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The Happy Atheist Audio Download – Unabridged

2.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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2.3 out of 5 stars
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Format: Hardcover
I've followed PZ Myers's blog, Pharyngula, for about four years, and I had looked forward to reading this book. What I like about the things Myers writes is that he is often witty, always knowledgeable about his specialities (embryology and evolutionary biology) and he writes impeccably refined English with erudition. Myers blogs prolifically, and while most of his posts are not of lasting significance, from time to time he writes pieces that have clearly enjoyed careful thought. They are first-class essays that deserve wider reading. The Happy Atheist is a collection of those best essays that focus on the topic of religion(s).

Across the Atlantic, the book has been heavily criticized on Amazon.com because it is no more than a collection of some of the Pharyngula blog posts, with no original material. As one who, over the years, has bought -- among many others -- collections of Clive James's TV reviews, Steve Bell's cartoons and Jeremy Clarkson's rants, I am obviously unfazed to have bought a collection of blog posts, printed and bound. However, the Myers book nowhere acknowledges that it IS a selected collection of blog posts. They appear undated and without any introductory comments. This results in a set of "take-it-or-leave-it" essays that risk being described as disjointed. There IS a flow to the order in which the posts appear, but I feel they'd have benefitted greatly from some sort of annotation. Apart from 7 pages of introduction (surely this was the place to explain that the book is a compilation of blog posts) there is no new material. There are no preludes to the posts/essays and no follow-ups (Myers' website is awash with comments from its readers, many of which would have made entertaining addenda to each item).
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Format: Paperback
Simply horrible, there's no other way to describe it. Right from the off Myers sets about bolstering himself using the worst methods at his disposal. It irked me when Dawkins and Hitchens manipulated the readers thoughts and feelings regarding the subject yet their rhetorical acumen is far more impressive and tactfully deployed (especially for the latter) Another factor is the aforementioned authors are far more enjoyable to read whilst educating. It's a wonderful process that occurs when one reads almost anything, from simple signposts and pamphlets right up to encyclopaedias and manuals. Everyone enjoys a good read and even if you are not then at least you are leaning aren't you.

This book is incredible as it has none of that. It's almost as if someone took Dawkins most mean-spirited segments, somehow combined them with the DNA of some disgusting blogger creating some abomination then forced it at gunpoint to copulate with a rather ugly gerbil. Paul Myers is the fruit of that fateful gerbil insemination experiment it seems and with his little blogging pals he has managed somehow to produce a handy collection of his favourite blogs. They're handy if you want waste your time and money that is.

My advice is if you are going to study a subject you like is, perhaps don't get drunk and order books on said subject because you may not be making the best decisions. If I were to summarise my thoughts on The Happy Atheist I'd say this, I'd rather read a gas bill written in my cats entrails on the burned out wreckage of my car while oompa loompas jab my balls with ice picks.
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By Paul on 11 Nov. 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is an absolutely awful 'book' and I use that term loosely as it's merely a collection of poorly written blogposts.
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