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View Diary: Books Go Boom!   Who is the Greatest Woman Novelist since 1950? (294 comments)

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  •  A fair & balanced opinion. Pun only a little bit (3+ / 0-)

    intended. Well, completely intended, but only mildly applicable.

    You are absolutely entitled to your own literary taste. If you're not trying to live by her precepts (as, frankly, she never did), I'm not too worried about it.

    "I think she was a better writer than a political thinker." I agree. I suspect she only had one good book in her, and that's The Fountainhead; Atlas Shrugged, for me, was far too long and heavy-handed. The plot collapses under the weight of the philosophy/propaganda. But she could write a compelling character, and some energetic action and drama.

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 06:05:49 PM PDT

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    •  Pffftttt - her best book was "We The Living" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brecht, RiveroftheWest

      because she was writing about events she had experienced and survived. And even so it's way too polemical.

      If it's
      Not your body,
      Then it's
      Not your choice
      And it's
      None of your damn business!

      by TheOtherMaven on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 06:25:42 PM PDT

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      •  I'm certainly not in a hurry to read more Rand, (2+ / 0-)

        but I might try that one. I'd sort of rather all her books vanish into thin air, on account of their pernicious influence on young, impressionable conservatives and libertarians. But they won't. At this point I'm so tired of the right that I wouldn't lose much sleep if all the young, impressionable conservatives and libertarians vanished into thin air. Except my two misguided nephews.

        I notice Mencken said We The Living was "a really excellent piece of work."

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 06:57:11 PM PDT

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        •  Never read We the Living (3+ / 0-)

          but Atlas Shrugged was didactic prose at its MOST didactic and then stopped for 90 pages (in the paperback edition) so the author could lecture the readers at length about How Wonderful Her Philosophy Is and How Awful You Peons Are...while collecting money from the dole here in the U.S.

          Am I calling Rand a hack writer and a hypocrite?

          Why, yes. I am. She was.

          Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

          by Youffraita on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 12:39:18 AM PDT

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        •  I confess to having liked atlas shrugged (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Brecht

          And fountainhead a lot and have read them several times.

          We the living has the advantage of being short, but I didn't like it nearly as much.

          I think Ellsworth Toohey and The James taggarts are good examples of the quintessential republicans and that her philosophy of selfishness is a loser, but I found the books to be real page turners.

          Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. - Gandalf the Grey

          by No Exit on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 08:22:01 AM PDT

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    •  Don't worry; I'm no Libertarian. (3+ / 0-)

      Interesting. The only part of Atlas Shrugged that I felt dragged was the chapter where John Galt was explaining his (Ayn Rand's) philosophy.  I thought that chapter was too long and far too much of a lecture for a novel.

      I think that her philosophy is full of holes.  It is a survival of the fittest code where she has determined that the fittest are those who produce the most.  Anyone who can't produce can be left to die.  

      This only works if her view that only those who can produce deserve to live, is accepted.  I think that if a society is based on survival of the fittest, anyone who can accrue the most power would control, regardless of how they obtained it.

      Anyway, this is very enjoyable.  I knew Ayn Rand would be a controversial choice, but I think she deserves to be included here.

      •  I know her philosophy grew from revulsion against (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest, WB Reeves

        Russia, and what went wrong with their revolution. Though if she made to the US in 1925, I'd have thought she escaped by far the worst of it, under Stalin. I think a problem with her philosophy, her fiction, and how she lived her life is, that she claimed it was all built on reason, when it was mostly based in her own strong hungers, wishes and fears, and was merely a dollhouse of rationalizations constructed on top of them.

        I agree about that long Galtian explanation, which stopped the action in its tracks. I think that was where Rand started pretending her dollhouse was logical and architecturally sound.

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 07:30:35 PM PDT

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    •  A quote from John Rogers: (4+ / 0-)
      There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year-old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged.  One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world.  The other, of course, involves orcs.
      I much prefer the orcs.

      "May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house." - George Carlin

      by Most Awesome Nana on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 07:12:04 AM PDT

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