Who is John Galt? sigh, I’m not sure I care.Posted: July 8, 2004
I always feel kind of lazy whenever I fill out one of those “Getting to know you” questionaires because they always ask the dreaded question; “What are your hobbies?”. Sometimes I consider lying just to make myself more interesting, but I end up jotting down the same boring answers.
I enjoy reading, watching movies, and spending time with friends.
I guess I could add sewing to the list, but I don’t know if that’s really a hobby. I would prefer my answer to look like this:
I enjoy snow skiing, rock climbing, ice sculpture, fight club, and am a member of the Vidocq Society.
But no…. instead, I read and watch movies and then talk about my most recent mental adventures with other people who are also not members of the Vidocq Society.
At any rate, reading is my main hobby and I guess it’s a pretty decent one to have. Recently, I’ve read some books I normally wouldn’t have bothered with. For ages, I only read classics and newer books by certain authors. So in between Stienbeck and Dickens, I would indulge myself with a nice, hollow Michael Crichton or Tony Hillerman book. I know neither Crichton nor Hillerman are exceptional authors. Both of them write one book over and over again. I’ll sum up for you in case you’ve never read one of their books.
Every Michael Crichton fiction novel: Science minded people invent something new and remarkable. The something new and remarkable does something unexpected resulting in a crisis. Science minded people spend the rest of the book trying to control said crisis and the world is saved at the very last second.
Every Tony Hillerman fiction novel: Navajo Tribal police officers investigate a crime that to them and all the locals, at first, appears to be related to supernatural activity. Upon further investigation (usually by Jim Chee or Joe Leaphorn), a logical explanation is uncovered, arrests are made, and everyone is just as miserable as they were in the beginning.
Despite the seemingly repetitive nature of both these authors, I truly enjoy almost everything they write. Recently, I realized that surely others are writing good, even spectacular, fiction as we speak. It started when a friend loaned me a copy of The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. I read it and loved it. It was really quite good – one of the better books I’d read in the last 5 years. So I started looking at the bestsellers list, and the “Popular Fiction” displays at my local bookstore. My quest for good, recent fiction has been mostly successful. Life of Pi by Yann Martel was fantastic, as was A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines. I was a bit dissapointed in The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (good story, but not the greatest writer) and Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk (again, great story but would have been much better in the hands of a more competent author). The real gem in all of this has been Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. This book was simply fantastic and I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a book as much as this one. If you haven’t read it, I can’t recommend it enough. Unless you don’t read too good, then you should pick up the audiobook…. or maybe just skip it altogether. I also picked up his The Virgin Suicides which was also very well written, though not as enjoyable as Middlesex. So after the Eugenides books, I know the next book will most likely suck. That is why I have chosen Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged as my next undertaking. And undertaking is likely to be an understatement. This book is 1069 pages long and with a much smaller font size than what you normally see in a mass market paperback. I’m guessing I’ll have to put in at least 2 weeks of reading to get through this one. I know this book is considered important and I’ve known many people who think it’s one of the greatest books ever written. Unfortunately, I’ve disliked a great many of these people who deem it required reading. I admit, the back cover isn’t overly inspiring.
The astounding story of a man who said that he would stop the motor of the world – and did.
It goes on to tell me that this book is tremendous in scope, breathtaking in its suspense. The breathtaking part sounds pretty good, but tremendous in scope? I’m not liking the sound of that… maybe 3 weeks is more realistic. I am going to try to enjoy it. This book is promising to answer the immortal query “who is John Galt?”. Personally, until I read the back cover, I didn’t know that was a question that was supposed to haunt me. Maybe after I read the book it will. Time will tell, it might be really fantastic. I’m 21 pages into it and I haven’t tried to hang myself with a leather belt yet. If you’ve read this book, let me know what you thought. I might give up on it and move on to something less tremendous. At any rate, I’ll be back in 2 to 3 weeks to give my final word on it. Not that my final word is definitive, but I figure if you’ve read this whole post you deserve to know how it went.