53. The Year of Living Biblically

by A.J. Jacobs

started 11/16 finished 12/6

This is another bestseller list book that I have managed to read and enjoy. As I may have said before, I seldom read “popular” books because I just don’t have mainstream book tastes. But after this book and Eat, Pray, Love, maybe it’s not my tastes are changing – maybe mainstream readers tastes are changing to match mine.

Like Will Smith, I consider myself a student of the world’s religions and am fascinated by the cultures that surround them. Jacobs decides to immerse himself in the Bible and obey its commandments (The Big 10 and the hundreds of others) for one year.

He prepares by reading the Bible from start to finish and entering into his computer any rule, major or minor, that he comes across. He makes decisions on which version of the Bible to use, how much time to devote to each Testament (being Jewish, he already is quite familiar with the Old one), and assembles a group of spiritual advisers to call on with questions along the way. Oh, and he starts growing his beard.

What follows is an interesting, insightful and sometimes hilarious journey (the day he decides to stone adulterers is quite funny – he lives in New York City, not ancient Jerusalem). Jacobs’ year takes him to the new creationist museum in Kentucky, the more familiar Hasidic neighborhoods of NYC, an Amish bed & breakfast in Pennsylvania, and to Israel to visit his aunt’s ex-husband the former cult leader. Also worth reading because of what happens in his own home. His wife proves to be a very patient woman while rolling her eyes at some of the things he does.

I had one customer say that he hadn’t read it yet because he thought it would be too serious. I was able to convince him that it was far from a scholarly work – just one regular guy living by the rules of the Bible in the modern world.

2 thoughts on “53. The Year of Living Biblically

  1. I am really surprised more people haven’t been buying this book. The Amish guy he meant rocked. I still think its similar to Eat Pray Love. Actually that book didn’t sell well in hardcover either.

  2. ST,I love it when people do stuff like this, like the Supersize me guy! I just find it interesting to think of discipline in the various ways that people choose it and what the outcomes are.

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