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.


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

Dumb story, annoying narrator and bad taste

I thought this sounded like fun book about the love of reading. I specifically looked to see if he read some books that I've enjoyed. He did, but once I started listening, I discovered that his taste is diametrically opposed to mine. He couldn't get into Middlemarch and refused to like Austen. Moron. And he read and enjoyed all of Dickens's writings (he says). I don't get it.

I think I could have still enjoyed a book about books I don't like (I enjoy reading the blog "Books I done Read" but I've discovered that I tend not to like the books she really loves), but this was mostly a whiny biography of a man I don't like and I couldn't care less about.

Sadly, so sadly, he didn't really say much about the books themselves. I would have loved to hear his actual thoughts on what the characters did, what they thought, etc, or even how the author phrased things or set up scenes in the story, rather than his vague praise of, or distaste for the author's general writing. (If this guy were writing this book for my class, I'd urge him to be more specific when he praises or disses a book.)

Miller is trying to read these books to make himself better, though he doesn't recommend that we all try reading these particular books. He includes a lot of books I haven't actually heard of (even though I consider myself a fairly broad reader) and he makes a lot of references to British stuff that loses me. (I totally want book tokens for Christmas, though. What a cool idea. Wikipedia says they have them in the US, but I've never heard of them.)

Here's all you need to know: This book is not fun, you'd be better off just reading the books already on your list because this is not a commiseration of your love of books; this is a stultifying slog through somebody else's list, with basically no attention given to what is in the books themselves.

Save your credit for something, anything, else.
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- Rachel "I am a clay sculptor and an art instructor at a community college. I mostly listen to audiobooks while I work in my home studio."

The Worst Book About Books I've Ever Read

I think the problem with The Year of Reading Dangerously is that it doesn't know what it wanted to be when it grows up. Does it want to be a memoir about someone's relationship with books or does it want to be a book of literary criticism or critic. The problem I had with the book is, that though the author performed his book in an entertaining manner, I found that there wasn't a coherent structure to bind the whole thing together. What I thought I was getting was a brief commentary on all the 52 books Mr. Miller had read in his year of reading, but that is not what I got--I got a hodge podge of personal reminiscences sprinkled with pompous intellectualism and peculiar assertions about men and reading and the role of a husband. He was good at blathering on about obscure, contemporary books and out of print biographies of a particular type of German rock music and didn't say a word about important books that he'd read like Jane Eyre and Frankenstein. On a whole I feel that Mr. Millers book was more an exercise of mental masturbation than something truly meaningful about the books he's read--what he said was meaningful to him--but he didn't seem particularly concerned about whether the reader, his audience got anything out of it, in fact he encouraged us to skip an entire chapter dealing with a scathing fan letter he never sent to some French author.

The bottom line is if you want to read about that says meaningful things about famous works of literature, this isn't for you. If you want and clouded, muddled, and somewhat infuriating book about the authors strange and unconventional life, then have at it and have fun. Now that I have completed it, in spite of Mr. Miller said I needed to read the book 2-3 times to really "get it" I have other books I'd rather read and get more out of. I am even contemplating hitting the delete button and depositing it in the recycle bin. Good luck, if you've already bought this title--you'll need it.
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- Tomsde "tomsde"

Book Details

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