Spotted: Atlas Shrugged

When I was in middle school/high school, I would often see “Atlas Shrugged” in our local bookstore, staring back at me from the small fiction section.  Given the size of the book, it probably took up a good proportion of the small fiction section.   Given the size of our town, and the book store, it was probably THE same book that I saw every time I went there.

I found the title (not to mention the cover) quite titillating.  Having an affection for Greek Mythology that straddled the border between healthy intellectual curiosity and early indicator of future psychological problems, the idea of Atlas actually shrugging cast the anchor away for my imagination.  Why did Atlas shrug?  Did someone ask him a question and he didn’t know?  Did he have a cramp?  And what was the significance?  Is that why we have earthquakes?  Or was it just a metaphor for some other earth shaking event?

Unfortunately, I found the pure length of the book as intimidating as I found the title interesting, so I never actually bought or read the book.  I did read some of Ayn Rand’s essays though during trips in the back of our family’s truck, and found her idea of “objectivity” to be enticing, though ultimately impossible to confirm.

To this day.  I think Atlas Shrugged would be something I would like to read, but my curiosity has bee somewhat blunted by the way her name and this book have become closely associated with pure laissez-faire capitalism  (justified ) and the tea party (somewhat justified, not sure if they realize she was an atheist).   I’d like to read a good fictional novel, not sure if I want to get a misanthropic humanist philosophical allegory.   Is it worth the time and effort?

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