Who is John Galt? sigh, I’m not sure I care.

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.

‘Til then,
Cheers!


4 Comments on “Who is John Galt? sigh, I’m not sure I care.”

  1. Arystarca says:

    Atlas Shrugged, I think is a remarkable book. I don’t care too much for Ayn Rand’s
    theory of Objectivism. Still she weaves a plot almost as interwoven as Tolkien’s with about as
    broad a scope. Don’t know if you will like it though. There are moments when it seems to plod,
    but I think it is worth reading.

  2. Courtney says:

    Because I seem to have infinite time to read (and the only book I haven’t read that you mentioned is Middlesex), I’ve read Atlas Shrugged. About ten times. I loved it and it really changed the way I thought about a few things.

    You may or may not like, it’s almost impossible to guess. I read the book in about 3 days. I finished it on the third night at some ungodly hour after reading straight through the night. It’s definitely broad in scope, but it gives so much to think about.

    After I finished it, I read pretty much every book she wrote, and ended up having to read really trashy books for a few months afterwards (like the Shopaholic books).

    Hope you enjoy it.

  3. Brent says:

    I don’t read good. However, I’m a great listener, and have found audiobooks to be the way to go while trekking cross-country in a small, camper-shelled Ford Ranger. I’m a Gemini, so I’ll leave the fiction to Leo’s and Pisces (or is that Piscii?). Recently I’ve discovered the thought invoking following:

    Against All Enemies – Richard Clarke
    Lies and the Lying Liars that tell them – Al Franken
    Life of Pi – Yann Martel
    My Life – Bill Clinton
    Stupid White Men – Michael Moore

    I’m currently eyeing the new David Brock book (actually, both of them) and I, Robot. I’m really interested in how Fox News relays the news to the public (“We Report, You Decide” sounds dangerous when you’re dealing with world-wide facts), and I’m hoping David can clear things up. The special effects of the new I, Robot movie begs me to read (listen) to the book before sitting through 2 hours of Will Smith shooting tin cans. I can’t imagine the movie to be anything like the book, other than the general idea (robots bad, humans good), and would hate to walk away from the flick thinking I’d just taken part in one of the best screen translations of a classic literary work. I figure I’d better go well armed rather than be informed of the mass injustice being done to the book from the 17yr old kid sitting behind me with his geek buddy.

    In any event, congrats on your recent reads and newfound excessive spare time.

    Viva la iTMS!!!

  4. Billie says:

    Courtney, could you please tell Mel there is nothing wrong with the shopaholic books? Yes, they are trashy (maybe not so much trashy as just plain mindless – sometimes necessary), but about halfway through the first book and after you get over your frustration and finally bore of thinking, ‘Is anyone really this stupid?’ you just have to get the poor girl through her mess and keep reading. Then, of course, you have to read the rest of them because you’re thinking that she pulled herself out of the first mess and what could she possibly get into now? Anyway Mel is in posession of the first book since I left it with her after my first trip to SEA. When I arrived in SEA the next time I asked how it went and Clint and Mel exchanged a look of some sort. Clint told me it was a touchy subject that I should leave alone and Mel explained that she hated it. And, so did I at first. Anyway – I read “The Secret Life of Bees” and fell in love. Then I read “Watermelon” by Marian Keyes which was also stupid and mindless but will certainly cause a person to laugh out loud at those ungodly hours of the night. It was certainly the funniest book I’ve ever read. It was slightly better than “Angels” which has very funny little quips that can be used at the right times and definitely better than “Sushi for Beginners” all by Marian Keyes. Perhaps I choose the mindless and trashy because too often I find myself reading trade books or “Clinical Neuropsychology” Third Edition textbooks or American Journal of Cardiology or “Statin Therapy Review” or perhaps I could blame my need for the stupid, mindless books on the Devil himself. In any event I have successfully avoided the last two Danielle Steel books which is quite amazing and was an old die hard left over from high school habit. Maybe there’s hope for me yet.


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