Five literary Halloween costumes to get your party (or work) conversations going!

Are you dressing up for Halloween to take your kids out or answer the door? Heading to a party? Does your workplace encourage costumes? Although there’s no pressure at my library job to dress up on Halloween, people do dress up. I will be working that weekend and I’m thinking of something low-key to wear. I’ve dug up this post from a few years ago to inspire me.

There is plenty of time to plan, so if you’re looking for costume ideas for work or play, consider these literary ones:


Ernest Hemingway

Since bushy beards are the rage right now, guys with facial hair, grab a big turtleneck and you’re almost there! A large personality and fishing pole as a prop would finish the look!


Ayn Rand

Even if you haven’t read The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged, you can always look like this controversial literary figure. Comb your hair to the side. No makeup required. I couldn’t find a better free image on the internet, but you can watch this YouTube video to get into characgter.


Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

Although Truman Capote wanted Marilyn Monroe, not Audrey Hepburn, to play Holly in the movie, Hepburn made that movie memorable. Pull out your classic black dress, put your hair up high under a fabulous hat and you’re on your way.


Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Atticus is one of my favorite literary characters and I don’t believe Harper Lee meant him to be anything but great, despite the traits she sketched out in Go Set a Watchman. Put on a searsucker three-piece suit, add a tie and some horn-rimmed glasses, and look serious, like Gregory Peck.


Daisy Buchanan from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Find a gauzy tea dress, some pearls and an elaborate floppy hat and you’re almost there. This picture of Mia Farrow as Daisy will help you practice your doe-eyed expression.

What are you wearing for trick or treat? Would you have the courage to dress up in a costume for work? Leave a comment!

Note – for those who are virtuosos with the block editor, I tried to have the image captions appear on the display, but you can only see them if you click on the individual image. Anyone know a way around this? Also, does anyone know how to change the way the dividers look? Am I stuck with the double line because of my page design? Thanks!

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Five literary Halloween costumes to get your party conversations going!

Are you dressing up for Halloween? Does your workplace encourage costumes? Halloween is just a few days away and if you’re still looking for costume ideas for work or play, consider these literary ones:


Image: Wikipedia

Ernest Hemingway

Since bushy beards are the rage right now, guys with facial hair, grab a big turtleneck and you’re almost there! A large personality and fishing pole as a prop would finish the look!


Image: nymag.com

Ayn Rand

Even if you haven’t read The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged, you can always look like this controversial literary figure. Grab a Shriner’s hat, cover it in black, find a long cigarette holder and comb your hair to the side. No makeup required.


Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

Although Truman Capote wanted Marilyn Monroe, not Audrey Hepburn, to play Holly in the movie, Hepburn made that movie memorable. Pull out your classic black dress, put your hair up high, add some bling and dark glasses and you’re on your way.


Image: Wikipedia

Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Atticus is one of my favorite literary characters and I don’t believe Harper Lee meant him to be anything but great, despite the traits she sketched out in Go Set a Watchman. Put on a light-colored three-piece suit, add a tie and some horn-rimmed glasses, and look serious, like Gregory Peck.


Image: Pinterest

Daisy Buchanan from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Find a gauzy tea dress, some pearls and an elaborate floppy hat and you’re almost there. This picture of Mia Farrow as Daisy will help you practice your doe-eyed expression.


What are you wearing for trick or treat?

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Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged

     

Ayn Rand (1905-1982) was a Russian/American writer and philosopher. You may have heard of John Galt and her most famous novels, The Fountainhead (1943) and Atlas Shrugged (1957), and maybe you’ve heard of her personal, and often criticized, philosophy called objectivism. She incorporated her beliefs into two terrific books and created characters who stand for these principles.

But what is objectivism and who the heck is John Galt?

  • Rand’s philosophy of objectivism is a bit selfish, but there’s more to it than that. The Ayn Rand website (aynrand.org) describes it this way:

Follow reason, not whims or faith.
Work hard to achieve a life of purpose and productiveness.
Earn genuine self-esteem.
Pursue your own happiness as your highest moral aim.
Prosper by treating others as individuals, trading value for value.

