Friday, October 14, 2011

Christopher Hitchens' reading list

I had intended to write about the books that I'm reading currently but something caught my eye on the Nirmukta website and I had to share it.

The Hitch is back after many months!

One of the greatest journalists of our time and a vocal critic of organized religion and its evils, Christopher was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and later revealed he was extremely ill backstage on the Jon Stewart Show.
Earlier this year he lost his speaking voice and so couldn't attend the American Atheists Convention and had to deliver a letter encouraging the "heirs of the secular revolution" to keep up the walls of separation of Church and State that President Jefferson enshrined in the Law of the Land.
But to a man like Christopher; a man who is passionate about speaking his mind and "hitchslapping" his debaters, the reality of losing his voice was far more depressing than his impending visit by the eternal Footman. This is evident in his Vanity Fair Column:

"Deprivation of the ability to speak is more like an attack of impotence, or the amputation of part of the personality. To a great degree, in public and private, I “was” my voice. " - Unspoken Truths, Vanity Fair June 2011

Christopher was awarded the Dawkins award by Richard Dawkins himself in Houston, Texas. And he graced the occasion because he was doing better and even spoke to the audience gathered and took questions.
But it was the question posed by an eight-year old girl by the name of Mason Crumpacker that Christopher really was taken with. She simply asked the man,

"What books should I read?" 
Hitchens then asked the girl and her mother to meet him after the event to talk to personally. And true to his word, the man; frail from chemotherapy and sickness, spent a good amount of time asking Mason  the books she read (Harry Potter and Phillip Pullman) and suggested a few books himself.

Here's the list!
Richard Dawkins’ Magic of Reality 
Greek and Roman mythology- Robert Graves
Satirical works  and all works of Shakespeare 
Works of Geoffrey Chaucer
Ayaan Hirsi Ali 
PG Wodehouse (“Sunset at Blandings”)
David Hume for philosophy
Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities.

Here's hoping that Christopher will have many more years ahead of him and will inspire us with his wit, wisdom and charm. For the world will truly be a darker place without the Hitch around.

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