It's a hectic time this weekend for shoppers who have waited to the last minute to buy gifts for their loved ones in order to properly celebrate this very Christian holiday. Some readers of this blog have written to me, desperate for suggestions. Here's one such email I received yesterday:
Dear Mr. Czobit,
I have no clue what to get my father for Christmas. He cares more that a gift comes from the hart than the wallet, and so, if you have any suggestions for thoughtful gifts, please, please, please send them to me!
First, (Name Withheld), you spelled "hart" incorrectly. Second, watch your run-on sentences; if you want me to answer your emails regularly, at least read once over before you click 'Send.'
Thankfully, I have a short-list of last-minute gifts that really exemplify the Christmas season. All the items are books, and should be easy to find at your local bookstore. (Why books? Because we all need to read more -- that is the only New Year resolution I will make.)
Here goes, my desperate readers:
"The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins.
As I understand it, this book while controversial is compelling. Here's an appraisal from an unnamed critic on Chapters website: "If I had to identify Dawkins''s cardinal virtues, I would say that he is brilliant, articulate, impassioned, and impolite..."The God Delusion" is a fine and significant book...Dawkins''s irreverent and penetrating work will seem a breath of fresh air."
O.K., not your brother's bag? Here's another option. Nominated for a National (U.S.) Book Award this year, Christopher Hitchens smart look at religion, "God is Not Great."
I have read this last-minute choice, and it's compelling, entertaining and easily the best book on this list to read by the fire. And hell, if you hate it, just throw it in that fire.
Finally, another Hitchens effort also out this year. This time, he merely edited it, "The Portable Atheist." This one is more of a stocking stuffer, but should be much appreciated.
I hope this list makes your last-minute shopping much easier. If not, well, remember: Christmas isn't about presents, it's about... O.K., it's only but presents. But it used to be about something else.