Jason Boyett is hilarious. If you met him in person, you'd never know it; he's quiet and unassuming, which I assume is rare for a Texan. But his pen packs a punch. I first met Jason over email as he was one of the original writers who contributed to RELEVANT magazine. When I worked there, RELEVANT launched a line of books, and we knew we needed Jason on our roster. Thankfully, he took us up on our offer and has been writing books ever since.
His newest endeavor is a trinity of titles packaged by Jossey-Bass: Pocket Guide to the Bible, Pocket Guide to the Afterlife and Pocket Guide to Sainthood. If you're a fan of religious humor at all, you'll appreciate Jason's witty insights into a variety of topics like near-death experiences, saintly fashion and old-fashioned smitings.
In Pocket Guide to the Afterlife, Jason tackles historical and contemporary beliefs about what happens after we die. Like each of the pocket guides, the book is structured in bite-sized chapters that make reading fun. Instead of straight narrative, we read through glossaries, timelines, geographical tours and fun lists like "Eleven Highly Attractive Synonyms for Heaven" or "Twelve Activities That May Be Signs of an Impending Death Should They Occur in Your Dreams, According to the Tibetan Book of the Dead."
In Pocket Guide to the Bible, we meet a holy cast of characters, get a history of scripture's events at breakneck speed and learn about smitings and translations of the Bible (otherwise known as perversions). Fun facts are sprinkled throughout including random biblical phrases taken out of context: "Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces" (Mal. 2:3, KJV).
Pocket Guide to Sainthood introduces those of us who are less familiar with Catholicism to the myriad and many saints in that tradition. It includes a glossary of terms, an alphabetized list of saints and who they were and a run-down of patron saints and their causes. Learn how a saint is canonized (it's as painful as it sounds) and catalog trivial information through lists like "Six Superhero-Like Abilities Claimed by Saints but Not Related to Levitation."
With pop culture references a-plenty, Jason marries today's worldview to yesterday's tradition to create a match made in heaven.