religion for atheists

Religion for Atheists coming your way…

I’m pleased to announce, that  Michelle McKay is the winner of That Book You Like’s February give-away.

Michelle, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this very special prize.

Just email me your details (postal address) to by end Thursday, 08.03.12 and arrangements will be made! If the prize isn’t claimed, I will redraw on 09.02.12

Thanks to everyone for entering.

February give-away: Religion for Atheists

This morning I promised I’d be strict and leave off blogging until next week. I said I’d get on with my other work this afternoon, and leave the bookishness until Monday, when the February TBYL Book Club kicks off.

But that was before I went for a stroll to check the mail. On checking my mail box, much to my delightful I found a package from Penguin Books, and guess what? It’s not for me…it’s for on of you!

I’ve been going on all week, to just about anyone who’ll listen, about Alain de Botton and how I got to meet him last weekend. I was thrilled to have a copy of his new book Religion for Atheists signed (another title for my collection) and a happy-snap taken for the album.

And now, I’m so pleased to be able to give-away a signed copy of de Botton’s Religion for Atheists to one lucky reader.

To go into the running to win, all you have to do is:

1. Leave a comment on this post, or

2. Visit That Book You Like‘s Facebook page

…and tell us why you’d like a copy of Religion for Atheists for your bookshelf.

The winner of this month’s competition (selected at random) will receive a signed copy of Religion for Atheists.

Entries close Friday, 2 March 2012. The winner will have four days to claim their prize, or a redraw will be held.

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Sign up for TBYL Book Club here…

Riddle me this…

Last night, I was extremely fortunate to have the chance to join a small group of people in an intimate setting, to hear a few choice words from the very clever (and apparently jet-lagged) Alain de Botton.

The event run by Penguin Books Australia, was the most incredible opportunity to meet and greet with the author, complimented nicely by lovely wine and great company.

It was an evening of some quite intriguing ideas.

To me, philosophy always seems a little like a riddle; riddling around the why, when and how of our complicated lives. Philosophers, in turn, seem to both pose the riddle, and help us to answer it.

Alain de Botton seems in his new book, Religion for Atheists to be placing firmly on the table, the giant riddle of meaning – our need for it – and the gaps it leaves if we don’t feel that we have an adequate sense of meaning in our lives. It is his premise that although our belief in religion has diminished, the drivers that led us to create the various religious infrastructures are still very present in society – our craving for community, the need for guidance as to how to live well, and our appreciation of the importance of beauty, art and education. These needs are not always, in a secular context, being met. Alain does not purport that religion has the answers to this, but rather than secular society might do well to borrow some elements from religions – some rehearsals, some structures, some aesthetics and traditions, so help us learn, understand and connect with the world and each other.

Alain kindly shared some of his thinking on the premise of this book, some of the key arguments and a little on the research that he had done in order to put this work together. As always, it was a delight to hear such well structured, well researched propositions – it is what takes this kind of discussion away from being simple opinion, and makes it so very useful.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t completely agree with de Botton’s position in regards to religion for atheists. I think there are very good reasons for why people have moved away from organised religion, that go beyond the simple changes in understanding of mythology and the supernatural. I think this is why, as Alain mentions, religiosity is unpopular with many people. For this reason, I don’t think it is always going to be practical or appropriate to re-approriate religious mechanisms to enhance secular life. But, I do see great value in his position regarding the importance of reminders to ourselves to stop, reflect and enjoy, traditionally a feature of religious calendars around the world. His points regarding the role of art, architecture and talented oration also help to lend weight to their importance in a society that has become very focused on the practical, the vocational, the immediate. As someone who has had to answer the question; “What will that degree/subject/hobby ever get you?” I appreciate all the advice that I can get on this front.

In short, it was an incredible evening and I’m very much looking forward to reading Religion for Atheists. Likewise, I’m looking forward to attending Alain de Botton’s presentation for the Wheeler Centre tomorrow evening. I’ll be all philosophy-ed out by the end of the week, but hopefully I’ll also be a little bit smarter.

Religion for Atheists will be added to the TBYL Bookshelf in the near future. If you’d like me to let you know when copies have arrived, please email and I’ll be in touch.

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Time flies…

It’s just occurred to me that it’s Friday…

Not only that, but on looking back on the week, I realise now that I’ve had no time to post. Oh dear. Gladly though, this has largely been because I’ve been very busy attending Galas, reading into the wee hours and meeting authors (and making plans to meet more). As a result of all of these activities, it’s my intention to bring you a whole stack of interesting articles over the next couple of weeks…

So you better clean your reading glasses, I’m comin’ your way!

In the meantime, I’m really excited to be able to announce the novel for March’s TBYL Book Club. It’s something a little lighter this month, and should be good for both laughs and discussions. It’s Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity:

It’s a brilliant story of one man’s journey of self-discovery. When Rob – a thirty-five-year old record shop owner and music obessive – is dumpted by Laura he indiulges in some casual sex, a little light stalking and some extreme soul-searching in the form of contacting every ex-girlfriend who ever broke his heart. An instant classic, High Fidelity is a hilarious exploration of love, life, music and the modern male.

Remember, it’s free to join the club, and if you’d like to buy a copy of the book, I’ve got them in The Store for just $9.95.

We’re gearing up for this month’s catch-up to discuss Emma Donoghue’s Room. Discussions kick off on the 27.2.12 and will run for the week – I hope you’ll join us. Read the review || Buy the Book

Finally, you might have noticed me carrying on our Facebook page this week about an amazing opportunity that has presented itself. I’m extremely excited at having been invited to meet-and-greet with Alain de Botton this weekend. This special event, arranged by Penguin Australia, will be an incredible chance to hear from the author of titles such as The Consolations of Philosophy and The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work. I’ll be getting a copy of his new book Religion for Atheists this weekend, and I’ll be sure to review it post-haste.

Plenty of fun to be had in TBYL-world…I hope you’ll join in!

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Sign up for TBYL Book Club here…