Skip to Content

Coffee House Culture House Daily

Spectator competition: Not Richard Dawkins’s Book of the Year (plus: literary agony uncles and aunts)

17 January 2015

9:15 AM

17 January 2015

9:15 AM

The recent call for publicity blurbs that sell the bible to a modern audience attracted a host of new competitors as well as the old-timers. Kieran Corcoran’s entry presented Jesus as a social media sensation — ‘He used to have 12 followers but now he has TWO BILLION!’. Derek Morgan’s pitched the Good Book as the go-to self-help manual: ‘Going to a garden party and nothing to wear? Trouble finding accommodation at peak season in a small town in the sticks? A house on a flood plain and weather forecast looks bad?…’. And Josh Ekroy had his sights on the how-to-win-friends-and-influence-people market: ‘Just quoting this book at home and in the workplace will make you powerful, respected and financially enhanced.’ Other strong performers in an uneven field were John O’Byrne and Sylvia Fairley.

The prizewinners, printed below, earn £30. The bonus fiver belongs to Pamela Dow.

Pamela Dow
‘His name’s Christ. Jesus Christ.’

The classic franchise is transported to the Levant where our hero has to interpret an unclear mission from ‘G’ with the help of an eclectic pool of talented agents, some of whom have almost certainly been ‘turned’ by an evil underworld kingpin with designs on global domination. In this wholly epic tale we find out more about our hero’s backstory and as ever share the many women in his life: the virgins, the saints and the sinners. Will JC finally die for Kingdom and Country or can he pull off an audacious resurrection at the 11th hour? Contains scenes of mild jeopardy, sexual innuendo and considerable violence.

Carolyn Thomas-Coxhead
Tracing the story of the world from day one to a shockingly vivid Apocalypse vision, in a book that’s had readers literally on fire with passion for its message, here’s the self-help manual-cum-history we’ve all been waiting for. Painstakingly translated and revised, it’s now available in an exciting new, accessible edition.

It’s bursting with tips on providing nourishing meals for vast numbers of unexpected guests and coping with life events such as both childbirth in awkward situations and infertility; plus, the 40-day detox-and-diet is guaranteed to shift those post-party pounds. But The Bible doesn’t simply lay down the law; it offers a road map for life. It’ll shock you; it’ll make you laugh, it’ll make you cry: the one thing you won’t be is ambivalent.
‘Plain weird’ Richard Dawkins

‘One of the fundamental makers of the modern world’ Melvyn Bragg
Get your copy of The Bible now. Read it and rejoice!

Basil Ransome-Davies
Fans of SF, fantasy, paranormal and crime fiction will rush to experience this multi-generic saga proceeding in an unparalleled sweep over the entire spectrum of life on a mysterious planet from its beginning with an occult illumination that turns empty space into a populated world to a finale that — well, no spoilers, but it’s mind-blowing.

The scope and range of ‘scripture’, as it is known to the cognoscenti, includes such dramatic and colourful highlights as a talking snake, the destruction of entire cities by ‘shock and awe’ tactics followed by father-daughter incest, an erotic interlude in blank verse, the betrayal of a superhero whose strength can destroy whole buildings by a femme fatale and the fabulous career, ending in execution, of a charismatic wizard whose magical powers frighten the authorities while attracting a popular fanbase. It wouldn’t be exaggerating to call it the Book of Books.

Adrian Fry
Imagine the mind bending metaphysics of John Milton without the tedious classical allusions, the epic sweep of J.R.R. Tolkien without the bathetic cosiness of hobbits or the sadomasochism of E.L. James without that credulous heroine; you’re still nowhere near appreciating just how good The Bible is. The story concerns a homoerotic, arguably incestuous love triangle involving an omnipotent superbeing, the race of clay automata to which he soon regrets capriciously granting free will and the Son who’ll break his Dad’s immutable laws in a reconciliation attempt with consequences for your very soul. With a supporting cast including parting seas, Ark-building drunks and an infanticidal monarch, it’s a toga and talking-snake fest that just might be true! With inconsistent narrators, dietary digressions and Middle Eastern geopolitical insights sufficient to keep everyone arguing for 2,000 years and counting, it’s the all-time bestseller Richard Dawkins doesn’t want you to read.

Brian Murdoch
Nudity! Sex! Murder! Ecological disaster! Toppling towers! Urban vice! Cities in flames! Incest! Polygamy! Human sacrifice! Fraud! Seduction! — and that’s just in the first book. This blockbuster has everything you ever thought of (and a few sins you wouldn’t have thought of!). A rollercoaster ride with an amazing cast of characters. Would you trust Delilah? Could you coax a smile out of Job? Marvel as the little guy brings down the Philistine superhero! Tremble as Daniel faces the lions! Laugh when Elisha’s mockers get eaten by bears!


The Apocrypha — all the juiciest out-takes!

The New Testament — the best-selling sequel! Heart-warming family drama (with a twist!) in the first part, then thrills and spills with Those Incredible Christians. And when you get to the end we guarantee you’ll want some of whatever John the Divine was taking!


The novelist Haruki Murakami has reinvented himself as an agony uncle. Your next challenge is to cast another well-known writer, living or dead, in that role and provide a problem of your invention and their solution. Please email entries of up to 150 words to by midday on 28 January.

Show comments