a common reader

Christopher Hitchens dead at 62

· 16 December 2011 |  by Janantoon
· Published in: English texts · essays
· Tagged with:

Last Friday, December 16, I was eating my breakfast while reading Christopher Hitchens latest collection of essays, Arguably. Some people think that reading while eating is a bad habit, but I really enjoy this. Coffee, bread and cheese, soft music and a good book. What more do you want? Unless of course my loved one is there to share my breakfast.
The book is really good. I do love reading essays (have a look at my collection) and Hitchens knows how to write them. Or knew, because that same morning I heard on the news that he had died. Too young, of course, only 62.
Of course, there were many obituaries. I read the New York Times, the Guardian and El País.
Some called him a turncoat, all praised him for his wit, his critical analysis, his sharp mind. Started as a marxist and Trotskyite he become right-wing in his last years. In any case he persisted in being a contrarian. I think that political correctness was for him an attitude contrary to his belief in critical thinking. Being a sceptic was all what mattered.

Among other things, he wrote about George Orwell (Why Orwell Matters), Thomas Paine (Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man) and Mother Teresa (The Missionary Position).
The same day I started reading God is not Great, which was lingering in my library unread since 2007.
I think I really bought it more for its symbolic value as I knew what the message would be and did not need to be ‘converted’. But I was agreeably surprised. The book is interesting, very often funny and it did teach me a few things. For instance how to start a new religion, which seems to be very lucrative. But I think I’ll stick to my simple life, trying — like Confucius — to treat others as I would like others to treat myself.


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