Announcing the Friendly Atheist Book Club

After months of planning, it’s my pleasure to announce a new project that I hope the secular community will enjoy and appreciate: The Friendly Atheist Book Club!

Every month beginning this November — on a site separate from this one — we’ll discuss one book over a series of blog posts and videos. The moderators (Steven M. Long and Emily Dietle) and I will guide the conversation and we’ll invite the authors of the books to join us for an interview each month, too.

For those of you who (like me) enjoy reading books about religion but don’t always have people to chat with about them, I want this to be your outlet.

I know you have a lot of questions (about moderators, trolls, book selection, cost, etc) and I’ve tried to answer the major ones here.

In the meantime, I’m thrilled to announce that the first book we’ll read is Candace R. M. Gorham‘s book The Ebony Exodus Project: Why Some Black Women Are Walking out on Religion — and Others Should Too (Pitchstone Publishing, 2013). It’s all about how black women, specifically, are harmed by Christianity and why they need to abandon their faith.

Like I said, this has been in the works for a few months. It’s an experiment, but one I’m devoting a lot of personal attention to, because I think it will be a valuable resource for our community. If you’d like to become a member of the club, please sign up now and order the book right here. The fun begins next month!

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Deus Otiosus

    You’re just screwing with Oprah now, aren’t you?

    • http://youtu.be/fCNvZqpa-7Q Kevin_Of_Bangor

      Damn, you beat me to it by 34 minutes :(

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        Well, he wouldn’t have explained his masterstroke to you if there was any chance of you stopping him.

  • L.G. Keltner

    This is a great idea!

    • Deus Otiosus

      Totally agree. I’ve already set up my subscription and I’ll download the book when I get home to my iPad.

  • http://youtu.be/fCNvZqpa-7Q Kevin_Of_Bangor

    Thanks for giving us the option to join when we desire.

  • newavocation

    So is that $5 per month to join?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      That is correct!

  • GodlessPoutine

    I like the idea!

    Two points:

    1) Like the new spiffy book club banner. But the picture is exactly the same as the previous banner. I was a little disappointed. I mean, could we at least get a picture of you holding a book or something? Extra points if you’re in a comfy armchair with cup of tea on side table.

    2) I have so little time that I want to join but it’s impossible for me to read enough books. If only I could outsource it.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist. It’s a good idea, Hemant, and it builds good community!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      When I find someone with a good camera and I look nice, we’ll do this!

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      And a jacket with patched elbows, good god, do not forget the jacket!

  • LJ

    Can you post the next book when you decide? I’m interested, but I don’t have as much time as I used to to read, and would like a head start.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      As soon as it’s picked, I’ll post it here!

      • Ewan

        Just a thought in case it’s useful – you might want to consider international publication dates in the selection process; for example, this first book isn’t published in the UK until half way through November.

  • Garrett Schwanke

    May I recommend Deconstructing Mormonism: An Analysis and Assessment of the Mormon Faith by Thomas Riskas? (http://www.amazon.com/Deconstructing-Mormonism-Analysis-Assessment-Mormon/dp/1578840074)

    It is a very academic treatment of the Mormon faith that surpasses the mere problem of why it is true or false (demonstrably false), but why it is also demonstrably harmful to many of its most faithful adherents.

    Mr. Riskas’ thesis is that we are all naturally atheist and that true integrity and mental health are inherent to naturalism sans supernaturalism. His observations reach beyond Mormon doctrine to shed the light of reason on associated practices including Christianity generally, Judaism, and Islam. It is a powerful, profoundly interesting book.

  • A3Kr0n

    Sounds like fun.

  • AxeGrrl

    Does the $5/month fee include the book being discussed?

    I really love this idea, but if the only option is buying the book in question (on top of the $5/month), I’ll probably have to forgo :(

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      Unfortunately, those are separate fees :( I’m hoping that, in the future, the publishers can at least give us a discount on the books.

  • Candace Gorham

    Hey…I’m the author of this first book. I’m really glad to see some buzz about the book club in general. I look forward to participating in the live discussion!

  • http://www.facebook.com/tuibguy Mike Haubrich

    I would like to make a suggestion for a newly published book by Minnesota author James Zimmmerman – Deliverance at Hand: The Redemption of a Devout Jehovah’s Witness (http://freethoughthouse.com/deliverance-at-hand.html) .

    James is now an atheist, and this is a searing look at the Jehovah’s Witness from a man who grew up in that particular church. His gift in writing this autobiography is that he is as critical of himself as the people around him, very honest. I read the book both as a pre- and post-published item and it is absorbing, to say the least.

    • Eric

      I second this request! I read James Zimmerman’s book and attended his presentation at a local Minnesota Atheists event. Zimmerman’s story about his conversion from a devout Jehovah’s Witness to an atheist is nothing short of enthralling. This is also a clear and comprehensive explanation of the JW cult.

  • ranjuro

    I want to second the suggestion of Deliverance at Hand. I just finished it and really enjoyed the read. Good idea! :)

  • godlesskath

    Is there any way that you can allow payment through Google Checkout? I just registered and realized payment is through paypal. I won’t use them due to a past dispute I had with them. I would love to join.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      I will find out and get back to you!

      • godlesskath

        Thak you :)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      I looked into it and, right now, Google Checkout is not available for us to use. Maybe in the future, but PayPal is currently the only option Patheos can use for the time being. Sorry!

  • Croquet_Player

    Housekeeping notice – I was trying to find out when we were going to discuss the book (I have a packed month and I want to finish it beforehand) and I went looking for the Friendly Atheist book club link. However the book club link above your banner is for the PATHEOS club. NOT our club. (Imagine my surprise at seeing all the faith-based books listed.) So 1) maybe put a link somewhere visible for our book club, and 2) when do we start our discussion? Thanks!


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