The Year of Living Biblically, A.J. Jacobs, 12 of 52

So I have completed this book and it feels so good. I’m past feeling disloyal and regretful when I can’t finish a book, life is too busy and short to waste time trying to read something you are not enjoying. Happily I can tell you that I enjoyed this book immensely. Not all of it was rivetingly interesting, but damnation most of it was. The twee cursing will be relevant to those who have read the book, or know anything about the Bible really.

This book is about a New York agnostic journalist who decides that he would like to give over his life to trying to live the Bible literally. He does pick and chose what things he wants to observe, the Bible is huge and if you only have a year to devote then this makes sense. I have a healthy pick and choose approach myself in regards to my Catholic faith. I was very impressed at the level of research and attention to detail that ‘Jacob’, his alter ego Biblical persona brought to this task. I particularly enjoyed his forays into exploring how other religions, both mainstream and fundamental, observe the Bible and its rules. The conclusion, even fundamentalists pick and chose what they want to take from the Bible. Jacob certainly puts himself right out there and the little pictorial library of his physical evolution was fun to see, interspersed throughout the book.

Importantly, Jacobs is respectful to all these people and their belief systems. I am struck by his capacity to think deeply about theology from all different perspectives and it is this sensitivity to others that I think makes the book successful. If it was just a book that was meant to poke fun at the wacky adventures of following the Bible, it clearly would have been a failure. Any of the individuals who were observed and noted throughout his diary of the year, would have to be happy with their representation.

A big note, I think that his wife deserves the nobel peace prize for not losing her mind during this year. Particularly after the imposed Biblical restrictions placed on her as a woman by default and the fact that she was undertaking IVF and subsequently pregnant with twins. This brings a lovely moment at the end of the story.

Readability 9 out of 10

Cant put down rating 8 out of 10 – the beauty of this book is that you can put it down and come back to it without losing momentum.

Recommend to others 9 out of 10

Do I want to read another book by this author – Hell yes, I might be tempted to read The Guinea Pig Diaries at some stage.


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