I have to admit from a purely materialistic view I have often seen the massive books of Ayn Rand in book shops and merely wanted them because of the wonderful covers that the Penguin Modern Classic editions have. This, whilst natural, is also rather ridiculous as actually when they are on the shelves, after what would possibly be about two months it could take to read, all anyone is going to see is the massive spines. Yet it does seem like fate has been pointing me in her direction lately and this has got me wondering.
On The First Tuesday Book Club, possibly my favourite book based show, one of the choices for this months discussion (which you can see on their website) was ‘Atlas Shrugged’ which is one of host Jennifer Byrne’s favourites. It ended up, bar Byrne, being universally disliked and accused of being overly long and less a novel more a book of philosophy. Yet strangely I ended up thinking ‘oooh maybe that would be a monster I could try and tackle one day’ though of course I have said the same about ‘Ulysses’ and look where that got me… absolutely nowhere. I tried it failed, but have kept it on the book shelves for a rainy day or ninety.
Now, in fact just yesterday, I am reading (one of my naughtily ignored until now library loots) Norah Ephron’s collection ‘Wallflower at the Orgy’ and who is one of her essays about? You guessed it, Ayn Rand and also her book ‘The Fountainhead’ which Ephron seems to rather praise and which became rather a cult classic against all odds. This has piqued my interest yet again and I am left wondering if actually this is an author who not only has come out in delightful editions of late (I cant loose the materialistic streak, sorry) and who it seems can write a blinking long yarn or three.
I am tempted by the two mentioned ‘The Fountainhead’ and ‘Atlas Shrugged’ but am wondering whether I should really start at the beginning with ‘We The Living’ which has a rather saucy cover it has to be said. I haven’t yet looked at the blurbs and maybe that would be the place to head to next. However I thought you lovely lot might be the perfect place to start really, so…
Have you read any Ayn Rand? Was it a pleasant affair or really just hard work with no real rewards? Where would you suggest I start or would you actually say that the idea of even contemplating one of her novels doesn’t bear thinking about? Would anyone else be willing to join in with some ‘Rand Reading’ and maybe we could provide each other with some support and hand holding through the blogosphere?