Whatcha readin?

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dwillen
Participant
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I’m reading “What Is the What?”.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Book thickness is not, in itself, a reliable indicator of a book’s importance, nor should it be a deterrent to reading it.

0502011237

Bottom to top: Koran, Catholic Bible, KJV Bible, Ayn Rand.

(The cover on the Catholic Bible got a bit chewed up on a bike ride one time.)


helen s
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I read Banner of Heaven this past winter – and am glad I did so after and not before spending a week in Utah 2 summers ago. If felt it was a pretty scary book.

Read both Atlas and Fountainhead many years ago. Not sure I absorbed many of her ideas that so many adore or hate recently. I do remember coming out with the idea that one should do one’s best no matter how menial the job.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
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@historian:

Nowhere in my post do I disrespect your curiosity. I was merely expressing my policy on other people’s opinions – especially when it comes to things I have not read. I only jumped off your thread because you stated you had not read Atlas either.

You’ve established you are political. It is well known Atlas is highly regarded by conservatives. Your previous query about why someone else found it awful can only lead to your response about why they are wrong to think so – particularly because you have not read it either.

IMHO, politics is personal. As in: whatever you believe, however you vote, is not my business. Just as whatever I believe and however I vote is not your business. What my OPINIONS are, are not up for debate, and so I respect that other people’s OPINIONS are their own. It is the height of disrespect to debate another’s opinions.

So, if someone else says they dislike a book or a policy or a politician, what business is it of mine to challenge them on that opinion? I try to respect that person’s opinion in that way.

Now, of course a hearty debate is healthy for a democracy and, under ideal circumstances, enlightens all participants. However, in my personal practice, opinions about books and politics are not something I am in the habit of challenging. That’s just not somewhere I like to go. To each their own.


fungicyclist
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@ALMKLM:

With the hope and intention of preventing this thread from taking the “edwardm, why do you hate gay cars so?” road, let me point out Rand is a roadmap for followers of the Libertarian movement, not the conservatives. Though I haven’t read his pieces in the Chess Journals, I perused a few of thehistorian’s nearly 13,000 posts over the past four years at bikeforums.net, and he identifies as a Libertarian.

I have read both Fountainhead and Shrugged.

I’ve reread Moby Dick more times then any tome, though Huck Finn is closing in on the white whale with his raft.

I read Cormac McCarthy when I’m depressed; he reduces me to the laughter of despair.

Currently, The Soul Of A Chef is the light fare on the menu, and John Gardner’s “The Art Of Living” because he’s one of the most important writers of the last century and among my favorites. I recommend “Mickelsson’s Ghosts” for its sort of local flavour, though any of Gardner’s works will do in a pinch.


Steven
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FWIW, I didn’t interpret thehistorian’s comment as attacking frisbee’s opinion, merely asking him or her for a more detailed critique.

Your previous query about why someone else found it awful can only lead to your response about why they are wrong to think so – particularly because you have not read it either.

Seems like you’re preemptively criticizing thehistorian for comments you’re certain he’ll make in response to whatever frisbee might say. It might be fairer to wait until he actually makes them. (And since frisbee has posted 7 times in 3 years, you both might be in for a long wait.)


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
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Thanks, fungi, and @historian – accept my apologies for id’ing you as conservative.


edmonds59
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I took thehistorians initial question to be of sincere interest in what it was about the book, I did not take it as pre-loaded with accusatory political implications as some may have, thusly I did not jump in. A little too much reading between the lines, perhaps.

Although when I read Atlas a long time ago, I did have a similar reaction of dislike, long before I had any developed political senses. And I used to be a voracious reader. Now that I have developed politically, I abhor AR on her own merits. I also abhorred “Lolita”, another classic, mainly because of the vileness of the protagonist, which I suppose means at least the writing got through to me.

I have probably read more Kerouac than any other single writer, so I suppose I’m more of a frustrated Libertine than Libertarian.


Chris Mayhew
Participant
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@pseudacris We should message or email about your 2nd book. csmayhew/gmail

@The Ayn Rand fight:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvQ2JF-glvw

Reading right now:

Blind Man’s Bluff

&

Project Azorian

To read:

I’ve got a couple of books on Pararescuemen I want to read.

Favs:

_Inside Delta Force_, _Not a Good day to Die_ (featuring Ryan Trebon’s dad)

This is a cool thread.


Mick
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Catching up and commenting on books I’ve read.

@ ewjme. I’ve given The Golden Notebook to young women to give them perspoective on things. Lessing won the Nobel prize in 2007, so there really are people that have heard of her.

Atlas Shrugged. I can’t say why frisbee found the book not so good.

I found the characters wooden, the story forced, unrealistic, and, in the end, not supportive of her capitalist theme.

As person with a philosophy degree, and a slight knowledge of the history of railroads and the metal industry, I found the so-called philosophy and historical perspective laughable.

You should know about the history, historian. The railroads (and somewhat the metal industry) Rand wrote about were run on government cronyism, not the capitalism she extolled.

The part of Atlas Shrugged where the hero takes over national radio and expounds his philosophy for 50+ pages is painful to read. Someone who has not encountered real philosphical writing might consider it painful but enlightening. I consider it merely painful.

There is a reason why her books are labeled fiction (with the exception of one, where excerpts of her fictional works are labeled as “Philosophy.”)

There are people , like Greenspan, whose intellects I respect, who have at one point followed Rand. That puzzles me. Last I heard, however, the “objectivists” considered Greenspan to have betrayed them, and Greenspan says followed her more for her charisma than her ideology.

