Late last night I finished Atlas Shrugged. The day before yesterday I sort of got muddled down in "The Speech". Yesterday I intended to at a minimum get through "The Speech". I finished it in the evening and then talked with Wifey for awhile. I read a bit more and at about 11 I had 50 pages or so left. I decided to stay up and finish it. By about midnight I saw how it played out and got to THE END. Now it is time to review it. I will do my best not to spoil anything but still do a meaningful review.
A real quick description of the story. Basically Atlas Shrugged follows 3 groups of people: some big business type industrialists, people who think others should give them stuff who are called moochers, and those who use force to take from others who are called looters. It follows these 3 groups of people through an increasingly regulated and socialist society. As the situation deteriorates things get more and more interesting as these philosophies as personified by the characters clash.
The Good: It made me think a lot about politics, my thoughts and values. It didn't fundamentally reshape anything for me as I pretty much was a heartless libertarian (though with a grasp on reality so I have some Republican leanings) but it did support and deepen my thinking on some issues.
The Bad: I found it bitterly ironic that while Atlas Shrugged talked about how people should be free to do whatever they want (socially and economically) it also had decisive elements of judgment. The attitude was "everything I do/think is perfect" and people who do otherwise suck. Interestingly the judgments were almost all social and in some ways conflicted with the actions of the characters. That a woman who could ramble for 70 pages about how people should be economically free can toss out random glib and superficial judgments of various social behaviors of others really bothers me.
The Ugly: Have I mentioned that this book was long. I mean ridiculously long. I guess Ayn Rand found art and beauty in pages of rambling about how a skirt layed on the legs of a character while she smoked a cigarette or how some trees looked or whatever. It wasted a ton of my time and drove me completely nuts. At a couple points it picked up but books shouldn't be boring multiple times for a couple hundred pages. What people who write Paladin Press books do to get from say 75 pages to their requisite 120-140 (unnecessary repetition and just needless rambling) Ayn Rand seems to have done, except it took the book from say 700-800 pages to over 1,100. This book puts a lot of people off because it is really long, in my personal opinion the book didn't need to be anywhere near as long as it was. I feel like a lot of my time was wasted.