A little bit of good news

I opened my mail, and there was my very first royalty check from The Happy Atheist.

Whoa, I said. Whoa.

I guess a lot of you bought copies. Thanks! Buy some more! You know the paperback edition is out now, right?

Part of this is getting sunk into buying some gear for the lab — I’ve been desperate to get a good digital camera for the microscope. Anyone know anything about Jenoptik?

“Coming Out Atheist” is coming out now

Greta Christina’s new book, “Coming Out Atheist”, is now available. Get yourself a copy!

I’m hoping there will be some at the American Atheists convention this weekend in Salt Lake City. I’ll be speaking there, Greta will be speaking there (as will Sikivu, Matt, and Maryam) so I should be able to track one down, right? And get it signed?

And everyone else is going too, I presume? I’ll see you all in Salt Lake City, I arrive tomorrow afternoon!

(Warning: I’m doing one of my science talks. Don’t get too bored.)

I get mail

Another one today? I just had to offset the lunacy of the earlier post by sending my thanks to Leo from Texas, who sent me a nice long letter telling me about all the things he liked in The Happy Atheist. Yay! Fans!

Also, the audio book is in the works, and I’ll let you know when it’s available. I didn’t read it, though: Aron Ra did the honors. So another Texan…maybe that state isn’t so bad after all.

When the phrase “out-of-touch” is too mild…

We need a measure of just how far out into space a commentator has launched themselves. I propose that we use the unit, the TomPerkins.

Last week, he sent a letter to the opinion page of the Wall Street Journal, and they published it, despite the fact that it is certifiably nuts, because Tom Perkins is an obscenely rich venture capitalist. Never mind what he says, he’s rich. Yet this letter blithely compares the fate of obscenely rich venture capitalists to that of European Jews in World War II.

Writing from the epicenter of progressive thought, San Francisco, I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its "one percent," namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the "rich."

Whoa. He kind of red-lined my TomPerkins meter there.

But now you have to go read his book. Yes, he’s written a whole book, and it’s not what you think it is: he was once married to Danielle Steel, and this book is pure one-percenter porn. Go read the excerpts and gag, or you can buy your own copy on Amazon. The latter is not recommended; while the article says it’s available for 1 cent online, it doesn’t seem to be true any longer — there has been a run on Tom Perkins literature, no doubt driven by aficionados of awful writing.

Hey, look what just arrived!

That new book about lovely atheists by Chris Johnson, A Better Life. I’m supposed to be in it, but it’s been sitting in a box outside all day, and it’s frozen solid and painful to touch, so I can’t open it yet. Later. Order it now!

abetterlife

Give me something to look forward to!

Yeah, I’m still neck-deep in grading. My cell biology course is pretty well in hand — I’m all caught up there, I’ve posted preliminary grades so students know about where they are, and I’m fielding questions from them all day long — but I also give them a final tomorrow, which I aim to have graded by the next day. I’m still wading through my backlog of essays in cancer biology, and they turned in more yesterday, but once I’m done with those, I’m done. So my goal is to wrap up the whole semester by Friday.

Then early Saturday morning, before the dawn, I get on a plane and zip off to Christmas in Boulder, Colorado for a few days. I am going to turn my brain off during that flight, so I want recommendations for a good book to download into my iPad — the kind of thing a science fiction and fantasy fan would enjoy. Or whatever; the last novel I read, oh these many days long gone, was one of Lindsey Davis’s Falco books. So I’m not entirely bounded by one genre.

Also to discuss: people say that you should judge a book by its contents, and not the author’s political views. But I’ve found so often that the author’s views bleed into the pages — an author so pure in their craft that their personal ideals do not inform their writing is probably an author who treats writing as an abstract exercise, and isn’t particularly interesting to read — that I cannot enjoy as much books by people who are less than humanist and progressive. Mark Twain, for instance, is one of the greatest American authors because his personality suffuses his work and the author is inseparable from the stories he tells.

So maybe you can also tell me about writers who you know to be good human beings. Or maybe you know of an author of worth who completely contradicts my general principle.