  • John Galt is a character in Atlas Shrugged. The reader doesn’t get to meet him until late in the book, but there are many references to Galt and to shrugging, building the mystery as the plot develops.

So what is The Fountainhead about?

The Fountainhead is a great story about a young architect in New York named Howard Roark who refuses to conform and collaborate on design projects because he believes that his artistic talents would be compromised. Rand’s themes focus on socialism, capitalism and the conflict between conformity and independence, with characters on both sides and some caught in the middle. Rand introduces the idea of independent thinkers and “second handers,” people who believe that the opinions of others are superior and therefore conform to those beliefs. It’s not all dry stuff, though. Get ready for intense romance, friendship and betrayal.

I think this book is terrific on every level. The characters are unique and interesting and what they stand for ties them into Rand’s personal philosophy of objectivism. And although I think Rand’s beliefs are extreme, I admire Roark’s unwillingness to compromise his designs. Rand’s ability to develop these characters, weave them into a complex and interesting story and keep the reader going through more than seven hundred pages is a genius accomplishment that stands the test of time.

And what about Atlas Shrugged?

Atlas Shrugged is about a dystopian United States and is Rand’s lesson book about objectivism. The story revolves around Dagny Taggart who runs the Taggart Transcontinental railroad, Hank Rearden, of Rearden Steel, who has developed a metal alloy that is better and stronger than anything else, and Dagny’s childhood friend, Francisco d’Anconia who comes from a wealthy copper family. One by one, the most prominent business leaders disappear and their industries fall apart. The economy tanks and the government exerts more control on the businesses that are left. It’s heavy reading, but Rand also includes a romantic triangle and interesting sub-themes, such as duty and honor. Its mystery element keeps the plot moving, despite nearly twelve hundred pages. In the end, she explains why the business leaders have disappeared, and John Galt’s identity.

It took me two months to read this book and I enjoyed every word. If you want to fully understand what everyone who mentions Atlas Shrugged is talking about, it is well worth the effort. You don’t have to agree with everything Rand says and her philosophy of objectivism to appreciate her skill in storytelling and the value of having ideals and standards.

I kept a long list of characters and companies and organizations as they were mentioned in the story and this list helped me keep track of the hundreds of references that appear. What I found most impressive about Rand was that, despite the length of the book, there are no unnecessary references. If you meet a character or read about something on page 100, you can be sure it is important and you will see the reference again, even if it is five hundred pages later.


Over the years, political figures have aligned with and distanced themselves from Rand. A quick internet search will give you everything you need to explore that angle.


And if you enjoyed The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, you may be amused to see Ayn Rand as a character in Old School by Tobias Wolf.


Image: forbes.com

For more information about Ayn Rand:
aynrand.org
Ayn Rand Lexicon
Wikipedia Ayn Rand
Wikipedia Atlas Shrugged
Wikipedia The Fountainhead

Rand’s interviews are both strange and interesting – check them out here:
Mike Wallace interview 1959
Tom Snyder interview 1979
Phil Donohue interview 1979

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Old School by Tobias Wolff

old school picOld School
by
Tobias Wolff

Rating:

I thought this was a very interesting premise for a book, in which actual authors become characters in the story. Wolff’s story takes place in 1960 at an elite Eastern prep school for boys, which takes pride in its literary connections and achievements. The plot revolves around the school’s literary contest, whose winners are given an audience with famous authors.

Robert Frost, Ayn Rand and Ernest Hemingway are featured and, at a reception in Rand’s honor, students and faculty participate in an extended discussion of her characters and philosophies in The Fountainhead.

There are more complex parts of the story as well. The narrator, on scholarship to the school, is acutely aware of class distinction and privilege and keeps his modest background and Jewish heritage a secret. He struggles with his own self-image as he mirrors the looks and actions of his wealthy classmates, inviting the false assumption of wealth and class. The contest puts him at the center of a scandal that reveals deceptions and radiates to classmates and faculty. Its conclusion shows Wolff’s characters in their true form.

I found the ending to be a bit of a let-down, but overall, an interesting read.

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