The ProsenPeople

MJL Interviews A.J. Jacobs

Friday, October 23, 2009 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

Matthue Roth of MyJewishLearning interviews A.J. Jacobs on his newest book The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment:

A.J. Jacobs is a bit of a gonzo journalist and a little bit of an undercover secret agent — but, most of all, he is a living, walking experiment. In his first book, The Know-It-All, he read the entire Encyclopædia Britannica from beginning to end. In his follow-up, The Year of Living Biblically, he attempted to follow the Bible as literally as possible — expunging all polyfibrous garments from his wardrobe, not shaving for a year, living inside a tent in his living room for a week (his wife, an enduring spectator and the eternally good-natured Teller to his Penn, was invited to join him inside but chose to sleep in their bedroom instead) and even stoning sinners in Central Park. Read On

Are We Born to Wander?

Wednesday, October 07, 2009 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

Last night the Jewish Book Council attended a wonderful event, thrown by Reboot, called People of the Book: Are We Born to Wander?

The event featured a conversation between A.J. Jacobs, Mark Lamster, Charles London, and David Sax. The event was moderated by the editor-in-chief of Tablet Magazine, Alana Newhouse.

Jacobs, Master, London, and Sax discussed whether or not the Jewish people are innately drawn to wander because they are Jewish and what it is about wandering that feels so Jewish.

Mark Lamster, A.J. Jacobs, Alana Newhouse, David Sax, and Charles London

London discussed his work, and the experience of wandering the world in search of pockets of Jewish communities. Sax discussed the experience of wandering the U.S. in search of Jewish delis. Jacobs discussed the wandering of his mind from one experiment to the next, and the obsessiveness in his projects being a Jewish quality. Lamster questioned why he, as a Jewish man, felt the need to wander into the lives of 17th century Christian men.

To learn more about the wandering of these four authors, be sure to check out each of their books:

A.J. Jacobs: The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment

Mark Lamster: Master of Shadows: The Secret Diplomatic Career of the Painter Peter Paul Rubens

Charles London: Far from Zion: In Search of a Global Jewish Community

David Sax: Save the Deli: In Search of Perfect Pastrami, Crusty Rye, and the Heart of Jewish Delicatessen

Alana Newhouse: A Living Lens: Photographs of Jewish Life from the Pages of the Forward

First There was A.J., and Then There Was

Thursday, November 06, 2008 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

For all of you followers of A.J. Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically) and Benyamin Cohen (My Jesus Year), here’s another one for your shelves…Good Book: The Bizarre, Hilarious, Disturbing, Marvelous, and Inspiring Things I Learned When I Read Every Single Word of the Bible (David Plotz) coming out in March from Harper Collins. Plotz, the editor of Slate, who classifies himself as “proud but not very observant Jew . . . with a healthy familiarity with the Bible and its core ideology, main prayer, and moral dictates,” began his journey on the pages of Slate, where he emabarked on a year-long project “Blogging the Bible." Good Book=the full length investigation of this initial venture into the waters of the Bible. Through his investigation Plotz finds himself considering some of life’s most important questions: How many commandments do we actually need? Does God prefer obedience to good deeds? Why are so many women in the Bible prostitutes? Why does God love bald men so much? And…of course… To believe or not to believe….that is the question.