Shelf Life: The Year of Living Biblically

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Jennifer Draper
Stratford Public Library

Newspaper columnist and best-selling author A.J. Jacobs undertakes a yearlong social experiment. He asks himself whether he can obey all the rules in the Christian Bible and wonders how that would impact his life?

His observations on his quest to adhere to biblical laws are both funny and thought-provoking. His family’s reaction is even better, and while they aim to support him, their exasperation shows through his first-person account.

This book is hands-down hilarious, as well as shining a light on how religion and life intersect, and he respectfully explores how the “old” ways could be adapted to modern life, although not easily. For example, he throws stones at a man in Central Park, intending to reproduce a stoning, but after consulting with religious advisers, he discovers that in biblical times, stoning actually meant pushing the victim off a cliff. Not wanting to commit murder, he stops. A highly entertaining read from a prolific author.

Shelf Life is a column provided by the librarians of the Stratford Public Library. Find this title – and thousands of others– at the Stratford Public Library or by visiting