Saturday, April 19, 2014

Fast Read

Two days, and done already!  Wow - that went fast!

As I knew I would, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  My favorite quote, speaking about how "great" utopias are: "The nightmare of swarming indistinguishable sameness."  And therein lies the problem.  Utopias - no such thing.

Another great quote:  "I don't want comfort.  I want God.  I want poetry.  I want real danger.  I want freedom.  I want goodness.  I want sin."   Aah, don't we all?!

I am also reminded of Miranda Lambert's new single, "Automatic," where she reminisces on the "good old days," with lines like "stand in line to pay for gas" and "let's take a picture, the kind you gotta shake."  This song came to mind as John mused about creating something with his hands, "after all those weeks of idleness in London, with nothing to do, whenever he wanted anything, but to press a switch or turn a handle, it was pure delight to be doing something that demanded skill and patience."

And my favorite part of the book - how often Huxley talks about television where there was no such thing at that time!  I find that totally amazing.  There were people working on the concept of television at the time, but it was not an actual  thing until several years after this book was written.  It's totally cool that he had heard about the work being done and put it in his novel.  And in the same vein, you can easily equate the "synthetic music box" with radio, but I think it could be a premonition of the iPod, and the sound-track rolls and the reading machines sound an awful lot like cassette tapes, don't they?!

I just looked it up, and Huxley died the day JFK was shot - becoming just a footnote in history at that point since the news programs would have had other, more pressing news to cover.  His death probably would not have even been mentioned for several days because of JFK, but at least I know he lived long enough to see how ubiquitous television become in the homes of most Americans and, I assume, the British as well.

On to the next book - we're up to Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, originally published in 1936.  The biggest downside to having to read this is it's over 1000 pages - in hardback!  It's got to be easier to get through than Atlas Shrugged, so on I go.  I don't know anyone who doesn't know the basic plot of this book, so I'll just jump right into it and hope for the best.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Big Difference

Actually huge - ginormous even.  I am already over a third of the way through this novel, and it feels GREAT!!  As I have mentioned, I like utopian novels, so this one is such an easy read.  I love to hear about how the state is doing everything for the people's benefit, but, funnily enough, they never seem to consult the actual people.  This novel is no different - there are already a couple of citizens who would appear to be divergent in thought, and isn't that always the way the "perfect" state always goes down by the end of these novels.  I can't wait!!

Done and done!

God help me if I ever get the notion in my head to read Ayn Rand again!  Oh, my goodness, that was tedious!  I mean, I get it - man's mind and ability to think is his greatest asset and achievement, but see how I put that in a few words and not 1168 pages.  I really do mean that I will try to rewrite that book in 300 pages or less; call it a fan fiction tribute.  I like the  ideas contained in the book, just not the length of pages it took her to spit them out. But what really surprises me is that is ONLY took me six weeks to read this!

Anyway - onward and upward.  Next up is the 1932 novel Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (a mere 199 pages!!!).  Somehow, I have managed never to read this, so I am wholeheartedly looking forward to it.  As I have mentioned before, utopian/dystopian novels are a favorite of mine, so that will make this an easy read.  And after the last two books, which together totaled 2000+ pages, this one will also be a quick read.  Here we go!!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Well, I tried...

I seriously tried to finish this novel tonight - only 40 pages to go, and I just can't do it.  Off to bed I go, knowing I will triumph over this book for good tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

And Now...

I am on page 1070 - so that's a mere 98 pages left to read.  I finally got through Chapter 7 of Section 3, which was nothing but 62 pages of Rand's soap-box speech.  Let me repeat - SIXTY-TWO PAGES of rambling that was mind-numbing to read.  There was even one point of Galt's speech where he mentioned he had been speaking for two hours - like anyone would have still been awake to hear him by then!  ^_^

I really wanted to like this novel, but at the risk of being as repetitive as Rand, repeating things four and five times on every other page is too much for me - as is the 1168 page magnum opus that holds me in its power right now.   With under 100 pages to go, however, I am seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, and a sweeter light has never been seen by anyone.

A Milestone

I just had to pause - in the middle of a chapter, no less - to let you know I am now on page 1000 of Atlas Shrugged.  Whoo hoo!!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Getting Frustrated

A couple more chapters down - only 200 pages left to go.  I am still struck by how full of herself Ayn Rand was - to call this her magnum opus when it's just the ramblings a blowhard who clearly thought too much of herself. I am glad to have read this book, for I now know what type of book I DON'T want to write.  I don't want to write words just for the sake of seeing how long I can go on spouting drivel (I know some can do that for about 1168 pages).  I think I will make it my life's work to turn this behemoth into a much more reasonable page length - without destroying any of the plot.  Not sure if that qualifies as plagiarism or not, but I want to prove it can be done, and that just because a book is bigger does not necessarily make it better.