What Should I Review After Atlas Shrugged?

What Should I Review After Atlas Shrugged? April 2, 2016

All good things must come to an end! My marathon review of Atlas Shrugged, the project that’s occupied my time for the last three years (!), is coming to a close.

Next week I’ll begin writing about Part III, Chapter X, which is the last chapter of the book. I plan to spend about a month going through that, then probably another month to review the third and final Atlas movie, and finally I’ll post some closing thoughts about the book as a whole.

This project has taken up so much of my time these last three years, I’ll almost be sad when it’s completed. Every one of these posts has been a joy to write, and I’m not tired of it at all. If I were reading Atlas Shrugged just for myself, it would be torturous, but when I can poke fun at it with all of you, it’s like a literary alchemy that turns its leaden prose into comedy gold.

Once I’m finished with Atlas, I’m probably going to take some time off and not embark on any major new projects for a couple of months. However, I’d like to do something else like this in the future. But if I’m going to review another book, I need to decide what that book should be.

Atlas was an ideal target in a way that few other books are. Ayn Rand’s writing is a perfect blend of faulty philosophy with eminently mockable plotting and characterization – there’s something gasp-worthy or laugh-worthy on virtually every page. And she serves it up with such absurdly un-self-aware seriousness and pretentiousness that it’s a breeze to parody. On top of that, Rand still exerts such a pull on American conservatism that it’s legitimately important to talk about her ideas, as opposed to other cult leaders who were more ridiculous but far less influential.

Just for that reason, I’m leaning toward reviewing her other major book, The Fountainhead, which I haven’t read. I’ve heard that it’s less overtly political than Atlas Shrugged, but I’m sure there will be plenty of moments that are hilarious, horrifying, or both (including the infamous rape scene I’ve heard about).

But I’m open to other suggestions. Since there was some discussion of this in the comments of a recent post, I wanted to give it its own thread for greater visibility. What’s your favorite so-bad-it’s-good work of philosophy or fiction that deserves its own book-length review and response?

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