Saturday, November 15, 2014

100 Book Project: Books #101 and #102 - Dark, Sharp, Important

I bought 100 Years of Cholera, I mean Love in the Time of Cholera on the kindle app, so I've been reading it on my cracked phone (data off!) and on my laptop which as a bonus gives off the illusion that I'm working.

But since I'm on my scooter and don't carry my laptop to campus and also because my phone battery was dead, I picked up another book this week during a lull in office hours.

It was a thin book and I had an hour between classes so I gave it a shot. When the student handed me the book I winced and said "Not Ayn Rand. She's scary. And mean. Or something." He shook his head and laughed at me and trusted I would enjoy it.

 I didn't want to. I had it in my mind she was more horrifying than anything Ann Rice could've unleashed in a entire vampire series

In the 80s, in college on a very liberal and very conservative campus in New Orleans, I remember seeing xeroxed copies of announcements  posted here and there for an Ayn Rand society for people to talk about her books and the role of the individual in society.I didn't give it a second thought because the people who went to those meetings acted like Tom Cruise in Risky Business, dressed like Alex P. Keaton and talked about making money and how awesome Reagan was.  They scared me, so I did my thing and read books about Irish immigrants and Russian tsars instead.

Anthem by Ayn Rand is a quick dark sharp tale  set in a state-run everyone-is-equal everyone-works-together dystopia and I loved it.    You should read it. If I'd read this book sooner, I would have assigned it to my classes over the past two decades.

When I finished it I downloaded a copy of The Fountainhead and read it.

 This story is long-winded (long. winded. I give you permission to skim here and there, OK? here's your doctor's note....) and not as fun to read as Anthem but it is equally powerful.

Plot overview. A talented architect designs a building. It is his masterpiece. Is it his? Or does it belong to society to change as they see fit? He decides and takes action, which makes him the first architect superhero ever.  Oh, and he's the kind of superhero that rapes women and turns them into psycho stalkers. Double awesome.

If you've never read Ayn Rand, pick up one of her books and let yourself enjoy the work of a  great (tortured?) modern philosopher.

 Here are  links to read them for free.


You can read the books for free ---
Anthem by Ayn Rand

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand