Books about the Good Book?

Mar 18, 2009 by

One of the podcasts that’s constantly in my playlist is Slate’s Political Gabfest (I don’t know why I like listening to discussions on the American political landscape.  Maybe because I like getting confused, or that I’m in love with the notion that there are places in the world where we can discuss openly, publicly and intelligently on national politics without the repercussions of being arrested, or maybe I just like intelligent discussions, or maybe I’m just like pretending to be smart.)

So anyway, in one of the shows, one of the panelists, David Plotz, mentioned (repeatedly) that he had written an interesting book called Good Book: The Bizarre, Hilarious, Disturbing, Marvelous, and Inspiring Things I Learned When I Read Every Single Word of the Bible, which is, well, self-explanatory.

He writes:

Everyone should read it—all of it! In fact, the less you believe, the more you should read. Let me explain why, in part by telling how reading the whole Bible has changed me.

Check out his article on Slate on the book, where it is mentioned that Good Book is a culmination of a series of blog posts he did while reading the Bible from cover to cover.

Plotz’s book isn’t the only one about the Bible in recent memory (well, as recent as 2 years ago, anyway).  A. J. Jacobs did The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible.  Amazon says:

Make no mistake: A.J. Jacobs is not a religious man. He describes himself as Jewish “in the same way the Olive Garden is an Italian restaurant.” Yet his latest work, The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible, is an insightful and hilarious journey for readers of all faiths. Though no fatted calves were harmed in the making of this book, Jacobs chronicles 12 months living a remarkably strict Biblical life full of charity, chastity, and facial hair as impressive as anything found in The Lord of the Rings. Through it all, he manages to brilliantly keep things light, while avoiding the sinful eye of judgment.

Jacobs is the author of The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World, which chronicles his reading of the entire Encyclopedia Britannica, from A to Z.  I’ve read The Know-It-All, and can confirm that it’s a hilarious laugh-a-minute romp through the fabled encyclopedia, told with a keen wit.

Check them out.

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Twilight author stops work on sequel when draft leaked on the Internet

Dec 24, 2008 by

Almost nobody can escape the apparent mania surrounding Twilight, Stephenie Meyer’s vampire love story, given that the movie is generating plenty of silver screen buzz at the moment.

Shortly before the movie came out, the draft of her latest novel in her Twilight Saga, Midnight Sun, found its way to the Internet, and has been spread all across the popular social networking sites.

So upset at this revelation that Meyer has decided to shelf Midnight Sun indefinitely.  She also decided to make available the leaked draft at her own site.  You can read her reaction to the leak at her official website (her site is not a blog, so you’ll have to scroll until the August 28 2008 entry to read her take on the leak).

I can’t imagine what her fans might feel about this.  Imagine if Rowling decided not to publish The Deathly Hallows if her work was leaked.

So this story brings about a couple of questions for me:

Would you read leaked drafts – not even complete works! – of your favourite books, knowing full well that it’s probably not final and that things may change?  If you’re an author, would you react (or, as the case may be, retract) in the same way as Meyer?  What does this say about the writing process at this day and age, since it’s now so easy to proliferate digital content?  Was this preventable?

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