Finished Atlas Shrugged last week after a month of reading. Finished 2 Hunger Games books in 1 week.
===== Atlas Shrugged =====
Atlas Shrugged's central theme is essentially "a need does not make a claim on anyone else". It takes the "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" idea to its fullest extreme. The result is when I now hear or read articles that drip with socialist ideas like http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/paul-ryans-budget-hurts-the-poor/2012/03/20/gIQAX73LQS_story.html
... it makes me cringe. But I'm not a republican. My support for social welfare programs should, and does, derive purely from self interest, not the goodness of my heart. Articles like that argue support should come from some inherent value of self-sacrifice.
This is a problem I have with democrats as a whole. I think they would be far more effective explaining how certain programs help create productive members of society which benefits everyone in the long run.
On the whole, the book is way too long and rather boring. The characters like John Galt are simply not believable. There are supreme geniuses, but rarely do they exceed at:
- physical science
- motivating others
- being a bad ass
the way John Galt does.
===== The Hunger Games + Catching Fire =====
These movies read like an action movie, with cliff-hangers at the end of almost every chapter. It keeps you reading, which I like. I like some of the side characters, especially Caesar Flickerman, who comes off very much like a seasoned TV host.
However, the main characters aren't really developed or progress in any way. The "caught between two men" love triangle feels way too Twighlight for me. Katness is cold and distant survivor. Peeta loves Katness. Gale has a little more to him, but not much.
The post-apocalyptic USA feels impossibly impossible to sustain. (I like my sci-fi hard-core. Hyperion anyone?).