- Fizzy Thoughts: The Year of Living Biblically

The Year of Living Biblically

Monday, January 26, 2009


The Year of Living Biblically
A.J. Jacobs
2007
audio book
6 hrs, 15 minutes

This was my very first experience with audio books, and I must say, it went a lot better than I expected. (My second experience isn’t going so well, but that’s another story for another time.) This wasn’t a book I had ever planned on reading, but my local library sucks, and the selection of non-fiction audio books was…well, let’s just say it was lame and move on.

I decided to start with a non-fiction audio book for reasons that escape me at the moment, but that I’m sure made a lot of sense (to me) at the time. Something about no dialogue, and maybe being easier to follow. And it was. Easy to follow. I didn’t find myself spacing out like I expected…unless I’m reading I have the attention span of a gnat, or whatever that something is with a very short attention span.

The Year of Living Biblically is just what the title says. The author decides to devote one year to following as many of the Bible’s commandments as he can squeeze in. And we’re not just talking about the Big 10. Prior to his biblical year, Mr. Jacobs read through the Bible and copied down every commandment that was mentioned. Things like Don’t Wear Mixed Fibers, Don’t Shave, Blow a Horn at the Beginning of Every Month, Give Thanks, Stone Adulterers, Write Biblical Things on Your Door Frame, and Wear Tassels. Obviously, I’m simplifying a bit (because the only time I’ve ever read the Bible was for a Bible as Literature class in college), but you get the idea.

I’m not going to go into details, because the book is pretty much what it says it is. I’m glad I didn’t actually read it, because it’s not really my type of thing, but it was entertaining to listen to. The author is the narrator, and he did a good job. He also did a good job of sounding like a total dweeb. The thing that sticks most in my mind about this book is that I would hate to be married to the author. It had to have been a total pain in the ass to live with this guy for the year! Also, this is the same guy that wrote The Know-It-All, about his experience reading the Encyclopedia Britannica from A to Z. I know that because he mentioned it constantly…so constantly that I now refuse to read it.

I've decided that audio books are a great entertainment for the drive to and from work. Just think of the thousands of hours of books I've missed over the years! Okay, that's depressing, so let's not. But I have about 50 minutes a day, 4 days a week to devote to listening to audio books, and I'm thinking non-fiction is the way to go. That is, if my library system can get it's shit together and stock some decent titles. (Care and Eva...they don't even have Possession! I was crushed!!)

So, suggestions?

12 comment(s):

Charley said...

Glad you enjoyed this one. I wasn't really expecting to, but I liked it, too. I listen to both non-fiction and fiction on audiobook, but I prefer non-fiction or short essays (like David Sedaris), because I tend to darydream when listening to novels.

Eva said...

lol-I had the same thought re: I'd hate to be married to him as well. :) I'm sorry your library doesn't have decent titles! Do they have an online branch? Maybe you can download them and burn them to a CD.

heatherlo said...

I "read" Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited as an audio book, and it worked really well. I definitely recommend it for car rides.

bkclubcare said...

I have no sugs! I still haven't gotten over my embarrassment to go check for a CD version of Possession yet. Heck, I'll probably end up buying it instead. then I'll ship it to you! :)

chartroose said...

Your library doesn't have to have "Possession," because we all know that librarians are already possessed!

I was thinking while reading your list of commandments that strippers/lap dancers must be very biblical people. They don't wear much of anything, so mixed fibers are covered (or uncovered), they DO shave, but some of them still leave a little beard, many of them surely blow something at the beginning (and during other times) of the month, many of them get stoned and they also hang out with adulterers, they do "biblical" things to men's frames, and they wear tassels, especially "old testament" strippers. Now that I think about it, strippers are practically saints! I think we should all aspire to be strippers.

I suggest you listen to an audiobook about strippers next. You need to find the light, girl!

jessi said...

I had the opposite reaction to Jacobs' constant allusions to his first book: I went out and bought it. It's still sitting on my TBR pile, though.

Check LibriVox for some free audiobooks. There are also a ton of audiobook podcasts, if you use iTunes.

grayskyeyes said...

I liked reading this book, I thought A.J. Jacobs was quite a funny narrator -- but I agree, he would be frustrating to be married to!

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness)

Pam said...

My latest listen to was Outliers and I loved it. I'm also listening to nonfiction and reading fiction, that way I don't confuse plots and characters!

Joanne said...

Umm yeah I had a suggestion but then Chartroose started in about holy strippers and I laughed so hard I snorted!! I got so embarrassed about snorting that I completely forgot what I was gonna say.

However, let's tie the non-fic and lap-dancing together - I have suggestions for this. My library has these as overdrive titles, so they are on audio:

Candy Girl - I reviewed this last summer, really fun memoir of an average girl who decides to strip just cuz. It's actually by the writer of the movie Juno.

Brothel: The Mustang Ranch and Its Women - this is a serious look at prostitution at the famous Nevada brothel. It's really interesting because it gives many different perspectives.

Jenna Jamesons How To Make Love Like A Pornstar - if I had a daughter I would force her to read this, if only to make her see that the adult industry is not the glamorous good-life the media makes it out to be.

Dawn - She is Too Fond of Books said...

I'm listening to *Outliers* on audio while running these days. I'm on about day 8, so I'm not running enough!

Even though the author was obnoxiously repetitive, you didn't scare me away from this ... I think it fits the audiobook format well, with the bonus of being read by the author.

I'll look for those reviews of the stripper books :)

softdrink said...

Charley - Sedaris is a good suggestion...thanks!

Eva - Ummm, the online catalogue kinda sucks, too.

Heather - That's one I'd normally never even consider...I might have to go google it.

Care - Well, what are you waiting for... ;-)

chartroose - I have no words.

Pam - that's an excellent point about keeping the two separate. I like that idea!

Jessi - thanks for the links!

Kim - I liked his dry sense of humor, and that he poked fun of himself. Still don't think I could live with the dude, though.

Joanne - god forbid we ever get you and chartroose in a room together! I can't even imagine the conversation that would ensue.

Dawn - I think it's worth listening to. And I'm impressed that your a runner! And yeah, I'll get right on those reviews.

Dreamybee said...

My husband and I listened to The General's Daughter years ago on a cross-country trek, and it was pretty engrossing. (The movie version, BTW, was terrible!) I've also listened to Middlesex and some Bill Bryson, all with good results.

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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