J. Wilson, the man who survived on beer for 46 days, has lived to tell the tale — in book format, naturally.
When we spoke with Wilson back in April (Part 1, Part 2), he was in the midst of his Lenten fast, subsisting on nothing but water and rich, malty doppelbock, a style of beer developed by the monks of Neudeck ob der Au. The story is strange enough. It gets stranger when you know that Wilson isn't even a Catholic. Then again, this wasn't a quest undertaken for the gluttonous shock value (30 Burgers… cough, cough) but an act of intellectual curiosity, a test of willpower and a spiritual exercise.
An avid home-brewer and self-described “semi-professional beer drinker,” Wilson, who edits a small weekly newspaper in Iowa, chronicled his day-by-day experiences on his blog, Diary of a Part-Time Monk. The final result, a book of the same title, came out earlier this month ($14.95).
The book goes beyond the original blog posts, delving into monastic history, doppelbock's legendary origins and Wilson's personal quest to live as a monk in the modern world — if not literally then in a way that maintains a deeper connection to the divine. Or, as he said on Day 1 in his online journal:
I'm not sure which is better during this time: to be busy to keep my mind off bacon, or to be under-scheduled so I can really take time for contemplation but risk a mind that wanders toward pulled pork? Somewhere in the middle is the proper domain for a part-time monk, and I'll find it.