Friday, April 1, 2016

A: Ayn Rand, 'Atlas Shrugged' and Ann Arbor, Michigan

'Who is John Galt?'  Is there any opening line from a novel more iconic than that one?  Well, it is the only opening line from a novel that I can remember.

'Atlas Shrugged' was not the first Ayn Rand novel I read.  'The Fountainhead' was first.  I saw the movie, read the book and then I was hooked.  I had to read this novel.  Here was a writer, a Russian by birth, who had me asking myself questions about what I wanted in my life, what was important to me and what did I want to achieve in adulthood.

This book is not for everyone but it has been on my bookshelf several times.  Over the years I have bought this book, lent it out, and never had it returned, so I bought it again.  (I still do not understand why folks do not return books and have stopped lending them.)

So many books I read are just for pleasure.  This book was so much more than that for me.  As someone who grew up poor and knew what it was what like to eat food provided by welfare benefits (long before food stamps came along), I knew I wanted more in life than a handout.  I was smart and I knew I could achieve something in my life.



Encouraged by my Dad who had only an eighth grade education and my teachers, I found myself on a path to college and an adult life that as a child I could only see on TV and dream about.  I've been a union president in one job (as a medical technologist) and a public administrator in another and hope that I can be reasonable and see both sides of work issues.

This book has recently been made into a three-part movie and, while not great, it does provide a look into the ideas of Ayn Rand.

You may also like, or dislike, this interview from 1979 on Phil Donahue.

Ann Arbor, Michigan
The home of the University of Michigan will likely not be a place for many Ayn Rand fans, being known as a bastion of liberal thought.  Nevertheless, it is also the home of Zingerman's Deli (A to Z already), and has a wonderful campus venue for musical concerts.  Just walking around the town itself and visiting the little shops is a nice afternoon adventure.  Nearby are the Matthaei Botanical Gardens.  Oh yeah, they also have a football team at the university.  Easily accessible for a day trip for anyone in the lower half of the lower peninsula.



33 comments:

  1. I had not heard of this book, does sound interesting :) I had a friend where we used to live that if you lent her a book, you had to make sure your name was written in it, otherwise she totally forgot who had given her the book to read :)

    betty

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  2. Have never read this book, but I have heard of it. The trailer is quite interesting and the opening line curious.

    Pioneer Women in Aviation A-Z

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  3. Hello from A to Z. I have heard of this book. I remember my sister reading this years ago.

    It sounds like you've done some interesting things during your professional career.

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    1. I've had two very different and very interesting careers. Three if you count my years as a full time Mom.

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  4. At the age of about nine, I loaned a book about butterflies, that I had been given by my grandfather a couple of years earlier, to my teacher. I promptly forgot about it. In my final year at junior school, two years after that, I found 'my' book in the school library. The inscription by my grandfather was still in it, just above the wording "Property of [xxx] Junior Mixed School. Return to the library after use".
    After some discussion, the svhool agreed that it was mine, removed their "ex libris" lettering and returned it to me.
    I don't lend books out.

    Keith Channing at http://keithkreates.com

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  5. Great Blog and start to the A-Z Challenge... @CazsBooks from Welcome Aboard Greenham's yacht cazgreenham.blogspot.com dropped by to pay you a visit.

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  6. I have never read Atlas Shrugged, but Ayn Rand's Fountainhead really impressed me. That's one book I might like to read again, but I don't have the time for it anymore.
    I don't lend books unless I'm absolutely sure they will return to me.
    I've lost a copy of Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie because I lent it to someone. I also lost the friend I lent it to. She and the book disappeared together.
    Michigan sounds lovely. Thank you for the brief introduction.

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    1. One of the books I lent was to my hairdresser who I have had for over 30 years. When I see her tomorrow I am sure that I will think of it. I guess others think of books as disposable.

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  7. Your success as an adult is inspirational, and one many of our generation share. Atlas Shrugged and other reads by Ayn Rand are classic literary must reads at the college level if not earlier. Enjoyed the Ann Arbor clip. Great start for the AtoZ Challenge.
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

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  8. I haven't heard of this book, but it clearly means a lot to you, thanks for sharing.

    Sophie
    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles | Wittegen Press | FB3X

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  9. I'm shocked at the number of people who have never heard of Atlas Shrugged. As far as I'm concerned, it's a classic. I'm not a liberal. So I'm a fan of Ayn Rand.

    Romance Author Piper Presley
    A is for Anthology: Blogging for A to Z Challenge

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    1. A classic for me too. Maybe it should be required reading instead of some of the drivel required nowadays.

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  10. I have not read this book but you have certainly given me a desire to! You are off to a great start.
    Paula from
    Smidgen, Snippets, &
    Bits

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  11. So much of what Rand wrote has become true over time. I think I lent my copy of Atlas Shrugged, too, come to think of it. I guess I'll have to go buy another one.

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    1. I just ordered a copy of another book I lent out years ago and didn't get back.

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  12. While I don't always agree with Rand's philosophies, you can't argue with her time-tested wisdoms on many issues.

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  13. Ayn Rand makes one think, and that's a good thing. I only lend books to very worthy friends....have to be picky!! And Ann Arbor always sounds fun to me - college atmosphere and spirit. Happy A to Z

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  14. Fun fact: The first time I heard about Atlas Shrugged was from an X-men comic :) I have not read it yet, but one day I will.
    Ann Arbor is a fun place! I performed there at their storytelling festival :)
    Happy A to Z!

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    The Multicolored Diary
    MopDog

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  15. I also, a long time, learned (the hard way) not to lend books to anyone. I never got into Ayn Rand but a cousin's ex-significant other (we've remained blogging friends - in fact I wouldn't be blogging any more if not for her) is very much into Rand's philosophy. Alana@RamblinGarden from
    Ramblin with AM

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    1. Sad that we all seem to learn the hard way.

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  16. I've heard of the book but it has never a) come my way or b) made me interested enough to want to read it.

    Never been to Michigan so obviously never been to Ann Arbor.

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  17. I've never read Atlas Shrugged but my sister recommends it. I really need to get around to reading it!

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  18. I haven't read this, but I have heard a lot of good things about and I have it on "read eventually" list!
    Debbie

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  19. Atlas Shrugged has been on my 'to read some day' list for a long time.

    Great start to the challenge!

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    1. It's on my 'to re-read ' list. Along with many others.

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  20. Ok so I need to read it. Thanks for sharing the crux of the book.
    I'm A to Zing from: moondustwriter and Fill the Cracks

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  21. The first (and last book) by Ayn Rand that I read was "Anthem." I've never been to Michigan, but hoping to get to the UP later this year. Happy A to Z!

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  22. I never read the book but have seen the movie and...didn't care for it. Oh well. My Uncle was head of the German Dept at the U oversight here and we would also go and visit them in Ann Arbor. It hi k that is quite Pretty little city

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    1. The movie was not great. Amazing that it was even made.

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  23. I also do not lend books (as the good ones never seem to be returned) but have therefore also made the decision not to borrow from others (in case it takes me too long to read and return!).

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    1. I have often wondered if folks I 'lend' books to 'lend' them to others, throw them away, or keep them.

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