AmericanPop- Given any writer, praise can be found for that author. Even among the worst. Describing a facial expression does not translate to human characters. As I said, they are flat. Dagny is the roundest character of the book, and the only change we see in her is that she is more confident in her disregard for her fellow man. Not exactly a brilliant expression of humanity.
You may find some literary value - so do I. Atlas is a great example of how not
to write a book that is supposed to cover one's entire philosophy. If you want examples on how to write a magnum opus, see Dante's Divine Comedy.
Crazeddemon - I don't buy into Objectivism. I find her philosophy to be silly and childish - Rand's ethics are the playground ethics of a three year old. But as I said earlier, the discussion and critical examination of Objectivism is worth another thread.
Any yes, I would gladly defend Shakespeare's sonnets as well as his status as a playwright. My criticisms of Rand's literary work is more than 'I just don't like her work'. Again, I actually enjoyed Anthem. If you want to read my criticisms of Rand, which are certainly more than personal preference, I have presented some of those thoughts in this thread.
But I find no trouble taking on Rand's aesthetics here as we are talking about literature, art. Rand's aesthetics calls all works disagreeable to her philosophy to be absolute junk - worthless and depraved. The simple fact that her aesthetics would cast Shakespeare, Dante, Dostoevsky, and just about every other truly great writer into the flames is enough to justify abandoning Rand's aesthetics.