Kat's Reviews > The Year of Living Biblically

The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs
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's review
Nov 27, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction-biography-and-memoir
Read in November, 2009

(A complete aside: "On the admittedly random day of July 7, 2005, I begin my preparations."

It was weird for me to read this phrase because it wasn't followed by any reference to the 7th July bombings in London. This isn't, I'd like to stress, a criticism, it was just very peculiar to me - like if I was to read something along the lines of, "On September 11th, 2001, I began Thai cooking lessons." Or even, "On 1st September, 1939, I decided to take up golf." It's not that nothing else in the world happens on the day huge events happened, you just forget that anyone could have been thinking of anything else.)

Moving away from my irrelevant tangent, this was an engrossing and fascinating memoir of Jacobs' attempt to live for a year, trying to follow the Bible as literally as possible. It seemed that, as important as it was for him to try and connect to a more spiritual life, following the Old Testament at least, also had import because it allowed him to connect to his Jewish roots.

Being a Christian - albeit a liberal/secular/modernist/whatever label you want to apply - one, his journey had its own resonance for me. I was once again made aware that given the vast number of people who have read and commented on the Bible, all from very different times and places, it's inevitable that there are so many interpretations. Not only can no-one actually follow the Bible literally but often enough, no-one can know what the literal meaning is. To me, if God intended for the Bible and His message to be for everyone, it only makes sense that people would take their own personal meaning from it.

And from my wishy-washy, liberal perspective, I am wishing the fundamentalists would have that same insight and do a little plank-removing.

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11/22/2009 page 54

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