The year of saying no
- IPL spot-fixing case: Actor Vindoo Dara Singh arrested
- IPL 2013: Final No.5 for MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings
- Pune Warriors withdraw from IPL, 'disgusted' by BCCI's attitude
- IPL spot fixing: Accused Sreesanth claims innocence
- Li Keqiang visits TCS, Cyrus P Mistry says China important for growth of Tata Group
There are lots of rules in the Bible. A.J. Jacobs decided to abide by them all. He followed the Ten Commandments. He strove to refrain from gossiping, lying and coveting. He stopped shaving and avoided wearing clothes made of mixed fibres. Did he choose this arduous path to be closer to God? No, he did it to sell a book. Because, if the publishing industry is right, deprivation is hip.
The Year of Living Biblically, Jacobs's forthcoming chronicle of his yearlong quest to follow every mandate in the Bible, is just one of a recent flurry of "year of" books. Sara Bongiorni gave up buying Chinese products for A Year Without 'Made in China'. Judith Levine gave up shopping altogether for Not Buying It. Barbara Kingsolver fed her family with what they could grow or source locally for Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Ellen Currey-Wilson banned TV from the house for The Big Turnoff.
These experiments in doing without often result in paydays for the authors: The Year of Living Biblically is being made into a film by Paramount, and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle has been a New York Times best seller. So why is this a year of year-of books? One answer is that the more ethically motivated projects, like Kingsolver's and Beavan's, tap into growing concern about protecting the environment. Reading about their sacrifices makes us feel vicariously virtuous — we may not have the discipline to live without olive oil and spices, but at least we know we should. More-esoteric projects, like Jacobs's, provide a sheer rubbernecking thrill while supplying easily digested information on a subject of common interest.
But the real appeal for readers may be in the way the writers, by saying no to so much of modern life, impose strict parameters on the abundance of choice facing the rest of us. By limiting their options, confining their experiments to a year, these writers organise the messiness of life.
- 'Sophisticated' Indian cyberattacks targeted Pak military sites: Report
- Talkative Li quoted Weber, Hegel, Jobs, said PM is large-hearted
- Bihar food corp ends up with chaff as rice worth Rs 535 cr vanishes from mills
- In 7 lucrative minutes on May 9, Sreesanth bowled 6 balls, bookie made Rs 2.5 cr
- India and China ask border envoys to work on more steps
- Former Ranji player among 3 more held