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Rule#3, Atlas Shrugged, and Irony

April 24, 2011

Again, we dysfunctional literates have very few rules (for now) about the books we read, but this rule seems to have few exceptions.

Rule #3- No books more than 500 pages long.

How many stories are truly worth the effort it takes to read (much less write) 500 pages?  A few might be worth it, but not many.  Usually a novel longer than 500 pages means that the editors didn’t do their jobs (or in the case of 19th century Russian authors, the translators didn’t do theirs either).


Not that Ayn Rand should be compared to 19th century Russian writers, but is the story of Atlas Shrugged worth 1200 pages?  If it were 500 pages, maybe even 550 pages, but 1200?  If you need to start drinking power shakes and hitting the weight room before reading a novel, then the book might be too long.


What a disappointment!  We dysfunctional literates love Greek mythology, and when I saw Atlas Shrugged, I got excited, thinking, ‘This is bigger than Bullfinch!  How could it not be awesome?”

After reading a few pages, a grim realization began to set in.  John Galt was not a Greek mythological character.

The book, at 1200 pages with small print breaks the Dysfunctional Literacy Rule #3.  Rumor has it that there is a 60 page speech in the book.  I could barely read The Gettysburg Address, and that was written by a real president, not a fictional character.  And this 60 page speech is supposedly a 60 page speech.  It’s not a three page State of the Union with an hour’s worth of fake applause so that a bunch of politicians can mug for the cameras.


Rumor also has it that there are poorly written adult scenes in the book.  We at Dysfunctional Literacy might not enjoy a poorly written adult scene as much as we used to, but we at least appreciate the attempt.  30 years ago, many of us would have crawled across broken glass to read a poorly written adult scene, but now we have cable and the internet, where poorly written adult scenes are readily available and sometimes free.  Still, it might be worth reading Atlas Shrugged for the awkward adult moments if the novel were 500 pages instead of 1200.  But alas, many of us will never know.


Wouldn’t it be ironic if Atlas Shrugged were made into a movie, but very few movie theaters were willing to play it?  That’s so ironic that Alanis Morissette wouldn’t understand it.  Or maybe it really isn’t ironic, in which case Alanis Morissette and I can point fingers and mock each other’s ignorance.


UPDATE- June 20, 2018

Yeah, I know this is a lame blog post.  As tempting as it is to delete it (and it’s tempting), I’m leaving it up to show my development as a blogger/writer.  Yes, I know this post sucks.  I’m pretty sure I knew it sucked when I wrote it, but back then I saw this blog as practice because I knew nobody was reading it and I could experiment a little.  Some experiments go horribly wrong.

One Comment
  1. When I was about 14 years old (traveling through six high schools in three states because my father worked for a “Dr. Strangelove” defense contractor trying to blow up the world in the midst of the cold war — the defense contractor, not my dad, though I could not stand my dad and probably killed him — very Freudian) I was trapped in a house we renting in Wisconsin in mid-winter and had nothing to read but two large books in the house. GONE WITH THE WIND and ATLAS SHRUGGED. I read both books, all the way through. I am now 68 years old and I am still convinced that reading both those books at the age of 14 destroyed my psyche and sanity for life.

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