What Rand has going for her, is she seemed to have originated the “appeal to their rage” school of right-wing polemicism that is so popular now.

Basically Rand is, in my opinion, the political-economic philosophy equivalent of the carnival barker birthers.


ejwme
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re: Doris Lessing… Sounds like I talk to all the wrong people about literature (ok, so I talk to other engineers any my family, who read bodice rippers if anything). I’m encouraged to find other Lessing fans, thank you for correcting me! I am slightly perturbed at her having written the libretto of a Phillip Glass opera, but I think that is too far off topic, even for this thread.


thehistorian
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Hmm, I didn’t mean to start a discussion on Rand’s politics. (I realize at least one person probably thinks I did, but at least his kids….) I was curious about someone’s reaction to Atlas Shrugged, since so much of the praise and spitting at the book is as much about the politics as the prose. As I stated, I’ve not read AS, but I loved The Fountainhead enough to name one of my bikes after the protagonist. But not because of the politics of the book. Here’s why I named my bike Roark….

In the beginning of the novel Howard Roark is being dismissed from architecture school for not completing coursework. He complains to the dean that he’s being asked to turn in drawings of “Italian villas” instead of original work. The dean makes a comment about the Parthenon and Roark dismisses it as bad work. The Greeks copied designs for wood construction and used them in marble instead of creating something using marble’s qualities. Rand is drawing on Louis Sullivan’s “form follows function” essay to an extent for Roark’s argument.

I don’t look like 99 per cent of the cyclists on this board. Nor do I ride like them. Instead of trying to copy other cyclists, I’m forced by my shape and odd structure to be original. My bikes, with their extended crank arms and raised stems and flat bars reflect that. I and my bikes don’t look like everyone else, but I think we are a case of “form following function.”


thehistorian
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Oh, BTW, I am a conservative, not a Libertarian. And yes, I do expect to be trolled from time to time anytime I’m among cyclists.


greenbike
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Reading right now: Devastation and Renewal: An Environmental History of Pittsburgh and its Region.

On the to-be read list: similar books relating to environmental history

Favorites list…ah, it’s been so long since I’ve read a book for pleasure that I almost forget. The Maltese Falcon and Nightmare Town are the two that come to mind the quickest.


sprite
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I like how the “can of worms” went unopened (thanks for the link, I’m bookmarking it in case of future need) and the scuffle is over Rand.


ejwme
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greenbike – First time I read the Maltese Falcon I got to the end and immediately flipped to page one & started over. Awesome book read during an awesome summer (hung out in Montreal with my dad and absolutely nothing to do but read through grampa’s library before auction sold it) Thank you for reminding me of that :D


greenbike
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ejwme–You’re very welcome! That book is so awesome.


thehistorian
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“…the scuffle is over Rand.”

It seems like the discussion was over Rand, but the scuffle was over my alleged intentions.


Mick
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“…the scuffle is over Rand.”

That was more me getting out of line.

I don’t actually have to stomp three time and spit every time Rand’s name is mentioned.


thehistorian
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“…stomp three time and spit every time Rand’s name is mentioned.”

An incantation to protect you?


sprite
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I’m currently reading Swallows and Amazons to my (would-be pirate) daughter and rereading Hunting Party (Elizabeth Moon) which coincidentally refers once to S&A (as “some book”).


frisbee
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Forgot about this thread for a few days, think the discussion about Atlas Shrugged is interesting. I do not like the book because of the writing style. I can agree with some of the philosophy-I lean conservative on a lot of economic issues, and agree with strong individual rights, rational self interest leads to higher production, etc. Although I am a government worker so Ayn Rand would probably fire me.

I just don’t like how everything ia so black and white in the book though. In the first 30 pages you know that the industrialists are the only good guys, and the government is a bad bunch of looters. By page 200 this is very firmly established. There is no subtlety about it. However, she keeps hammering it in to your head for another 500 or more pages. If you are going to be that blunt and black and white about things, you don’t need 1200 pages to do it! I start getting bored reading the same thing about looters, and her long winded descriptions and speeches. I think she could have accomplished what she wanted in half of the pages.

I did read The Fountainhead, and liked that better. However inthought Roark’s big speech at the end was very forced and out of character for him.


KBrooks
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Currently reading Musicophilia, by Oliver Sacks. (http://musicophilia.com/) Fascinating.

Happens to mesh nicely with a book I read earlier this year, The Brain That Changes Itself, by Norman Doidge. (http://www.normandoidge.com/normandoidge/MAIN.html)

I’ll admit to reading The Fountainhead in high school, based on my obsession with the band Rush. Didn’t find it as good as other books read for the same reason, such as Big Money, by John Dos Passos, which could be viewed as a counterpoint to Rand. (http://www.amazon.com/Big-Money-Three-U-S-Trilogy/dp/0618056831)


thehistorian
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“I did read The Fountainhead, and liked that better. However inthought Roark’s big speech at the end was very forced and out of character for him.”

I think he was forced to give that speech, even though it wasn’t his style. Previous time he was on trial he passed around photographs. He lost.

BTW, do you recall the two bike references in The Fountainhead? One is the fact Elsworth Toohey never rode a bike as a child. Rand is using that to establish both his seriousness and joylessness.

The second is the nameless young man riding on a trail in NE PA who comes across Roark working on the site of one of the homes he designed. It might be the earliest reference to ‘mountain biking’ in literature.

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