The Year of Reading Dangerously

  • by Andy Miller
  • Narrated by Andy Miller
  • 9 hrs and 1 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

An editor and writer's vivaciously entertaining, and often moving, memoir — a true story that reminds us why we should all make time in our lives for books.
Nearing his fortieth birthday, author and critic Andy Miller realized he's not nearly as well read as he'd like to be. A devout book lover who somehow fell out of the habit of reading, he began to ponder the power of books to change an individual life—including his own—and to define the sort of person he would like to be. Beginning with a copy of Bulgakov's Master and Margarita that he happens to find one day in a bookstore, he embarks on a literary odyssey of mindful reading and wry introspection. From Middlemarch to Anna Karenina to A Confederacy of Dunces, these are books Miller felt he should read; books he'd always wanted to read; books he'd previously started but hadn't finished; and books he'd lied about having read to impress people.
Combining memoir and literary criticism, The Year of Reading Dangerously is Miller's heartfelt, humorous, and honest examination of what it means to be a reader. Passionately believing that books deserve to be read, enjoyed, and debated in the real world, Miller documents his reading experiences and how they resonated in his daily life and ultimately his very sense of self. The result is a witty and insightful journey of discovery and soul-searching that celebrates the abiding miracle of the book and the power of reading.

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What the Critics Say

"Andy Miller writes so well he could make shopping at Sainsbury’s sound amusing." (The Independent)
"An eye for comic detail worthy of the young Evelyn Waugh." (The Observer)
"Fresh, joyfully uncynical and, above all, very funny." (Time Out)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Not a great book, but a good one

The book takes the form of a sort of diary-blog-journal of a year in the life of a middle-aged Englishman from Middle-England. He parodies his own suburban middleness with a lot of wit and engaging humour, poking fun at his rat-trap, 9 to 5, 1.8-children lifestyle and the fact that he no longer has time to pursue his passion, reading books (although he is an editor at a London Publishing Company and had written 2 books before this one, so it isn’t as if he is totally disengaged from literature).

In order to remedy this situation (and also to provide the premise for writing this book), he decides to read 50 books that he has either always wanted to read, or feels that he ought to have read. They are all works of fiction. Some of the books are difficult to read, such as Middlemarch, Moby Dick and Of Human Bondage. Others are more popular and accessible, such as The Da Vinci Code, Pride and Prejudice and Absolute Beginners.

The book is definitely interesting from start to finish, and he certainly gives tips about what not to read and a few ideas about books that are worth a try (although, as he is a somewhat eccentric character, I do have some doubts about whether I would enjoy his favourite picks as much as he does). At times, he drifts off on a bit of a tangent and you want him to get back on course, and also, he doesn’t review a significant number (half perhaps?) of the books, he just tells you that he read them.

Despite these shortcomings, it's a good entertaining, worthwhile read, excellently narrated by the author himself. Unfortunately, his absolute-number-one-must-read pick of all the books is Atomised (aka The Elementary Particles) by Michel Houellebecq, which I sadly could not find on an Audible search - and so maybe I will have to find and read an old-fashioned 'dead-tree' version of this book.
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- Mark

Fun, intelligent and long-winded

A very honest memoir of a reader gone astray rediscovering books. There were several laugh-out-loud moments. The struggle is very nerdy, very real.

Andy Miller is very fond of going on tangents, even including a long letter that he never intended to send to an author that felt more like a page-filler than actual content. I was never quite sure when his train of thought would end. He never did explain how books saved his life. He had a goal of reading two bad books, and only got around to reading one of them. As far as I can tell, Chekhov's gun is still sitting on the mantel.
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- Mon Dobrin

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-09-2014
  • Publisher: Audible Studios