Atlas Shrugged

Atlas Shrugged is one of those books I’ve been meaning to read for some time. I’m a little intimidated by the 1,000 plus pages and have procrastinated because of it. I can’t complain too much because I’m reading The Girl With Dragon Tattoo, and that is roughly 600 pages in paperback. Maybe it’s good practice Atlas Shrugged? (number of pages not content!)

The movie for Atlas Shrugged came out this weekend, and I’m motivated to read the book. I prefer to read the book then the movie (Water for Elephants comes out this month!). I’ve never tried it the other way although I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on The Godfather or The Shining.

Like all books that become movies, if Atlas Shrugged the movie is sub par, I don’t want it to ruin my reading experience.

I’ve heard nothing but great things about the book so I know I won’t regret the time investment. Movie wise, I’m hearing mixed reviews. Rotten Tomatoes didn’t have anything too positive. I’m hearing and reading a lot of words like “low-budget” and “unfamiliar cast” which never spell anything good for a movie. In this situation, it’s the message that’s important.

I understand the movie to be the anthem for conservatism . I guess, it depends on who you talk to. Ayn Rand wasn’t a Republican, but she wasn’t a Democrat either. I’ve learned she was an individualist and devoted much of her efforts to fighting communism. I can get behind that. I worry the book does a better job conveying the message of limited government and self-reliance while the movie is preachy in the same regard and turns people off.

I’ll have to wait and find out. I know that Atlas Shrugged has been regarded as one of the best novels of the 20th century and can’t wait to discover it – right after I’m done with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

Water For Elephants

Just finished Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen last week — excellent read. This book came at the suggestion of my wife, who keeps surprising me by her recommendations!

The book is about Jacob who’s about to sit for his vet final exams, but he learns his parents just died in a car crash. He finds out that there’s nothing left. The banks own everything, and to make matters worse the story takes place during the Great Depression. Jacob winds up running away and joining a struggling circus as a vet. He meets and falls in love with the wife of his boss, and I’ll stop there.

What I like about Gruen’s writing is her pacing. From the descriptions to the thoughts of the main character, the book moves well and picks up speed where it needs to and lets you catch your breath when you need to.

I was reluctant to read this book at first. I figured it was some kind of sappy romance about the circus. Of course, I was way off. The story is gritty and tense, but equally beautiful and exciting. The characters aren’t novel ideas, there’s nothing new here. What is new is throwing these characters into a traveling circus during the Depression. This discovery made me realize that while some agents often cite interest character driven novels, I enjoyed watching Gruen’s average characters live in a world unfamiliar to most.

I highly recommend this book as I believe it will appeal to almost any literary tastes. The writing is exceptional and the story is first-rate. I’ve read that this book will be a movie soon. As most books to movie go read Water For Elephants first than wait for the movie on Netflix or cable.

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