Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Year of Living Biblically

A.J. Jacobs likes to pull stunts, get book deals, and write about them. In addition to being a regular writer for Esquire magazine, he's written a book called The Know-It-All, where he told about his adventures reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. This time, he vows to adhere as literally as possible to all the laws in the Old and New Testaments.

I found this book entertaining and intriguing. Jacobs is thoughtful and funny. His adherance to the laws is most obviously manifested as he grows out his beard and wears white clothes with tassels on the end. One particularly hilarious episode is in the beginning, when he cannot touch his wife for 7 days, or sit anywhere that she has sat, because she might be unclean. His wife, being a modern woman, is a little resentful about what this particular law implies. She retaliates by sitting in every chair in their apartment, thereby making it impossible for him to sit down anywhere.

Jacobs is an agnostic with a Jewish background. He comments freely about his fluctuating viewpoints on God and religion. He examines carefully the impact of doing good deeds and following rules...all the rules...and what effect this has on his inner thoughts. The reader also gets to follow Jacobs and his wife through their quest to have another child...which works out a little differently than planned.

Jacob performs a stunt, but it is one that he carries through thoroughly as he can, and his modern-day thoughts and humor make this a book for anyone, regardless of spiritual choice.


Joy said...

Coincidentally, CNN just interviewed the author on CNN. His wife's comments on dealing with him while he was writing this are hilarious!

Bob Andelman said...

If you'd like to hear A.J. Jacobs talk about his new book, "The Year of Living Biblically," check out this audio interview link.