Book Review: The Year of Living Biblically

I just finished this book on Sunday. Here is my review, it’s also posted under my Book Review page. You should definitely check this one out!

By: A.J. Jacobs

I first saw this book sitting at my friend’s apartment. She hadn’t read it yet, but it came to her highly recommended. I was interested. My interest grew when I went to Borders and couldn’t find the book in the normal literature section I frequent. I had to seek out some help. I hesitantly said the name of the book to one of the Borders employees and the guy immediately said “Ahh yes, Jacobs. He’s in the Humor section.”

I visited the new section the employee led me to and selected a book from the ones on the display table. Already this book seemed a little different.

And the differences didn’t stop there. This book was laugh-out-loud-funny from start to finish! I’m not sure what exactly I was expecting when I picked it up, but it turned out to be a fun and unique journey told by a self-depreciating and amusing narrator.

A.J. Jacob’s first book “The Know-It-All” was the memoir of his journey of reading the Encyclopedia from A to Z. Likewise, “The Year of Living Biblically” is his journey of reading and trying to live by all the rules outlined in the Bible. Sure, it’s a strange sort of journey and one that doesn’t sound particularly fun or exciting, but Jacobs’ narration makes it enthralling.

In short, this guy is hysterical! I want him to be my friend or family member because, surely, everyone in his life is immensely entertained by him day-in and day-out. His outlook and approach to life is totally refreshing and unique. And his candid self evaluations are priceless. Not mention that I actually learned quite a few things about the Bible.

But don’t get me wrong, you don’t want to read this book for any kind of biblically explanation or earnest insight. If you’re looking for that, you might be a little put-off or offended by some of Jacobs’ commentary. I for one was not, but just a word of warning.

I do recommend this book to anyone looking for a break from the routine novel norm, seeking amusement and character, and who isn’t afraid to laugh out loud on public transit. Or have bystanders constantly glancing quizzically at your book cover – yeah I got that a lot. It’s funny, it’s perceptive, it’s distinctive and certainly unforgettable. So I say – give it a shot!


11 responses to “Book Review: The Year of Living Biblically

  1. I LOVED his first book. This one wore me out.

  2. I am putting this one on my list to read!

  3. sounds fuuny…maybe I could borrow it from you sometime. Let me know if you already have a waiting list.

    • My mom might be the first on the list, but I’m not sure how excited she was to read it. I’ll be bringing it up this weekend regardless, so it can go to either her first and then you, or straight to you.

  4. I’ll have to look this one up… who doesn’t like a funny book??? Have you ever read any David Sedaris books? Sounds like it’s up the same alley.

    • Yes, I read “Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim” and really liked it. I think you would find this book funny – especially the way Jacobs narrates.

  5. I got to lead the discussion of this book in my book club and I think all of us thought there was a lot of earnest insight in this book. As funny (and sometimes silly) as Jacobs was, he seemed to be profoundly moved by his experience. But yeah, heavy hitting critical analysis it is not.

    • Yes, I definitely agree that he does share a lot of good insight. I saw a lot of it as insight into humanity, rather than focused on the Bible. It felt like he took the rules of the Bible and used them as a tool for creating a discussion about religious perceptions and beliefs in general.

  6. I have heard of this book and thought it would be interesting to read. The only thing I was uncertain about was if it was meant as a satire to “make fun” of the Bible. Or is it something that uplifts the Bible and it’s teachings by putting it in a fun, relatable manner? I’m not saying I would look for it to be a serious book teaching about the Bible, but I know I wouldn’t want to read it if it was taking jabs at what the Bible is about either. Does that make sense? Can you let me know more about it? Thanks!

  7. It was… interesting to read Washingtoienne on public transit… the cover is just… boobs in a pink bra… and it doesnt help that its hilariously funny too… oh i love toying with the nosey subway riders… will have to read this book on that principal alone.

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