Books maybe you should know about

So many books, so little time!  Here are a few recent or upcoming books that I have not had a chance to read, but nonetheless look worthy of the attention of the well-read freethinker.  If I can read all of these, I will.  Meanwhile, book reports from our readers are welcome.  In chronological order:

Confession of an Atheist Buddhist by Stephen Batchelor (pub. by Speigel & Grau, March 2010) – It has often been said that Buddhism isn’t really a religion at all, but rather a philosophy.  Nonetheless, myth, superstition and general folderol cling to Buddhism like barnacles on an ancient ship.  Stephen Batchelor continues his quest to strip Buddhism of its superstitious trappings and drill down to its human core.

Nonsense on Stilts by Massimo Pigliucci (pub. by Univ. of Chicago Press, May 2010) – Biologist-turned-philosopher Massimo Pigliucci chimes in on “How to Tell Science from Bunk,” giving rationalists another resource in the battle against creation science, antivax nonsense, etc.

The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ by Philip Pullman (upcoming from Canongate U.S., May 2010) – Pullman is the author of the brilliant (yet flawed) His Dark Materials novels (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass), which drew the ire–particularly from Catholics–despite the fact that the words “Jesus Christ” appear nowhere in the trilogy.  No longer pussyfooting around, Pullman now offers his own interpretation of the live of Jesus of Nazareth.  Let the games begin.

Science vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Think by Elaine Howard Ecklund (upcoming from Oxford University Press, May 2010) – Drawing on a survey of 1,700 scientists with a focus on the lives of ten, Ecklund explores the opinions of scientists on religion.  (Fair warning: Ecklund has received at least some funding from the John Templeton Foundation, so perhaps you should read this book cum grano salis.)

Hitch-22 by Christopher Hitchens (upcoming from Twelve, June 2010) – Even if his opinions on global politics infuriate you, Christopher Hitchens is always worth reading.  Hitch-22 is Hitchens’ much-anticipated memoir.

The Moral Landscape by Sam Harris (upcoming from Free Press, October 2010) – Harris recently exploded heads with his TED talk, in which he proposes that science can indeed determine human values.  The Moral Landscape is apparently his explication of this idea.

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