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The Atheist's Guide to Christmas [Paperback]

4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
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Book Description

14 Oct 2010

42 atheist celebrities, comedians, scientists and writers give their funny and serious tips for enjoying the Christmas season.

When the Atheist Bus Campaign was first launched, over £150,000, was raised in four days - enough to place the advert 'There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life' on 800 UK buses in January 2009. Now dozens of atheist writers, comedians and scientists are joining together to raise money for a very different cause.

The Atheist's Guide to Christmas is a funny, thoughtful handbook all about enjoying Christmas, from 42 of the world's most entertaining atheists. It features everything from an atheist Christmas miracle to a guide to the best Christmas pop hits, and contributors include Richard Dawkins, Charlie Brooker, Derren Brown, Ben Goldacre, Jenny Colgan, David Baddiel, Simon Singh, AC Grayling, Brian Cox and Richard Herring.

The full book advance and all royalties will go to the UK HIV charity Terrence Higgins Trust.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: The Friday Project (14 Oct 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007389825
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007389827
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 252,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Ariane Sherine is a comedy writer and journalist. She writes for The Guardian, and has also written for The Sunday Times, The Independent, New Statesman and the NME. She started her career in television, writing for My Family (BBC1) and Countdown (Channel 4). Last year, she launched the Atheist Bus Campaign, raising £100,000 in four days. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
212 of 221 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of happiness and wonder 26 Sep 2009
My copy of The Atheist's Guide to Christmas arrived unexpectedly early, and I opened it with interest. Would atheists really have anything to say about Christmas? It turns out: yes, so very much, yes. This is a book full of treasure, and I found myself continually delighted.

The book's 42 contributions are divided into six sections, which cover a lot of ground. `Stories' is full of charming anecdotes, memorably including Simon Le Bon (Simon Le Bon!) on his love of church music, Catie Wilkins on sending Christmas cards to biblical characters, and (I'm certainly unlikely to forget this one) Richard Herring on his Christmas with a cat. `Science' follows with some surprisingly moving odes to wonder - including how to hear the echoes of the Big Bang on Christmas Day - and a completely unexpected comedy sketch from Richard Dawkins (I won't spoil the surprise, but trust me). `How To' and `Arts' are full of genuinely practical suggestions for films, games, music, jokes, and even making Christmas environmentally friendly, while `Events' goes behind-the-scenes on the highlights of the secular community. But I think my favourite is `Philosophy', with Derren Brown, AC Grayling et al. wonderfully making the case for a humanistic Christmas, full of light, compassion and, above all, a simple joy.

Indeed, I was happy to find that the whole book is a uplifting, happy read, as the assembled atheists' enthusiasm for Christmas is surprising and infectious. Josie Long is particularly endearing in this regard, and her recommended party games had me in fits of giggles on the Tube, as did Anna Pickard's alternative carols. I'm certainly going to give both of these an outing come December.
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66 of 71 people found the following review helpful
Do you love Christmas but find that Jesus guy just a little unconvincing?

Do you enjoy the sweet taste of turkey and sprouts, but find that having to give thanks to God while you're at it tends to sour the experience?

Do you like singing, like carols, and like singing carols... but don't take all that stuff about mangers and herald angels seriously?

Are you, in short, an atheist finding yourself wondering quite where you fit in on Christmas?

Well wonder no more. This book is the perfect collection of short stories, how-to guides, philosophical discussions, practical ideas, comical rants, and all manner of uplifting affirmations that Christmas can be a wonderful time of year for anyone who cares to involve themselves in it. Nothing could matter less than whether or not you're a Christian. I haven't been one for years, but I've always seen Christmas as an opportunity for everyone to just be happy and be nice to each other for absolutely no reason. And evidently I'm not the only one.

There are contributions from a wonderful variety of brilliant thinkers, so nobody will ramble on for too long if they're not your cup of tea. If you aren't keen on having Brian Cox blind you with science, then skip ahead to reading about Derren Brown's teeth. If you don't want to join in with any of Josie Long's reindeer games, you can stop worrying and enjoy the delightful merriment of that angel of perennial good cheer, Charlie Brooker. They've got a wonderful range of contributors together, for a really excellent book that is truly an essential buy for anyone whose atheism is important to them at this time of year.

