Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Atheist's Guide to Christmas: Edited by Robin Harvie & Stephanie Meyers: Book Review

I think it is very important that I give you a warning and some background before you get to  my review of this book.  I am not an Atheist, but I am also not an organized religion type of girl and I also grew up in a family that weren't very religious.  My Father was raised Salvation Army and many of his relatives also follow the B'hai religion.  My Mom was raised United but didn't attend church much growing up.  The only time our family went to Church was for weddings, funerals and way too many bazaars to mention (my mom was a serious crafter).  We were raised to respect others beliefs, to help others less fortunate than ourselves, and just to be kind generous people without being told we had to do it or God was going to be pissed off and send us toHell.  I know my Dad believed in God, but was against organized religion of any kind. He was very vocal in saying that we all had the right to believe what we wanted, but it was wrong to force our opinions on others.

So I pretty much lived the way he lived.  I believe in God, but honestly its more  like Mulder, in that I want to believe rather than I actually do.  Both of my Parents are dead, so it is very comforting to think that they are in Heaven watching over me, and quite frankly getting a laugh over all the trouble my kids give me (because they know I totally deserve it). I'm also a parent so I want there to be a Heaven so that when I die I can still watch over them (and probably lmao when their kids torture them). I also like to believe in a gentle God who obviously has a weird sense of humour, and who is totally ok with my views on him.  A lot of my healthy skepticism about God comes  from history, not to mention science. Look at all the wars that have happened in Gods name (or Allah, etc) -- and quite frankly if God approves of that, well than I would rather go to Hell than to Heaven (and laugh with the sinners like Billy Joel). Also, I have spent many a day at Sick Kids in Toronto and to seen so many innocent children suffering ,so it makes it hard to believe that a God could sit around and watch that happen.  And finally I'm sort of pissed at him for taking my Dad away far too early, the world needs more men like my Dad and my kids never got the chance to meet him.

I am sorry if my opinions offend anyone, but they are my opinions and I think important to know before you read.

The Atheist's Guide to Christmas
Various Authors
Edited by Robin Harvie and Stephanie Meyers
ISBN: 978-0-06-199797-6

Description: If you're an atheist, you don't believe in the three wise men, so this Christmas, we bring you not three, but forty-two wise men and women, bearing gifts of comedy, science, philosophy, the arts, and knowledge. What does it feel like to be born on Christmas day? How can you most effectively use lights to make your house visible from space? And where can you listen to the echoes of the Big Bang on December 25? The Atheist's Guide to Christmas answers all these questions and more:

Richard Dawkins tells an original Christmas story.Phil Plait fact-checks the Star of Bethlehem. Neal Pollack teaches his family a lesson on holiday spirit. >Simon Singh offers a very special scientific experiment.Simon le Bon loses his faith (but keeps church music). AC Grayling explains how to have a truly happy Christmas.

Plus thirty-six other brilliant, funny, free-thinking pieces perfect for anyone who doesn't think of holidays as holy days.  All author advances and royalties for The Atheist's Guide to Christmas will go to Terrence Higgins Trust.

The Good Stuff

  • Ed Byrne's essay is hilarious and has a wonderful point about having a moratorium on any holiday advertising before mid-November
  • Catie Wilkins essay was wonderful, loved the fact that she sent a letter to both God and the Devil
  • Many of the essays are very wise on the spirit of Christmas
  • One of the essays mentions Buffy  (David Baddiel and Arvind Ethan David)
  • Absolutely fascinating essay on the star of Bethlehem
  • Loved the conversation between and Adam Ruthorford and God in Adam's essay
  • David Stubbs essay was hilaious and his comments about all the ands in the bible are right on the money
  • Atheist Barbie - trust me - worth the price of the book
  • Sian Berry's green suggestions are brilliant and not at all preachy
  • Charlie Brookers essay on laughter is just plain wonderful
The Not so Good Stuff

  • The essays from a science point of view are way over my head
  • Some of the essays are a little boring

Favorite Quotes/Passages

"I find him in the bedroom with the lovely Nativity book his devout -and devoted-granny has sent him (even though he hasn't been baptized and thus is slightly damned and stuff), agruing with his friend Freya."
(Jenny Colgan)

"I appreciate all that my mother and my grandmother tried to do. They can't be held responsible for my failed childhood birthdays-they were up against eons of ritual and tradition. Still, if I'd been alive in the fourth century, I could have been sacrificed by pagans, so perhaps I should count my proverbial blessings and be happy that all I had to deal with was losing my birthday to a holiday. It could clearly have been much worse."
(Emery Emery)

"Keen scholars of Judaism (or readers of the beginning of this piece) will know that, as well as the whole pig issue, dairy products and meat products must be kept separate. So, for example, if you're eating a meat-based bolognaise sauce on pasta, you couldn't put cheese on it to make it, well, nice. Cheeseburgers are out too, because they are nice. Esentially the Jewish  God hates the delicious." (Matt Kirshen)

"I've never believed in God, but I've never wanted to prevent anyone else from doing so" (Andrew Mueller)

What I Learned

  • Atheist's are extremely accepting of all and really frickin funny
  • Most Atheists love Christmas
  • A lot about the Big Bang Theory and its written in an easy to read and understand way
Who should/shouldn't read
  • This is NOT a book for those who are sensitive about religion in any way
  • Perfect for those who have a dry sense of humour
  • My family who will really enjoy and will lead to some interesting and hilarious conversations
  • Dad you would have loved it -- Miss ya! (Tell Mom to stop laughing when Jesse gives me a hard time - I wasn't that bad!)

4.5 Dewey's

I received this from HarperPerennial in exchange for an honest review

1 comment:

  1. Love Dawkins!! This book sounds fabulous, must get it. Thanks for reviewing it!!!