I am, as you know, a fan of reading. Reading in general, reading specifically, reading closely, reading over people’s shoulders, reading on trains and buses, reading in bed and even reading on the toilet or in the bath. It’s all good.
At the moment, I’m reading The Year of Living Biblically by a man I’d quite like to marry if he weren’t already married: A J Jacobs.
First off, he seems to have written several books I wish I’d written. The first of these was called The Know-it-All and it’s about how he read the Encyclopedia Britannica. Not entirely, and not in one sitting, but he’s a man with a trivial mind, obviously. I’d like to have read the Encyclopedia Britannica and my head is always full of inane and pointless facts. The more I read and write, the more full of stuff my head is. Like did you know that stock brokers were such a rowdy bunch in London that they were kicked out of the Royal Exchange and had to hang about in coffee shops around the City?
I’m just reading A Year of Living Biblically which is about his attempt to live his life according to the Bible. Literally. He comes at it from an approach much as I do: the Bible is an interesting thing. He’s not quite as learned as I am about it, but that’s to be expected. Most of it is fairly insightful and amusing, but the bit about stoning is the bit I like the most. Trying to stone sinners in New York – you could quite easily get arrested.
Anyway, if you feel a little sacrilegious and would like an interesting read, this is definitely it. I’m currently working through this having just finished A Year in the Merde which is about a man living in Paris. At first, I thought it was autobiographical (despite the fact he’d given himself a different name, but then who am I to judge about that?!) and I was quite angry because the book was fairly racist and sexist. I wanted to go to his Amazon page and say how offensive I found it (in a Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells kind of way, having read it all the way through) and I’m glad I didn’t. The penny dropped half way through and I felt a little better to know it was fictional and such a racist, sexist English pig had not written a book. I was going to say ‘did not exist’, but I think I have to accept the fact I’d be facing an endless battle if I tried to go around admonishing racists and sexists. It was a quick and easy read – not literary genius, but funny enough for a French resident, especially concerning the Correze countryside and the Ile de Ré in the follow-up.
Anyway, if your reading list is thin (and mine never is…) then The Year of Living Biblically is highly amusing and entertaining. Not quite so much as Peter Moore’s travel writing, but enjoyable nonetheless. Peter Moore makes me howl hysterically on trains. I feel the need for a little lightly autobiographical list, so here it is:
- Peter Moore: The Wrong Way Home
- Peter Moore: Vroom by the Sea
- Peter Moore: Swahili for the Broken-Hearted
- Peter Moore: No shitting in the toilet
- Peter Moore: The Full Montezuma
- Annie Hawes: Extra Virgin
- Annie Hawes: Ripe for the Picking
- Annie Hawes: Journey South
- Annie Hawes: Handful of Honey