Digging for books to dig
New and old works exploring the meaning of existence
Every time I go to the bookstore, I spend the first 10 or 15 minutes in the new releases section, trying to find something to read amongst the multitude of science and religion books that keep popping up like weeds.
I like to read to get away from this world — a really good fantasy series that I can get lost in for days, but since I’ve already read Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games, what other options are there? Not many.
Don’t get me wrong. I love non-fiction. I have finally given in and read Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion after seeing its obnoxiously shiny cover flashing at me from the altar of books at Chapters for months.
There’s an antithesis to the latter entitled The Devil’s Delusion by a less idolized, but still very credible scientist and mathematician David Berlinski. But seriously?
Every week 10 more are published, and they’re all essentially saying one of two things: God exists or God does not exist (or gods, if you want to get picky.)
For a while, I had attempted to keep up with them all in some desperate quest for a conclusive answer, but that proved impossible. Everyone is anxious to give their two cents on the meaning of existence — to have their say and then cash their cheques.
Anything, it seems, is being published these days. If it obscurely relates to the Bible or to Darwinism, it’s in.
In an attempt to further explore this point, I went onto the Indigo books website and made a list of all new or recent bestsellers that fall under the “existence” category.
In less than 10 minutes I had a list of 15 books — that’s including my quick perusal of the bath and body section — and found a few that I felt obligated to share.
The Brick Bible: A New Spin on the Old Testament by Brendan Powell Smith. What is it about? Oh, well let me tell you. This creative book includes 1,500 images from the Old Testament…in Lego form. Yes, Lego.
According to the Indigo synopsis “everyone, from the devout to non-believers, will find something breathtaking, fascinating, or entertaining within this collection.”
Breathtaking would hardly be a word I would use to describe it. Entertaining, yes — I’ll admit.
I laughed, maybe even cried a little, but breathtaking? I hate to be stereotypical. I know Lego is amazing and adults are allowed to enjoy it just as much as kids, but Smith’s eight-year-long Biblical Lego expedition may be a little much.
And yes, it was probably done from the comfort of his parents’ basement.
Why Catholics Are Right by Michael Coren. I have no problem with Catholics, but I have a feeling this book will spawn a whole new trend of books on religious apologetics.
In a few months I expect it will be possible to walk into the bookstore and find a “Why _____ Are Right” for absolutely every religion, belief or cult, which includes Pastafarianism (see: The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster)
Of course, there are already an undoubtedly large amount of “why atheists are right” books out there, including the aforementioned Dawkins, Christopher Hitchen’s The Portable Atheist, and the newest Religion for Atheists: A Non-Believer’s Guide to The Uses of Religion by Alain de Botton.
Oh, and “handbooks” like Derren Brown’s The Atheist’s Guide to Christmas, which I’m sure is a positively illuminating read.
Heaven is For Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back by Todd Burpo is next. With pop culture so fixated on the debate between believers and non-believers, it’s very interesting that this book should shoot to the #1 best-seller spot so quickly and remain there so long. This account is of the near-death experience of an adorable four-year-old boy who claims to have gone to heaven.
While I’m sure his father, Reverend Burpo, is an honest guy and the story completely sincere, I’m more interested in society’s reception of it.
With the atheistic movement dominating North American discourse, this book seems to be an obvious proof that there aren’t as many atheists as the media would like you to believe.
And so, after spending an entire afternoon searching for books my brain is aching. And, oddly enough, all I feel like doing is playing with Lego.