The Year of Living Biblically, A.J. Jacobs

Recommended by: A Life in Books

So basically I finished this book late last night and I was dead tired; but I still managed to have many thoughts about it after I had dropped it onto my flip chair and turned off the light, and they all sort of centered around the thought that this man could use some serious cognitive behavioral therapy.  He might really enjoy cognitive behavioral therapy, I was thinking, because of its structured, project-like nature, and furthermore it would make him less crazy (and I use that word in its nicest sense).  I was composing a letter to him in my mind, but then I guess I fell asleep because the next thing I remember was thinking, How lucky are we?  What a fortunate congregation!  Kristin Chenoweth gives such good homilies, and all of them sung in her beautiful voice!

Seriously, though, Mr. Jacobs sounds mad neurotic, and this is from a girl of much anxiety and obsessiveness.  But I’m not in his league, dude.  Whoa.

Now that that’s out of my system, I will say that I enjoyed this book.  It was entertaining, and it was amusing, and I think it’s an interesting kind of project to undertake.  And I know comparisons are odious but! too bad! his other book, to avoid reading my mum’s birthday gift copy of which I checked this one out of the library, was funnier – but maybe I am just prejudiced in its favor because I liked the encyclopedia project idea a lot better.

This project wasn’t as structured to begin with, and the result is that the writing is less tight, and the structure he uses for the book doesn’t really work.  It’s organized chronologically, and it prevents everything from being orderly, even a teeny bit orderly.  It’s just messy.  Messy.  I don’t like a mess.  I think he would have done better organizing it in chapters by commandment clusters, rather than by time.

As I say, I enjoyed the book, but I wouldn’t buy it and I doubt I’ll read it again.  The Know-It-All, those bits of it I read at the bookshop, seemed like more of a keeper.  When my mum finishes it and I can borrow her copy, I will let you know if I am correct. (I think I will be.) (I usually am.)