Have You Read?: Livin’ by the book | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Have You Read?: Livin’ by the book

Mark Dulyanai

“The Year of Living Biblically” by A.J. Jacobs

Many people claim to take the Bible literally, but how many have made a lasting and concerted effort to do so? A.J. Jacobs, a secular New York Jew, took a little more than a year to follow the Bible literally. The fruits of his labors resulted in the book “A Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible.”

Jacobs’ previous book was “The Know It All”, where he took an entire year to read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. During the time he spent reading, he also did various “field trips,” such as a visit to meet Alex Trebek of “Jeopardy!” fame, as well as attending a Mensa meeting.

“The Year of Living Biblically” follows a similar format: Jacobs created a board of spiritual advisers that he consults throughout his 381-day journey. He also visited various people and organizations who take the Bible literally: Two of the many field trips he took included visits to the Kentucky-based Creation Museum and a group of Pennsylvania Amish.

Jacobs finds his normal, and very secular, life almost completely disrupted. His day job as an editor for Esquire magazine often finds him at odds with living a biblical life. His board of spiritual advisers often saves him from some self-rationalized instances of sheer folly. It is those moments where Jacobs finds his biblical and secular worlds colliding that provide the most entertainment and insights.

“The Year of Living Biblically” is a delightful read. It is filled with laugh-out-loud humor tempered by deep insights into religion and beliefs. Jacobs does an entertaining job of trying to live a biblically “good life,” and his resultant books allows us to benefit from his adventures.

– Mark Dulyanai is a member of South Lake Tahoe Friends of the Library.


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