The Atheist's Guide to Christmas is a fantastic listen that was edited by Ariane Sherine, who started the Atheist Bus Campaign in response to an evangelical Christian bus advertisement that gave the URL of a website "telling non-Christians they would spend 'all eternity in torment in hell'."
With the backing of Richard Dawkins, officially supporting the UK's first atheist advertising initiative, Sherine managed to compile a wonderful concoction of the world's most entertaining writers, scientists, comedians, and philosophers to read, perform, and narrate pieces that they had all written for the print book, which was published on October 1, 2009. This audio version is magnificent! It's funny, uplifting, and is read by all the book's contributors.
©2009 HarperCollins Publishers; (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers
"Hit and miss"
First things first: I am an atheist, so what I thought of the book is not because I am a religious zealot of sorts.
Anyway. Some parts are pretty pointless but reliably funny, like Brooker's. Most are witty yet provocative; others are trying way too hard, like Dawkins with his Wodehouse-esque pathhos. A couple of folks take themselves so seriously it makes you suspect they're not for real: my favorite was that Green whipping herself into such a tree-hugging frenzy about an organic Xmas (seriously), I thought she might end up having an or... organic something or other.
So, it is a hit and miss thing. Well worth the money, I suppose, and it's for a good cause, but don't torture yourself when you hit the chapter with an old woman telling you to invite for Xmas those you can't stand (she hasn't met my aunt Sally, obviously) and to finish all alcohol in the house before going to bed so that your kids don't do it for you (she must've grown up in an interesting household), or a Bulgarian-born Kiwi enthusiastically missing the point of writing for an atheist book.
Just skip them and go to the good ones, there are a few of those.
"Scrooge said it all... Humbug!"
This is great fun - and the ideal gift to give to any of your friends who, like me, figure christmas to be strictly for children but not to be taken seriously. Derren Brown's take on the spirit of christmas sums it up best of all. He agrees with Richard Dawkins when he says it just doesn't need to involve god or any other spooks. Which rather resonates with my feeling that god is just Santa Clause for grown-ups and about half as credible. A host of very funny authors, all reading their own work... highly recommended. You'll love it! Unless of course you're a believer.. in god (or Santa Clause)
Note: spelling god with a small g is entirely deliberate.
Very enjoyable collection of short contributions written and read by various non-Christian folk. Got through the entire book Christmas eve whilst wrapping gifts and preparing the turkey. The book offers a warm atmosphere and is a perfect substitute to the traditional carols at the local church. The stories are humorous and sometimes informative, which leaves the listener with plenty of Christmas facts to share around the dinner table. The only downside would be the quality of some recordings but all in all, a worthy four star listen.
"No Yawn Needed!!!"
I love Christmas. Great time for family and friends. I am also an atheist. This is a great listen unless you are a Christian like the Yawner! Some of the short essays are better than others but thats down to personal interpretation of course. However overall a delightful listen with some genuinely hilarious laugh out aloud moments -if you are an atheist and you 'get it' of course. My christmas has been made all the better for listening to this annually. Absolutly Recommended.
"An introduction to Atheism"
I read this at Christmas, which is obviously the best time to read it. I'd recently realised I was an atheist and was thinking about what that meant for Christmas and whether I was still entitled to put up a tree and have an advent calendar. I came across this by accident whilst buying the God Delusion. I read it before the God Delusion and it was a very good introduction to atheism and it was nice to have lots of people's points of view about how they celebrate Christmas and what it means to them. Some reviews have said some of the stories are worth skipping but I didn't skip any and didn't find any of them boring or without some value or insight into how they choose to live. This book won't change your life but its like having a good chat to lots of people about what they think Christmas means to them which helps you to decide what Christmas means to you. It certainly helped me get in to the festive spirit.
"Extra fun when read by the authors."
This was a lot of fun. I had the hardback but had never got that far in (always too much to do at Christmas!). Each section is enthusiastically read by the author and there are one or two readings with a bit extra (try the intro to the David Baddiel chapter!). The individual chapters range from the scientific to anecdotal to (slight) rant. But all very entertaining and particularly good because you can listen in bitesize chunks - perfect for a shorter commute.
A collection of essay on nearly anything not all about religion etc. Good listen and well read
Some good stories and interesting facts all put across in the varying styles and characters of the writers. Sound could be a bit better though; quite echo-ie. all for a good cause though as the money goes to charity
Erm their next book is "Santa is dead!"
Get over it guys - enjoy a free holiday or even better all atheists should do the work so others can have the time off :)
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