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The Atheist's Guide to Christmas Paperback – 14 Oct 2010


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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: 13 x 2.1 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 19,832 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

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

212 of 221 people found the following review helpful By boyfrommars on 26 Sep 2009
Format: Hardcover
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 By J. Norriss on 27 Sep 2009
Format: Hardcover
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 By ChameleonSimon on 26 Sep 2009
Format: Hardcover
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 By Ben Morrish on 27 Sep 2009
Format: Hardcover
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 By Ayoub Khote on 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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