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The Year of Living Biblically

Bookmobile: The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs

We're kicking off our World of Faith month here at CitizenSugar, because as with I'd reckon, a good 93 percent of our presidential candidates, I'm fascinated by religion, spirituality, and its place in our world. I love to see Jesus and Jamba Juice duke it out for our scattered, Tivo-addled attention. So when the author of that book about reading the encyclopedia (more entertaining than it sounds, really) released a new book about living in the age of the internet while following all the rules once chiseled onto a tablet of some sort, I snapped it up immediately.

First of all, I liked it. Wholly entertaining if like me, you'll live anyone's life vicariously as an antidote to fiction. But . . . my complaint is this: he lived by the rules all right, but only as deep as the paper they were printed on. He was trying to see what faithful felt like without religion. It's like he tried to taste a ham and cheese omelet by holding an uncracked egg. Now he does admit briefly that his "lone wolf" method did lack the sense of community usually associated with religion (it even caused him not to mention Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur because they were such a blah experience for him alone) but it's more than that — to find out,


It's not just the group mentality (the supporting cast, if you will) that makes practicing a faith, meaningful, it's the whole picture: the set, the costumes — the theatricality of it all. He does go to a megachurch (Jerry Falwell's at that) but it's pretty perfunctory, and it's the only structured worship he attends throughout the entire year. I'd love to have seen him go to a church camp — total immersion (like he tried to do) plus the group dynamic and drama? I bet that would have cracked his egg.

What do you think? Have you read it? Want to?

Join The Conversation
CitizenSugar CitizenSugar 9 years
bella--yes! You're in luck (?) Animal sacrifices for sure. And JessNess we're definitely looking to highlight stories from all kinds of faiths--and always open to suggestions!
JessNess JessNess 9 years
World of Faith? So you are going to be covering A LOT of different faiths right? Not just the large ones like Christianity, Judaism, Islam etc.
angelina8023 angelina8023 9 years
Yea, he did write "The Know It All" I really enjoyed it:) I think I am going to pick this one up as well!
Bookish Bookish 9 years
He wrote "The Know-It-All", right? I'll have to check this out next time I'm at the bookstore. It looks interesting.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 9 years
I'll probably go out and buy two copies - one for my and one for my nephew as a birthday present. Both of us are atheists (would prefer to be called humanists as atheist implies that we are denying something that we at some point believed existed - when neither of us ever believed the myth in the first place). My nephew and I always find it so interesting the amount of "lip service" theists give to the bible (it's the WORD of god, it's so precious etc) - yet very few American theists have actually read the bible cover to cover (instead they rely upon a minister to tell then what the bible says and to refer them to specific passages and interpret it for them). And very very very few American theists though they believe the bible is the true word of their god actually adhere to the edicts and rules for life issued by their god. That would seem to imply that though this god is suppose to be all powerful, always right and the ultimate arbiter of what is right and wrong that many people think they know better than their deity what is right and wrong and how they should actually live their lives. This book should be really interesting. I actually saw the author on a talk show, speaking about his experience but I forgot to write down his name then.
Princesskitty22 Princesskitty22 9 years
I'm thinking it was probably supposed to be satirical.
Beauty Beauty 9 years
So, can we expect animal sacrifices? Please tell me there are animal sacrifices.
bondservant4jc bondservant4jc 9 years
If he truely took it literally he would see that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He obviously missed that point. ---Melissa---
freegracefrom freegracefrom 9 years
World of Faith month? This makes me nervous. But . . . my complaint is this: he lived by the rules all right, but only as deep as the paper they were printed on. He was trying to see what faithful felt like without religion. It's an interesting experiment, but a little pointless.
skilledatlife4 skilledatlife4 9 years
Did he ever have to make sacrifices (burning flour, etc)? I find this really fascinating but I agree with those who said that he kind of missed the point.
DublinSaab DublinSaab 9 years
Coffee? Well that's a shame.
JennyJenJenMurph JennyJenJenMurph 9 years
He's actually holding a cup of coffee! :-) I read the book and it was actually really interesting. I started reading it and ended up not being able to finish it right away but I was able to pick it right back up without loosing anything. Jacobs is a writer for Esquire so his writing style is very much like a magazine--great for someone who isn't a big reader because you don't get bogged down in the details. I really recommend this to anyone, no matter your religious background. Jacobs comes from a Jewish family (he's non-practicing) and he also makes an effort to examine things from many different religious perspectives.
DublinSaab DublinSaab 9 years
In the cover he is holding what looks like a pint of beer. That makes me think he can't be that bad.
JovianSkies JovianSkies 9 years
Maybe an interesting read, but I doubt that he recieved the real message about religion. His egg most definitely didn't crack
saucymegstar saucymegstar 9 years
I haven't read the book. I initially cringed at the title because it says, "Literally as possible". Which to me is so off the mark to what true religion is about. I agree that community is a huge part of it. The point is relationship. Having a relationship with God makes it possible for me to have a better relationship with others and even myself. I might skim this on my next bookstore trip. Thanks!
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