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The New Sins

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  154 ratings  ·  24 reviews
David Byrne has written a book that updates and alters the Bible's cardinal sins for a more contemporary audience. Byrne wanted the book to be the size and shape of a portable Bible, and thus The New Sins resembles the sort of book a strange person in a robe would try to give you in an airport. Bizarre and profound, the book includes 80 color photographs taken by the autho...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published August 28th 2006 by McSweeney's
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Community Reviews

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Andrew Bourne
Oh, Mr. Byrne! Aren't we clever? But how much mayonnaise can we really put on a single sandwich? Mayonnaise is indeed delicious, but too much of even the most robust stuff can become saccharine. And pairing off with Dave Eggers; my tooth explodes!

Sep 17, 2007 Nathan rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: This is not my beautiful wife!
Shelves: humor, reference
Like a David Lynch movie in book form. Seriously. It makes no sense, but it's super-crazy-awesome.

There was probably a time when I would have found this book entertaining, even enjoyable. Perhaps when I bought it in 2001 upon its publication by McSweeney's, when I was very into what they were up to. Or perhaps even sooner, whilst in college and very much a fan of the Washington, D.C. post-punk band Nation of Ulysses and their brand of leftist agitprop. Perhaps, but I doubt it. Even then I likely would have found this sort of self-referential (and self-reverential) enterprise overwrought and...more
Daniel Hoffman
David Byrne has such a feel for aesthetics! This book captures the handout-bible feel exactly, and the use of both Spanish and English makes the text feel even more impersonal and wide reaching. The book is so over-the-top and droning to the point that even the most invested reader or Byrne fan will put it down out of exhaustion. Maybe that's what Bryne is actually trying to say: stop relying on self-help books (and blind religion) to answer your problems. As important, if not more so, is the co...more
Ray Ambrosini
This tome belongs tucked away in hotels near the dead ends of the world. Where salesmen go to die, reaching for a prayer after indulging in too much drink and painful heartburn from the BBQ joint by the side. A look into the absurdity of looking for answers, occasionally dropping genuinely good advice wrapped in uncomfortably televangelist prose. Not words to love, live or die by but a powerful statement of an artist's view compressed into a velvety red book.
My lovely girlfriend gave this to me for Christmas last year as I'm a big Talking Heads fan. The content is pretty interesting reinterpretations of traditionally accepted values and favors the acceptance and entropy instead of the imposing of order and relentless self improvement. But what really did it for me is how the book itself is designed just like a Gideon's Bible that could be found anywhere. I'm tempted to leave it at a bus stop to spread Byrne's "alterna gospel" but I like the layout,...more
Odd, interesting to browse through. In English and Spanish; the pictures are different but I think the text is the same in both languages. Some of the language is lovely and overwrought: "The Heart is like the Sea, wherein dwells the Leviathan, and creeping things innumerable. The Heart is like the Egyptian temples---full of spiders, serpents and snakes. It is a treasure house of sin. A gilded palace in a lake of fire." This passage is opposite a picture of pink rabbit Peeps. Fun in small doses.
Aug 28, 2007 Damian rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone too comfortable in their opinions
Shelves: reads
At times highlarious, at times disagreeable, at times mischievous, but always challenging and interesting. A resetting of biblical imperatives for modern times, a sideswipe to all that we hold as true (that's a good, thing, incidentally). And it's helped my Spanish!

Read it in an airport, and hope that religious types come and talk to you, that's what i say.

Best line - we don't want the truth, we want a better fiction.
Emer Vaughn
Jul 03, 2007 Emer Vaughn rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: sinners, saints, etc.
It's funny and "innocently" unnerving, like most McSweeney's stuff; I'm glad I came across a copy of this.

Did you know honesty is a sin? I like this: "Our loved ones demand honesty, but what they really want is better fiction."
David Byrne updates and alters the Bible's cardinal sins. Bizarre and profound, the book looks like a portable Bible (beautiful) and points at what he sees as wrong with the way we think & behave in our world.
Aug 29, 2008 John rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to John by: a girl in school...
an art piece - provocative, thought, anxiety and laugh producing...for the underdeveloped reading may induce a sense of self-righteousness and help feed negative stereotypes about your parents.
Everything you learned as a kid = wrong.
Byrne presents a slightly twisted look at human habit today and leaves you feeling like a bandage was cruelly torn off by a snickering older sister.
Not the kind of thing you read cover to cover but definitely a book you can pack in your handbag and refer to while waiting in line and feel entranced by the genius that is David Byrne.
A dissapointing 'reinterpretation' of the goods and evils of the world. I wanted so much to dig it--especially since it's written by one of the greatest musical minds of our time.
scott noble
come on... a book on religion by david byrne? are you kidding? anyone who has doubts about religion, or just has alternate beliefs should take 30 minutes to read this one...
David Byrne of Talking Heads fame discusses why the old biblical virtues are no more. His wit can be matched by few.
Oct 23, 2012 Dawn rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: David Byrne fans
Shelves: humor
Very odd little book, but it's by David Byrne, so why WOULDN'T it be odd? I liked the photos better than the text.
David Byrne is a force, a man bearing the key to the many mysteries of being human.
Sublime. Rhetoric is a bit head-scratching, but the book is beautiful.
I'll enjoy committing the new sins almost as much as the old ones.
I was happy to rid myself of the old ones.
To put it quite simply: David Byrne is my hero.
Dec 02, 2007 Liz rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who hates the laughter of a young child
"but i haven't mastered the old ones yet!"
David Byrne is Brilliant.
Ahren marked it as to-read
Aug 13, 2014
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David Byrne is a musician and artist most associated with his role as a founding member and principal songwriter of the American new wave band Talking Heads, which was active between 1975 and 1991. Since then, Byrne has released his own solo recordings and worked with various media including film, photography, opera, and non-fiction. He has received Grammy, Oscar, and Golden Globe awards and been...more
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