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The Year of Living Biblically
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In the hysterical follow-up to The Know-It-All, A J Jacobs tells the story of the year in which he attempted to follow every precept in the Bible, even where they contradicted each other...

About the Author

A. J. Jacobs is the editor at large at Esquire. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Know-It-All. He has contributed to the New York Times, New York magazine, and NPR's Weekend Edition, among others. He lives in New York. See ajjacobs.com for more information.

Reviews

With the Bible in hand, Jacobs sets off to spend a year attempting to follow the innumerous laws of Scripture in order to achieve the supposed claim of fundamentalists who say the Bible should be taken literally. Many obstacles stand in the way of this Jewish Manhattan father with a wife expecting twins by year's end. Through his journey, Jacobs does experience a spiritual awakening of sorts that reminds him of the importance of religion. He also reveals the scriptural selectiveness practiced by even the most zealous fundamentalists. While the abridgment generally works in providing listeners with the highlights of Jacobs's year, there are times when it seems to refer to material not covered in the audio. Sometimes too, the entries are too abrupt or trimmed. Jacobs reads the audiobook with adequate tone, speed and emphasis. While his soft nasal voice isn't particularly compelling, what he has to say about his adventures in living biblically will certainly keep people listening. Simultaneous release with the S&S hardcover (Reviews, June 25). (Oct.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

An agnostic wakes up one day determined to follow the more than 800 rules found in the Hebrew Bible. That isn't the start of a joke-it's the basis of a new book by Esquire editor at large Jacobs (The Know-It-All). Jacobs spends 388 days investigating how a 21st-century New Yorker can live the lifestyle outlined in the Old Testament. Repeatedly, he tries to follow literal meanings only to find that he has misinterpreted the ritual, moral, agricultural, and sacrificial laws. For example, he throws pebbles at a man in Central Park, intending to replicate a stoning, but after consulting with his team of religious advisers discovers that in biblical times, stoning actually meant pushing the victim off a cliff. Jacobs's discussions with his advisers and with men representing other religions make up the most thoughtful and insightful sections of the book. He concludes that people today practice "cafeteria religion," picking and choosing which rules to follow. Readers will cheer for this oddball who grows a beard, avoids wearing mixed-fiber clothes, and carries his own three-legged miniature seat onto the subway. Recommended for larger public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/07; optioned by Paramount Pictures and Plan B.-Ed.]-Joyce Sparrow, M.S.L.S., JWB Children's Svcs. Council, Pinellas Park. FL Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

"A.J. Jacobs has written a - how else to put it? - Good Book. Let me take my review from the original, Psalm 2, verse 4: 'He that sittith in the heavens shall laugh.' And let me suggest that readers, whether they know their bible or not, get to know A.J. Jacobs. But not in a biblical sense, please" * PJ O'Rourke *
"Jacobs has two great strengths as a writer. One is his extreme open-mindedness...the other is his humour, which he uses with precision and some subtelety." * Sunday Telegraph *
"Engaging . . . comical . . . full of curious lore" * Independent on Sunday *
"Witty and entertaining" * Daily Mail *
"At the end of this entertaining (for the reader) spiritual journey Jacobs may not be a religious man but he is a better person" * Sunday Telegraph *

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