Today I want to discuss the bestselling book of all time: The Alchemist.
Ha ha! I'm kidding, of course — the bestselling book of all time is The Little Red Book: Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung
No, that's the second bestselling book of all time. According to most sources, the bestselling book of all time is the Bible. You nonbelievers and other heathens aren't required to know anything about the Bible, which is merely a central, foundational document of Western civilization. Don't you feel left out? But then, Western civilization isn't doing so well these days.
The central figure in the Bible is Charlton Heston, who at various points in his career was Moses, John the Baptist, and God, known together as the Trinity. Over the years Christianity split into various competing factions as other people claimed the title of God: first George Burns, then Morgan Freeman, then Alanis Morissette, with John Lennon in the role of Jesus. And yet these divisions have done nothing to slow the sales of the Bible.
This is odd, because it isn't a very readable book. The proof of this is that, despite the presence of the Bible in a majority of American homes and many motel and hotel rooms; regardless of the fact that you can get the Bible for free online, or can buy it in a multitude of paper, digital, and audio editions, including even a green Bible for environmentalists called, cleverly, The Green Bible; and never mind that many of our politicians put great stock in making it clear that they are Bible-quoting believers; in spite of all this, most people haven't read the darn thing and don't know what it says. At best they are vaguely familiar with the stories told in the beginning of the Bible, have memorized one of the Psalms ("The Lord is my shepherd"), and have a confused notion of the message of the four gospels. And then there are the folks who think they are familiar with the last book of the Bible, Revelations — you'll want to stay away from them because they are convinced they know when the end of the world is coming, and in some cases are actively trying to hurry it along.
But most people don't know the Bible at all, and I think it's because it isn't a very good read. My suggestion is we start over. Oh, I know, you think I am going to recommend my book How to Play the Harmonica: and Other Life Lessons again, like I did in my last blog. But that would be self-serving and silly. I have a more serious proposal. I would like to suggest that we start a new religion based on the book Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie (no relation). There are good guys, bad guys, adventure, flying people — everything, in short, that a religion needs. Yet I'll bet most of you have never read the book by Barrie. I'll bet you remember the story more from the Disney movie, starring Charlton Heston. Barrie's Peter Pan is not as fun a read as you might expect, and, furthermore, there is no explanation of where Neverland, Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, and Captain Hook came from. What's needed is a book about the origins of Neverland. And low and behold, we have just that book: Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry (relation) and Ridley Pearson! And two more books in the series, Peter and the Shadow Thieves and Peter and the Secret of Rundoon! So we're all set now. No more boring old Bible.