Oh, and the profits are all going to a charity that treats AIDS. Bonus.
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70 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Funny and Heartwarming Book 26 Sep 2009
I am pleasantly surprised and amazed by this book (have been lucky enough to receive my copy before publication date). Maybe because it was a charity book, I wasn't sure the standard of contributions would be that high and was expecting it to be quite serious, but I was smiling and impressed from the first page. I particularly liked Richard Dawkins' piece because it was nice to see him lighten up for once, and Derren Brown's as it showed that atheists can be just as caring and moral and religious people. I hope that's the message everyone will take away from this book.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
The happiness and joy of Christmas doesn't have to be restricted to people of certain religions. Christmas took over from other winter festivals, and incorporated elements from them, so it was never uniquely a Christian creation anyway - just a Christian take on existing festivals. Now we have an atheist take on it - all the fun, togetherness and joy of the celebration, without any religious focus. Fantastic!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing book! 27 Sep 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I got my copy early, and I'm extremely happy!

My first observation, as I eagerly began to read the book, was that I should not open this beautifully presented volume at night, for my laughter would surely awaken the neighbours! Ah, such are the perils of modern apartments and paper thin walls.

As I delved deeper in, I found a gem of a tale from Simon Le Bon in which he recounted Christmas memories, and his path away from faith. His particular story was very interesting to me, personally. As with the other tales, there is no preaching, just honest tales from remarkable people!

I tried to put the book down, to savour it and extend the experience, but alas, my will was weaker than I had thought it to be. I eagerly leafed through further tales until I arrived at a short piece by Richard Dawkins. Having read his work before, I was truly expecting a succinctly scientific piece of text, but again, I was taken aback by a supremely witty fictional discussion which left me almost in tears with laughter! A whimsical side to a man who had, until now, struck me as a very serious, if rather snarky fellow!

Also in the book are ways to celebrate Christmas, games to play, scientific explanations of the universe, more humour, and a very warm sense of belonging, as well as the meaning of life... Well, in actual fact, that isn't quite so simply spelt out, but within the pages are a reason to join an atheist celebration to the many that surround a season which holds such great significance for many cultures, even though it's most commonly known by its Christian name.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Not a boiok to give to your Mother
Published 16 days ago by DM SHERWOOD
4.0 out of 5 stars Good in most parts
The highlight is the hilarious Jeeves and Wooster spoof by Richard Dawkins. But overall it's one of the most varied books I have read - something for everyone, as long as you don't... Read more
Published 6 months ago by L. Rose
5.0 out of 5 stars An apposite read for Christmas time
This arrived speedily and proved to be in excellent condition and has proved to be an excellent read for the holiday period.
Published 8 months ago by ALAN Tea
4.0 out of 5 stars Good condition
Book was in a good condition. It arrived bit later than I thought but it was Cristmas period.
Overall it was a good service.
Published 8 months ago by Mirei Allen
4.0 out of 5 stars Admittedly I did get the audio book only
As said in the titel I listen to it via audible and I really enjoyed it quite a bit. Stories, philosophies and other personal view that give an interesting insight into the views... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Cyrill
5.0 out of 5 stars A surperb book and great fun to read
I purchased The Atheists Guide to Christmas to read about the many contributors take on the festive season of Christmas
One of my favorites was Simon Le Bon I can relate to... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mr. S. Holmes
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic read
A multiple contribution of a wide ranging array of contributors. From what is the 'meaning of Christmas' to how to have a jolly time. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Blues Man
5.0 out of 5 stars At last!
This is a witty interesting take on Xmas . I love Xmas but am not a Christian and its the first time I have rationalised my feelings about family and friends at this festive time... Read more
Published 9 months ago by VanessaS
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book
An interesting book. Full of good stories. Also a good reminder that not everybody is a believer. Great X-mas gift.
Published 13 months ago by JHvW
5.0 out of 5 stars Athiest must read
Witty, thought provoking and honest, I have enjoyed the views and thoughts of those who enjoy christmas, but without all the religious connotations. A good read.
Published 16 months ago by Lynsey Cale
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Best single reason for or against god 31 22 Sep 2011
is it right for atheists to celebrate Christmas? 30 14 Jan 2010
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Atheist bus campaign 10 26 Sep 2009
Shout Out! 5 24 Sep 2009
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