Trying to discuss The Year of Living Biblically in one short evening might be large undertaking, but we sure enjoyed it!
I always look forward to book club Thursday’s, even when the turn-out is small. Three of us were in attendance while the snow fell quietly outside.
Jacobs learned a great deal about the Bible through his crash-course in reading it and then following through with this 12 month book project. He says this about his background with the Bible: “I grew up in an extremely secular home in New York City. I am officially Jewish, but I’m Jewish in he same way The Olive Garden is an Italian restaurant. Which is to say: not very. I attended no Hebrew school, ate no matzoh.”
We all agreed he had a religious experience not a spiritual one. But it seems he definitely enjoyed this more than he expected too. Wearing white clothes, carrying a staff, the works. It seems it was like a game to him, a fun project, not an honest spiritual searching.
The first 8 months or so he follows the teaching from the Old Testament and when he got to the end of that and looked to what the New Testament says, he hit a speed bump. “The emphasis on faith is a key difference between modern Judaism and current evangelical Christianity.”
Did you finish the book? I don’t want to give away the ending. Hope you find time to finish this great read some snowy winter night.
Leave a comment with your favorite strange command that Jacobs practiced or tried out. Some of ours… the stoning scene: hilarious! The handy seat… and why he bought it: classic! Dropping money on the sidewalk!
February 17th is quickly approaching, have you found a copy of The Chosen yet? Be sure to check the sidebar for a heads up of what books we’ll be reading in the next few months. And never miss a blog post by signing up with Feedburner at the top of the sidebar.
I hope you’re almost done with this month’s book “The Year of Living Biblically” by A.J. Jacobs. Our meeting is tomorrow night (Thursday) at 7pm at Paradise Bakery at Hamilton Town Center.
I’m including just a few questions as the book provides plenty of fodder for discussion without my help 🙂
1. How did the book end in comparison with your expectations?
2. Did any part of Jacobs’ journey give you pause, or reflection about the way you are currently living, reading the Bible, or your beliefs?
3. Do you feel like Jacobs’ approach to the Bible would be similar to other non-believers or religious people?
4. If you were to pick up the holy text for another religion, how would you go about reading and interpreting it?
5. Which was your favorite strange command that Jacobs practiced or tried out?
6. Would you recommend this book?
(If you can’t make it, but you read the book, pick a question and answer it in the comments! We can join in the discussion on the interwebs. :D)
The author of this month’s book, The Year of Living Biblically, isn’t afraid to undertake a crazy experiment or project for the sake of a story, and after reading the titles of some of his other works, it’s no wonder that some call this genre of writing “stunt journalism” or “stunt books.” In addition to his quest to follow the Bible as literally as possible for an entire year, Jacobs read all 32 volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica over the course of a year (That project is chronicled in The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World). He also became a “human guinea pig,” undertaking a series of lifestyle experiments on a quest to improve every area of his life, which he writes about in My Life as an Experiment: One Man’s Humble Quest to Improve Himself. His current project is attempting to “perfect his physical condition” for his next book, called The Healthiest Human Being in the World.”
Jacobs was born and currently lives in New York with his wife and three sons (The birth of his twin boys occurred during his year of living Biblically). He is the editor at large for Esquire magazine and three of his books are New York Times bestsellers. He has also written for numerous magazines and is a periodic commentator on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday. You can read Jacobs’ full bio (written by him, but in the third person) on his website.
And if you feel bad for his wife, who has to live with him during all of his crazy stunts (I know I do!), it sounds like she got the opportunity for some revenge as he describes the last chapter of My Life as an Experiment. Here’s the quote from his website:
Whipped (a.k.a. the perfect spouse):
At the suggestion of readers who point out that my wife is a saint, I vowed to spend a month agreeing to her every command. Sure, it was a month of Kate Hudson movies and foot massages —but also of stereotype-shattering insights into the politics of the modern American marriage. Plus, at one point, I had wear a male chastity belt. (It comes in three varieties—clear plastic, wood-paneled and camouflage!) And Julie gets to write the final section.
Go Julie! And if this book is inspiring you to take your own crack at some stunt journalism, I encourage you to learn form A.J. Jacobs and put yourself in the shoes of everyone around you who has to put up with your antics. You never know when they might get their chance for some payback!
There is still time to read The Year of Living Biblically before our next meeting on January 20 at 7 p.m. at the Paradise Bakery and Café at Hamilton Town Center. Hope to see you there!
This is a book you gotta read.
It’s interesting. Humorous. Educational. Thought provoking.
Pretty much a page turner type book.
The Year of Living Biblically is A.J. Jacobs’ attempt to follow every commandment of the Bible. He’s not attempting this feat to be legalistic, but to see what it truly would be like to follow something so strictly.
It is great to see his thoughts evolve . . . from never having read the Bible in its entirety or seriously, to seeking to interpret it literally.
A favorite quote thus far:
Regarding Leviticus 19:16,
I feel I have to clam up. It’s the best way to battle the overwhelming urge to spew biblically banned negative language . . . . My theory is this, my thoughts are lazy. They say to themselves, “Well, we’ll never make it out into the world, so why even bother?”
Much to the dismay of his wife and son . . . this year will affect them too. Their son begins to receive the rod, his wife has to live with a very harry man who has eating restrictions, sitting restrictions (which a funny story), is bluntly honest (almost to a fault), and a few bedroom restrictions . . .
Don’t miss this book!