The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible As Literally As Possible by A.J. Jacobs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a book club pick. I had previously read Jacobs' book The Know-It-All, about his experience reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. I thought that book was funny but often found the author habit of overthinking everything annoying. I guess I expected the same thing from Living Biblically, but it was a pleasant surprise to me.
I was quickly caught up in Jacobs' evolving view of religion and was intrigued to see where his beliefs would fall at the end of the experience. His emphasis on following the entire Bible, particularly the more obscure laws led to a lot of funny incidents (and the revelation that his wife is a paragon of spousal tolerance!), but he never made fun of his subject(s) and occasionally came up with something profound (or quoted someone else's profound observation).
Rather than "go it alone", he had a team of Biblical experts from different traditions to help with understanding the context of the Bible passages he was exploring. I learned a lot about the Bible--or, at least, I learned a lot about different views and interpretations regarding the Bible.
The bulk of the book relates to Jacobs' exploration of the Old Testament. Towards the end he also delved into the New Testament. I thought this segment of the book was weaker, which is maybe not so surprising seeing the author's background as an agnostic Jew. It gave an interesting look at some fundamentalist Christian organizations...some of which were pretty surprising...but this section didn't have near the depth of the rest of the book.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading the book, following the author's progress and
Verdict: Definitely worth reading.