Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Exploring Atlas Shrugged

I am re-reading Ayn Rand's epic novel Atlas Shrugged.  I first read it about 10 years ago and its ideas had a profound impact on my world view.

About 5 years ago, I started rereading it, but got bogged down and didn't finish it.  I should point out that I am not a voracious reader.  I would usually rather be doing something hands-on, such as welding, playing a Beethoven sonata, or knitting.  Lately, I have been trying to make an effort to read more, as it is an excellent way to learn new things and broaden one's horizons.

Earlier this spring, I started rereading Atlas again, after I discovered Diana Hsieh's excellent webiste: Explore Atlas Shrugged.  She has a whole series of discussion questions and podcasts on the novel.  Then, a couple of weeks ago, I discovered a Meetup Group in Pasadena that is discussing the book.  The group meets on Tuesday nights and is also using the Explore Atlas Shrugged discussion questions.  Since they were about to meet and discuss chapter 3, and I was only on chapter 6 myself, I RSVP'd and went.

The group meets at a wine bar, which is an excellent place for hanging out and discussing a great novel.  There were about a half dozen of us.  Most are re-readers but there was one person who is reading it for the first time.  I hadn't reviewed chapter 3 prior to the meetup, ( I had a job interview come up somewhat suddenly, and preparing for it had to take priority,) and nearly revealed a plot point by accident, but I caught myself just in time.

I think it would be more interesting if there were more first-time readers in the group.  To that end, I lent a friend an extra copy of the book.  He may join us, although he can't make it this week.

Tonight we are meeting to discuss Chapter 4.  I am going to make sure I skim the chapter again so that I can participate a more fully.  As part of the discussion each week, we go around the table and each person gets to read their favorite passage or quote, and explain why they liked it.  It's neat to see what people's favorite quotes are, I'm looking forward to that part in particular.

Stay tuned for more discussion of the discussion of Exploring Atlas Shrugged!

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