Last night Esquire scribe and gimmick book writer AJ Jacobs celebrated the publication of his latest, The Year of Biblical Living, a memoir about the healing process after his husband died. Oh wait. That's the other Year of Adjective Present Participle book. This one traces Jacobs' efforts to live his life according to the strictures of the Old Testament. Sounds hard, right? According to Jacobs, it was! The book party was heavily attended by Esquire editors and was at an Upper East Side bar called Genesis. Get it? And we didn't have to blow anyone to get tickets.
"Yeah," he said, "that piece made me kind of a persona non grata in my own neighborhood." Well. "Telling truth to power," we told him, "has consequences."
In the bar itself, a place not as good as its name, a number of flatscreen TVs were playing footage of Jacobs roaming around in a robe and with a massive beard. Truth be told, he looked pretty awesome. He could have easily been in Grizzly Bear or Beirut or Greenpoint. "This is too much," Jacobs said. "It borders on idolatry." But his biblical experiment had ended a year ago and Jacobs was clean shaven. "My wife hated the beard," he said, "but, in general, it wasn't so bad."
Was his book more or less maritally taxing than fellow stunt booker Colin Beavan's No Impact Man? "Less, I think. Of course, there were conflicts between a Biblical wife and a secular wife." Who won out? "Who do you think?" he said. (Um, we think her?) Someone brought over a tray of lamb kebabs.
We fell into conversation with a Jewy looking guy (we were looking for them amongst the sea of white men). "Sup dude?" we asked. "Do you follow the Bible?"
"Well," he said, "I follow many tenets which aren't in the Bible." It turned out this man was John Podhoretz, ben-Norman and a New York Post columnist. We wondered if he was talking about George Tenet, but he said, "You know, like keeping kosher which is in the שולחן ערוך but not necessarily in the Torah." Someone brought over a tray of bruschetta but John didn't take any. "I'm actually looking for some adulterers to stone right now," he said.
Huffpo's Rachel Sklar was there chatting with Daniel Radosh and Galleycat's Ron Hogan. They were chatting with Ryan D'Agostino the Esquire writer. We asked him to name the Ten Commandments. "Do not kill, do not covet they neighbors wife..." he said. Yeah. "But I can name the Supreme Court justices. He named eight before blanking on Alito. Sklar brought over a tray of dates and apples.
We searched for the chrome dome of David Granger, Esquire's editor in chief, but to no avail. He had been there, Jacobs said, but "there's another Esquire party on Central Park North. I think he headed up there." Jacobs headed to the bar, reminding us, "It's okay to drink in moderation, just not in excess. Remember the story of Noah and the Curse of Ham. You don't want your son to see you naked." Well, unless you're some sort of daddyblogger, in which case, it's just fodder for another blog post. But the Good Book will keep the rest of us from doing that.