Atlas Shrugged Read Along (#AtlasRAL) – Part Two

Atlas Shrugged PT 2

It’s the summer of the chunkster! A group of us decided to read Atlas Shrugged (#AtlasRAL) this summer and we have hit our second milestone which was to complete part two by July 31st.

“There are no evil thoughts except one: the refusal to think.”
— Francisco d’Anconia

In part two, the world’s greatest thinkers and producers give-up and then disappear. Wyatt sets all of his oil fields on fire so now there is a major oil shortage. Hammond disappears and he was the last producer of railroad cars for the industry. Dannager of Dannager Coal eventually closes shop. What is going on with these people?

A few thoughts:

  • This book is blowing my mind!
  • As Dagny struggles to hold the railroad together, she is the center of attention for many of the men in the story. A lot of drama in the relationship department.  As another blogger said, “Pick a man, already!”
  • The idea that these “thinkers” are being picked off by “destroyers” of humanity is an interesting thought.
  • A very special cigarette, not of this world, makes an appearance. What is THAT about? Aliens? An alternate dimension?
  • What is with the clock above the city? Only one character seems to see it and in each reference, it floats above the city. What?

Atlas Shrugged RAL

Question to ponder:

There are two teams in this book. One team believes that whatever you do, should be for the good of the people. The other team believes that everything you do, should be done for yourself and only yourself. In the beginning, I sided with the do-gooders. But now, I am siding with the selfish folk. Can  you think of an instance when being selfish is best?

Initial reactions:

The size of this book is not an issue for me. At 1200+ pages, I’ve had absolutely no trouble getting into the story and have in fact, read ahead of schedule. I have to make myself stop so that I don’t get too far ahead because this is a read-along, after all.

For those reading with me, what are your thoughts so far? Two of you are already done with it and I know a few of you just finished part one but overall, what are your thoughts about what you’ve read so far?

If you are curious about the comments going back and forth on Twitter, search on #AtlasRAL for some good entertainment.

If you need a page breakdown of the book, click here for a visual.

Next up, finish the book by August 15th. We are in the home stretch!

Review: Kitchens of the Great Midwest

Kitchens of the Great Midwest

Kitchens of the Great Midwest
By J. Ryan Stradal
(Pamela Dorman Books, Hardcover, 9780525429142, July 28, 2015, 320pp.)

The Short of It:

Food has a way of bringing people together but in this novel, not only do they come together, but they continually evolve to discover who they really are.

The Rest of It:

Lars Thorvald, a chef, spends his days consumed with the beauty of the bounty before him. His wife Cynthia, an aspiring sommelier, appears to be his perfect match, but when their daughter Eva is born, Cynthia realizes that motherhood is not for her and abandons both her husband and infant daughter to pursue a life elsewhere.

This was a wonderful read. Many have said that it reads like a collection of short stories but I didn’t get that feeling at all. Each chapter is based on an ingredient that becomes very important at the end of the novel, but it lends a certain mystery to the story as new characters are introduced and the pieces begin to come together.

If you are a foodie, you will enjoy this book. Even if you’re not, you will enjoy this book because it’s smart and the characters are a little quirky and flawed but they all meld together to tell a really good story.

It’s about family and friends and really, the pursuit of happiness and whatever your definition of happiness may be.

This is a debut novel for Stradal but you’d never know it while reading it. It’s a delightful read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Make sure you check out these additional resources:

Fun Resources for your Book Club!

Online Book Club Kit (recipes, wine pairings, playlists!)
Q & A with J. Ryan Stradal

Source: Sent to me by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Chatting with friends about books and life…

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