The publisher of The Atheist’s Bible: An illustrious collection of irreverent thoughts should have taken Mark Twain’s advice: When you catch an adjective, kill it. The word illustrious adds nothing to the subtitle. See Ben Yagoda’s When You Catch an Adjective, Kill It: The Parts of Speech, for Better and/or Worse. Actually, the entire subtitle is unnecessary. The Atheist’s Bible—nice and clean.
I was perusing The Atheist’s Bible at Starbucks and a passerby, with a look that he had discovered something sinister, interrupted me. Isn’t that—Atheist’s Bible—an oxymoron? he asked. I nodded yes, remembering the quote, “The total absence of humor from the Bible is one of the most singular things in all literature.”