September 26, 2008

The Year of Living Biblically by AJ Jacobs

I picked up The Year of Living Biblically because I was interested in the author's premise. AJ Jacobs, a secular agnostic with Jewish heritage, decided that he was going to carry out the Bible as literally as possible for one year in order to prove a point.

Because of his commitment, he faces a lot of sticky situations. He finds it very difficult to live his life as he had previously. He fails tremendously (as any of us would). He struggles with balancing laws that he doesn't understand with laws he does.

This book is entertaining and insightful in spots. Turns out that biblical literalists weren't quite what he thought them to be. While he certainly doesn't come to recognize the Bible to be anything more than an ancient book, I still felt like there was something to be learned from his perspective on it.

I laughed and cried while reading this book. I laughed at AJ's attempts at stoning. I'd say more, but it'd just give it away.

I cried, because of a quote from his neighbor:

"Eventually, I sold the original [of my artwork on a popular album] to the Hard Rock Cafe, not only because I needed a little money, but because I was afraid that, if I would die, it would be put on the street, like all stuff is put on the street when people die, in a black plastic bag. Now it was safe."

This reminded me of the purposelessness many people struggle with.

If memoirs are interesting to you, you'll like this one. The only downside is that it does come off a bit fake and forced as his reasoning for following the laws of the Bible is not primarily a spiritual quest, but a quest for profit.


  1. Hi Ronnica, I am from the book blog you commented on before. I would have emailed you but I'm sort of an internet safety freak. We ARE quite similar. I 100% agree with much of your review of this book. I'm in the middle of Jacobs' first book, the Know-it-All and it's pretty good too. I've added this blog to the ones I'm watching :)

  2. Hmm, I didn't find it forced or fake at all.

    I really admired the patience of his wife. Wow, she must be a saint!


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