I survived my first book reading

I think it went well–I didn’t flub too much,and the crowd of 30 or 40 asked lots of good questions…but then, atheists always are full of questions. The staff at Barnes & Noble were also wonderfully gracious and helpful. The only weird thing is that afterwards several people mentioned the dissonance of the shelf of teen nonfiction behind me.


Uh, Rapture Practice for teens? In non-fiction? OK.

The author of Rapture Practice has shown up in the comments — it sounds like a good book, not at all what I feared from the title.


  1. Menyambal --- writing as Lee Moe Joost says

    Now you are an author.

    I am glad it went well.


  2. R Johnston says

    A little googling reveals that Rapture Practice is a memoir by a man raised in a rapture-ready household who grows out of it, bit by bit. The title refers to how he was raised, not how he believes others should be raised.

  3. Anthony K says

    Congrats, PZ!

    Given R Johnston’s research, are you sure the book isn’t subtitled “to serve man”? I am disappointed that the book isn’t part of a How To series on Debbie Harry tributes.

  4. schweinhundt says

    1) Good to hear & congrats!

    2) It would be interesting to know what you think you flubbed and what you did well–assuming the flubs weren’t too mortifying.

  5. says

    Hey PZ–

    RAPTURE PRACTICE is my memoir about growing up closeted and gay in a fundamentalist evangelical household. It’s the story of how I began to wrestle with my sexuality and started my journey out of religion altogether. I actually think you might like it! The book came out from Little, Brown in April. You can read a little bit more about my own journey here: http://www.salon.com/2013/03/31/honey_were_praying_for_you/

    Congrats on your book!
    Aaron Hartzler

  6. Menyambal --- The Man Who Broke Even at Monte Carlo says

    Aaron Hartzler, thanks for the links. I loved the bit about your mom’s cake.

    Good luck with your book, and with your family.

  7. marcoli says

    Our B&N now sports a huge, very gothy section on Teen Paranormal Fiction. Much bigger than the Science and Nature section. *Sigh*.

  8. gregpeterson says

    I didn’t see any flubs… but I get that things don’t always feel as smooth as they appear. I probably would have said I think C.S. Lewis was mistaken rather than a back, and might have seven found something good to say about Ayn Rand’s message of self- reliance… but that’s me, trying to find something positive everywhere. As you pointed out, we each have our style of activism. At any rate… good show, and perfect selection to read.

  9. says

    Wow, we get to meet some of the neatest people here, it makes up for the shit-fer-brains douchecanoes we meet everywhere else online.

  10. andersk3 says

    You were great! I must say you handled the I.D. girl with tact and grace (not at all what I expected by the way.) From my perspective you missed the best part of the teen “non fiction” rack though; on the right side of the bottom shelf there were a couple of bible choices, stylish ones at that.

    Keep up the good work.

  11. drew says

    Book tour schedule? I’m here in Seattle to listen to you, convince other people to, and buy a signed copy. (Which I will read and then give away to someone else at no profit to you because I just do that with books. Sorry.)

  12. DLC says

    There was an advert circular in my brother’s history book club offerings mail for the Happy Atheist.
    I had to explain who PZ Myers is. My brother is a “yeah, gods are a bunch of shit” kind of Atheist.
    Closest he comes to religion is a passing familiarity with Buddhism, which he likes more as a philosophy rather than all the spiritual reincarnation bollocks.

  13. Chandrese says

    Glad everything went well, PZ. As Menyambal — The Man Who Broke Even at Monte Carlo said, you’re official now!

    @ Aaron / 6 – Thanks for that link. Now I’ve got another book to read!

  14. opposablethumbs says

    Congrats on the event, PZ! Glad to hear it went well :-)
    Just clicked on your link, Aaron, btw – your book looks like being excellent; well-written, engaging, funny and moving.

  15. says

    PZ, I’m glad it went well. I started reading last night – hats! Oh gods, the flood story! *laughs*

    Aaron Hartzler, thank you for the mini-summary, I’ll be adding your book to my tablet.

  16. antigone10 says

    A girl, I’m not sure which side she was on, asked how do you respond to “Irreducible Complexity” when talking about intelligent design. PZ gave an explanation that nothing has been shown to be irreducible complex; there is always a design history, or we can look to nature to see how it works with only part of a mechanism in other animals. He used the example of the blood cascade.

    I was actually a little disappointed in the answer to the IC question. Learning about the blood cascade was fascinating, but I was hoping for something a little more go-to. A couple of years ago at Convergence, I remember getting a great “Evolution 202” explanation, that talked about evolution being like a game of poker; liking in what we get in our DNA to sometimes be like winning with a pair of 2s, and the rest of the cards are just along for the ride, and then talking about how evolution is about what doesn’t kill a species, not what’s “best”. I’ve used it to great effect when having discussions (okay, arguments) with creationist members of the family*, and I was hoping that there would be some sort of equally awesome explanation I could use when talking about IC. I mean, I don’t know everything about biological functions, and talking about flagella puts me out of my depth REALLY quickly. And it doesn’t even matter, because I read up on how the eye was not irreducibly complex, and talked about it’s evolution, and they’re lost and not-listening in about 2 minutes. So, I was hoping for a quick, broad-based metaphorical explanation that talked about the concept, not the specificity.

    Otherwise, it was interesting. Despite how acerbic his writing is, I’m always really struck by the fact that in person he’s very soft-spoken. Less snarky, more “professorial” I suppose.

    *I don’t know that I’ve convinced a single adult family member about ID versus Evolution. But, I do know that they younger cousins listening to these arguments have been swayed to the science-side and I think that a lot to do with it is easy-to-understand basics.

  17. Patricia, OM says

    Hi PZ –

    Your book arrived in my local bookstore today (14 Aug), I am a known ‘character’ there, and when I walked in a laugh fest was going on as one of the staff was reading aloud – guess what they were on about? Yep, your book – they were loving it. *grin*

    Unfortunately, your book arrived with another book I ordered…sorry PZ you are in the lineup behind Jane Grigson’s English Food . Toad-in-the-Hole is just more fascinating than crackers.

  18. blf says


    Best made with only the finest baby toads, lightly killed, sealed in the finest boiling lava, and lovingly frosted with lark’s vomit.

  19. gravityisjustatheory says


    Best made with only the finest baby toads, lightly killed, sealed in the finest boiling lava, and lovingly frosted with lark’s vomit.

    And then Spotted Dick for dessert.

  20. bassmanpete says

    I think it went well

    So you didn’t mention the war? (A reference to a Fawlty Towers episode for those not in the know)

    Have ordered your book from The Book Depository. This means I can get it in Australia at a reasonable price (ie less than Australian booksellers charge) and pay no postage.

  21. edmundog says

    Ah, as a bookseller, I was all set to log in and say that Rapture Practice is pretty good, but I see I’m not needed. Well, consider this an unbiased second. And we’ve got your book right up front on the new releases table, PZ. I’m heartily recommending it to the browsers.

  22. John Phillips, FCD says

    Yay, in the UK mine just dropped through the letter box. Something to look forward to when I get up later.