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The Year of Reading Dangerously: How Fifty Great Books (and Two Not-So-Great Ones) Saved My Life (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

There is something about this British memoir that would not let me put it down—there is grit, honesty, and laugh-out-loud wit—I think it’s the wit that makes this book stay dear.  Andy Miller had always been a book lover, until life got busy and while he found himself talking about literature with the same enthusiasm, he realized that in his recent years he had actually only read one book all the way through.  And so, at the turn of his 40th birthday, he made a deal with himself that he would read 50 books, actually read them, give them time, and discussion, and thought, and when he did, Andy had an entirely new filter in which he viewed his life. This book is Andy's inspirational and very funny account of his expedition through literature: classic, cult, and everything in between. 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. From Middlemarch to Anna Karenina to A Confederacy of Dunces, this is a heartfelt, humorous, and honest examination of what it means to be a reader, and the soul-searching that comes when we take in others narratives in order to examine our own.



An editor and writer's vivaciously entertaining, and often moving, chronicle of his year-long adventure with fifty great books (and two not-so-great ones)—a true story about reading 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 the 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.

About the Author

Andy Miller is a reader, author, and editor of books. His writing has appeared in numerous publications, including The Times, The Telegraph, The Guardian, Esquire, and Mojo. He lives in the United Kingdom with his wife and son.

Praise For…

“an affecting tale of the rediscovery of great books...[by] a friendly, funny Brit.”
Boston Globe

“wonderfully elevating and entertaining…. A delightful read in its totality.”
— Maria Popova, BrainPickings

“In his fanciful, endearing account of his experiences tackling classic works of fiction, Miller…conveys his love of reading, though the book is light on literary criticism.… There is plenty of hilarity in [this] intimate literary memoir.”
Publishers Weekly

“Absorbing….I found myself turning pages in the addictive way some folks eat barbecue potato chips (crisps to one from Miller’s culture)…. This is one…book that you can dare (dangerously!) to get for your favorite people instead of the ubiquitous gift card. Trust me on that.”

“Funny and engaging throughout and, for all the author’s self-deprecation, perfectly erudite.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Amiable, circumstantial, amusing, charming…. [Miller’s] style owes something…in its love of footnotes, literary paraphernalia and ephemera to Joe Brainard and David Foster Wallace.”
The Times (London)

“A delightfully irreverent account of reading 50 classic books…. Often very funny….His thesis is universal…we can all be enriched by losing ourselves among the bookshelves.”
Daily Telegraph (London)

“[A] readable, often funny account.... It’s not so much the content of the books that brings rewards, but the process of reading them and the thought this inspires.”
The Independent (London)

“Andy Miller is a very funny writer. And this hymn to reading is a delight. The chapter on Herman Melville and Dan Brown had me howling with pleasure. PS. It will also make you feel a bit well-read.”
— Matt Haig, author of The Humans

Product Details
ISBN: 9780061446184
ISBN-10: 0061446181
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: December 9th, 2014
Pages: 352
Language: English
ABA Admin Product Details
Data Source: ONIX
Created At: 3/7/2014 08:25am
Last Updated At: 8/8/2020 10:13pm