Go Forth and Publish

When A.J. Jacobs released his 2004 book The Know-It-All, detailing his effort to read all 44 million words of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, we weren’t surprised: We’re always on the lookout for our own gimmicky idea to turn into a book proposal. Besides, everyone should read the Britannica, or some of it — a page of it, at least. But then Jacobs released The Year of Living Biblically, and we had to bow our heads: The man had digested the Bible and attempted to live by all the dos and don’ts, adhering to not only the biggies (“Thou shalt not kill”), but also the crazies, like “Do not become a shrine prostitute” (Deuteronomy 23:17) and "Let your garments be always white” (Leviticus 19:19). Throughout the year, Jacobs grew a beard (Leviticus 19:27), explored his family’s odd religious history, and dived into many religious cultures, including the Amish and snake handlers. He also did not marry his wife’s sister (Leviticus 18:18) nor cut off the hand of the woman who grabbed his private parts during a fight with her husband (Deuteronomy 25:11-12). He did, however, tithe, keep the Sabbath, and stone an adulterer — with a single, well-aimed pebble. Jacobs’ lecture, “My Life as an Experiment: A Year of Living Biblically and More,” covers his accomplishments as well as his most recent activities — posing nude, wearing a chastity belt, outsourcing his life to India, and being “radically honest” for a month — all of which are included in his new book of “lifestyle experiments,” The Guinea Pig Diaries.
Wed., Sept. 16, 6:30 p.m., 2009

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