new invention holds in its future all his hopes and dreams. His wife and family are shrewish and cruel about his work and the promise it holds.

That's where we are, which is actually quite far for 30 pages or so. I don't know how I feel so far. The prose and dialogue are very direct, in a 60s science fiction sort of way, but not off-putting. It's too early to tell how things are going to develop. Obviously we're heading for a great dystopian lesson, but what that might be, I do not know.

I think this is about as far as I got when I started reading it years ago and decided I wasn't really interested. But now I'm in it for the long haul - all 1069 pages of it.


  1. "reading it while nursing your recovering husband"

    This is one of the most a appropriate ways to read Atlas, which is, at root, about holding on to the things you value, choosing life, and refusing to sacrifice the things and people you care about.

    All the best

  2. It's a gripping story. I honestly think you will be surprised at how much you like it. As an aside, had I known that having internal rhyme in your name destined you for great things, I would have lobbied for something else. Also I agree with anon's summation.

  3. While I was not super interested in Rand's philosophy, I agree that is an absolutely gripping story. I first read it in junior high and skipped most of the Objectivist stuff because I wanted to know what was going to happen in the end. Hope you like it - and that your husband recovers soon!



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