Pharyngula

The bookstores have noticed us

Minnesota Atheists notes a new policy at Borders Books — they’ve put up a small display section dedicated to books about atheism.

If you’ve ever been frustrated in a search for books on nonbelief in your local bookstore or annoyed by their inclusion in the comparative religion section, Borders Books has remedied the situation. “Atheism and Agnosticism” has been added as a new section for the works of Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and many others. We hope other bookstores will follow this example, and encourage our members to suggest they do.

A reader actually sent me a photo of this miracle.

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Of course, compare the size of that to the “New Age” or “Religion” section of your typical bookstore, and you can see we’ve got a ways to go yet. I’m going to have to insist that everyone go out and buy these books. After you’ve finished reading them, I expect you to write a book of your own, so we can fill up a wide rack of our own.

If you have doubts that you can write a book … have you read any of the books in the New Age or Self-Help or Pop Psych or Religion sections? Lobotomized monkeys could do better.

Comments

  1. #1 mndarwinist
    July 30, 2007

    PZ, are you gonna write something? I’ll be the first to buy it. Incidentally, I am a little disappointed that Vic Stenger’s “God: the failed hypothesis” didn’t do as well as Dawkins’s and Hitchens’ books.

  2. #2 Stephen
    July 30, 2007

    I live near Chicago and they have something similar to this at my Borders.

    They have The God Delusion, The End of Faith, and God: The Failed Hypothesis all next to The Dawkins Delusion, The Case for a Creator and Mere Christianity.

    I can’t complain though. For a red county, it’s still pretty good attention.

  3. #3 Mark Plus
    July 31, 2007

    I’ve always ejoyed Stenger, but he’s a second stringer with a third-tier publisher.

    Prometheus Books often publishes good stuff, but its titles usually fall dead-born from the press. The alpha atheographers (Harris, Dawkins, Hitchens) have demonstrated that mainstream publishers can make money with anti-religion books.

  4. #4 Greta Christina
    July 31, 2007

    “Powell’s here in Portland has has an Atheism section for years.”

    A really good one, too. (We were up there visiting family, and took advantage of our Powell’s pilgrimage to stock up.) They don’t just have the usual suspects — they have lots of interesting-looking atheism books that we’d never heard of.

    I do wonder a bit to what degree we’re the flavor of the month. But I’m not going to argue. If it gets these ideas into people’s heads — especially young people’s — then it’s a Good Thing, fad or no.

  5. #5 Bob Russell
    July 31, 2007

    Isn’t Borders one of the chains that removed Salman Rushdie’s books? Or was it another?

    I recommend “All in the Mind – A Farewell to God” by British broadcaster and author Ludovic Kennedy, published in 1999. It pre-dates the books by Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, etc….while these books are excellent it was Kennedy who was the first that made me seriously consider atheism as opposed to the fence that I was sitting on. By the time I read Dawkins et al I was a militant atheist. Sadly it seems he is forgotten when people speak of the “new atheists.” Kennedy is a very well known author and broadcaster in the UK. He should be read.

  6. #6 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    July 31, 2007

    Unholy moly!

    “One Shelf to rule them all, One Shelf to find them, One Shelf to bring them all, And in the Bright-ness bind them.”

    And when did we start to have saints? (Besides Dawkins, that is, he is pretty mild-mannered.) That St Joshi there, what did he/she do? Read one of Dembski’s mind-dulling pseudomathematics tracts or listened to his other scatological productions?

    Other than such unpleasant associations I get whenever I see a dedicated space for free thinking, I think its great.

    Write our own books?! Now, that is a thought. There is a lot of individual ideas in in free thinking obviously …

  7. #7 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    July 31, 2007

    Unholy moly!

    “One Shelf to rule them all, One Shelf to find them, One Shelf to bring them all, And in the Bright-ness bind them.”

    And when did we start to have saints? (Besides Dawkins, that is, he is pretty mild-mannered.) That St Joshi there, what did he/she do? Read one of Dembski’s mind-dulling pseudomathematics tracts or listened to his other scatological productions?

    Other than such unpleasant associations I get whenever I see a dedicated space for free thinking, I think its great.

    Write our own books?! Now, that is a thought. There is a lot of individual ideas in in free thinking obviously …

  8. #8 Reginald Selkirk
    July 31, 2007

    And when did we start to have saints? (Besides Dawkins, that is, he is pretty mild-mannered.) That St Joshi there, what did he/she do?

    Sunand Tryambak Joshi does not roll easily off the American tongue. You can look up his books at any of the usual places. Here’s an interview with Joshi from Acid Logic in 2002.

  9. #9 Fred
    July 31, 2007

    It took me having to ask at a Barnes & Noble in Miami Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins books. In Miami Beach, however, they were right in the front display table at a Books & Books. I guess the beach is a more progressive place!

  10. #10 Sastra
    July 31, 2007

    Tim:
    A. Atheism is not a faith. For most atheists, it’s a working theory and/or a pragmatic reliance.
    B. Religion in its true, unique sense consists of claims about the supernatural. The other term for “manual to life” is “life philosophy” — which can be religious or not.
    C. Whether belief in God (or other forms of the supernatural) is necessary for “searching one’s soul” depends on how one is defining “soul.”

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