Hot Reads: Recommendations for the holidays

From The Guardian:

Richard Dawkins: The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason by Sam Harris (Free Press) is a genuinely frightening book about terrorism, and the central role played by religion in justifying and rewarding it. Others blame “extremists” who “distort” the “true” message of religion. Harris goes to the root of the problem: religion itself. Even moderate religion is a menace, because it leads us to respect and “cherish the idea that certain fantastic propositions can be believed without evidence”. Why do men like Bin Laden commit their hideous cruelties? The answer is that they “actually believe what they say they believe”. Read Sam Harris and wake up.

Nadeem Aslam: A novelist votes every time he writes a sentence. Ian McEwan’s Saturday (Jonathan Cape) is a lovely and profoundly serious act of engagement with our age. The collapsing of the Twin Towers on 9/11 gave many people – including, I feel, Saturday’s protagonist Perowne – their first glimpse of another kind of world that had been existing alongside ours for some time. It is almost as though the Towers had been blocking a view. Saturday possesses a brilliant understanding of what we see in that view, and what we could possibly do about some of the horrors to be found there.

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