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Journal of No. 118


April 24th, 2014

The Red Tree & Generation Atheist @ 04:37 pm

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The Red Tree, by Caitlín Kiernan, centers on the titular plant and its penchant for driving people crazy and/or murderous. The story of its history is uncovered, bit by bit, by our protagonist, as she, unavoidably, also falls victim to its influence. I enjoyed most of the ride -- I'm not sure if it's because or despite some meta elements -- but the ending did not pay off for me, which is always a buzzkill.

Generation Atheist was briefly free on kindle, so I gave it a shot. A collection of 25 testimonies, er... personal narratives, of young atheists from a variety of backgrounds, from Jain to Mormon. They mostly discuss their transition from theist to atheist, and their dealings with community and family. Some are young atheist 'celebs' like Hemant Mehta & Jessica Ahlquist, while others are pseudonymous.

For me, it was interesting to see the similarities & differences between their experiences and my own. One of the main differences is the greater awareness about atheism in the general culture nowadays. I mean when I was a kid, the only atheist I knew was Madalyn Murray-O'Hair, who was an obnoxious windbag. And now there's Dawkins and Sam Harris (so that's two obnoxious windbags to choose from!) and the secular student alliance and other groups on high school campuses and so on.

But of course there's a lot of similarities between all the stories, so it's fortunate that it's a pretty quick read, and doesn't overstay its welcome.
 
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Journal of No. 118