Thursday, April 1, 2010
The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible
Simon & Schuster/0743291476/$25.00
A.J. Jacobs, editor-at-large for Esquire Magazine, decided to take on the seemingly impossible for a year -- following the Bible as literally as possible. He admits that he is not a religious man though his family is traditionally Jewish. However, he felt obligated to explore the top-selling book in the world.
Jacobs uses humor and compassion to describe his experiences of following the 700+ rules outlined in the Bible, all of which he tries to obey (assuming they're legal in today's society.) He grows a beard, he doesn't wear wool and linen together, he rests on the Sabbath, he prays regularly, he doesn't touch menstruating women, and he stones adulterers (which he accomplishes at one point by dropping a pebble on a man's shoe). However absurd or strange the rule may be, Jacobs keeps at least a partially open mind and tries to follow it as best as he can. During his year-long journey, Jacobs comes to find himself appreciating religion and leaving behind some of his secular ways.
While, Jacobs does cover the Bible is some detail, he creates an approachable book that people of any religious background can read and enjoy. Funny, engaging and thought-provoking this is certainly a title worth recommending.