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The Year of Reading Dangerously: How Fifty Great Books Saved My Life

The Year of Reading Dangerously: How Fifty Great Books Saved My Life [Kindle Edition]

Andy Miller
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Product Description


‘This is “High Fidelity” for bookworms … an invigorating learning curve spent in the company of an affable student … Irreverent … very funny … His thesis is universal: just like that teenager disappearing into the parquet-laid aisles of Croydon Library, we can all be enriched by losing ourselves among the bookshelves’ Christian House, Daily Telegraph

‘I adored this hilarious and touching book. Essential for anyone who likes to read. If you don't like to read, this book is probably not for you, but Dan Brown remains on sale.’ Jenny Colgan

‘Brilliant. All these books should count themselves lucky to have been read by Andy Miller.’ Stewart Lee

‘I too used to tell fibs about having read books and frankly, I wish it was me that'd had the clever idea of how to make money out of not doing something. So fair play to Andy Miller for dreaming that one up. I'll definitely read it, if I get a free one.’ Count Arthur Strong

‘Andy Miller writes so well he could make shopping at Sainsbury’s sound amusing.’ Independent

‘An eye for comic detail worthy of the young Evelyn Waugh.’ Observer

‘Fresh, joyfully uncynical and, above all, very funny.’ Time Out

‘A hilarious premise, superbly executed.’ Esquire

Product Description

A working father whose life no longer feels like his own discovers the transforming powers of great (and downright terrible) literature in this laugh-out-loud memoir.

Andy Miller had a job he quite liked, a family he loved and no time at all for reading. Or so he kept telling himself. But, no matter how busy or tired he was, something kept niggling at him. Books. Books he’d always wanted to read. Books he’d said he’d read, when he hadn’t. Books that whispered the promise of escape from the 6.44 to London. And so, with the turn of a page, began a year of reading that was to transform Andy’s life completely.

This book is Andy’s inspirational and very funny account of his expedition through literature: classic, cult and everything in-between. Crack the spine of your unread ‘Middlemarch’, discover what ‘The Da Vinci Code’ and ‘Moby-Dick’ have in common (everything, surprisingly) and knock yourself out with a new-found enthusiasm for Tolstoy, Douglas Adams and ‘The Epic of Gilgamesh’. ‘The Year of Reading Dangerously’ is a reader’s odyssey and it begins with opening this book…

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1883 KB
  • Print Length: 337 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (8 May 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00C0U6WM8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #24,929 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author


There's other stuff I both like and dislike too. Find out more at

Please note: I am not Andrew Miller, the award-winning author of 'Pure' and 'Ingenious Pain', or Andy Miller, winner of the Yeovil Literary Prize for poetry, or Andy Miller, the television scriptwriter, or A.D. Miller, whose thriller 'Snowdrops' was shortlisted for the 2011 Man Booker prize and whose Christian name turns out to be Andrew. Nor am I Andrew Miller, pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, Andy Miller, guitarist in the Britpop band Dodgy, Andrew Miller, the Labour M.P. for Ellesmere Port and Neston, Andrea Miller, founder of Brooklyn's Gallim Dance company, nor any of the hundreds of Andy Millers on Facebook, especially the one who counts "Women bringing me sandwiches" amongst his activities and interests. None of them is me; I make my own sandwiches.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An original and brilliant book for our times 15 May 2014
By Sam
Andy Miller is one of the funniest and most insightful writers working in the UK today, and this might well be his masterpiece. In a year in which if we are honest many of us are not reading as much as we should, let alone dangerously, this book is an essential, warm and human companion to the wilder side of the reader's experience, and the importance of challenging our perceptions and imagination with great books (even when we can't always agree with or love them). To paraphrase Woody Allen - reading is wild only when it's being done right.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A hugely enjoyable memoir. Very engaging. 22 May 2014
By Pyramid
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I thought I’d read a lot. Until I read this book. It revealed some huge gaps not just in my reading but in my general knowledge of books. Thankfully Miller, who details his rediscovered passion for reading in this memoir, seems to have it covered, which is inspiring in itself. Sometimes he rants, sometimes he gushes but while he's always passionate he’s never pompous or arrogant or snobbish about reading. His choice of 50 books to read over a year isn’t meant to be a ‘you must read this’ list, in fact he encourages you to choose your own. It’s an eclectic mix of classics, not-so-classics and downright obscure: books that have piqued his interest, or that he’s been meaning to read, or that he’s lied about reading. Anything is fair game and treated with respect, so even if he doesn’t like it he’ll finish it, give it due consideration and weigh it up fairly. Even if it is Dan Brown! So in that sense it is mercifully devoid of cynicism, often surprising and a very generous book.

I enjoyed the book-related glimpses into his childhood, home and work life. But it’s not just a memoir about books. He writes around the books, and it’s about films and music and art, too. It puts books in context, makes links between different points of culture – often quite bizarrely but in a way that works - and builds everything into a living breathing whole. No man is an island. Well, no book is either. Enjoy this one!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is an interesting slice of autobiography as much as it is about the fifty great books which saved the author's life and caused him to rethink what he was doing with that same life. I found most of the rock music references incomprehensible so if you're not a music fan there are parts of the book you may want to skip.

I did find the author's comments on the books of interest and I may well read some of the books he did. I keep stumbling across George Eliot in the books I read and I am really going to have to attempt at least some of her novels - almost in self defence. Everyone who reads their way through lists of books seems to include Tolstoy's 'War and Peace' and at least one other Russian masterpiece - in this case 'Anna Karenina'. Maybe I also need to attempt one of these to see what the fuss is about.

I found the footnotes almost as interesting as the text in many places and they appear in the text of the e-book version very close to where you want to read them as well as having active links to the footnotes so the reader isn't tempted to skip them.

There are several lists of books at the end of the text for those who want to follow in the author's footsteps or to compile their own reading list and there is a bibliography and an index. If you like books about books and reading then this is one to add to add to your collection.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining and insightful 24 May 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book could have been quite a tedious account of reading 50 books in a year and then writing 50 book type reviews of those 50 books. Thankfully it isn't. Instead it is a funny, personal, digressive account of a year in the life of Andy Miller, in which he set himself the challenge of reading these books. It works brilliantly.

I agreed with most of his opinions (which helped), especially the Houellebecq and Tolstoy chapters. The "Whale vs Grail" chapter is quite brilliant. Thoroughly entertaining, and ultimately makes me want to fill in some gaps in my library. The only blemish I can see is that some books (such as B S Johnson's The Unfortunates) which are on the list are hardly mentioned. Perhaps Andy did not have strong enough opinions (positive or negative), or sections were edited out. But on reaching the end I thought: Hang on a second - what about ....? But then I guess if each book was included in detail, it would have been a much longer book (and perhaps not as entertaining).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Have you pretended to read this?? 25 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
We've all had that feeling that there are loads of "worthy" or just well known books out there that we should have read...but somehow haven't. Many people then pretend to read books because they think they should have done. Miller writes his own "to do" list of books to read. He takes on this task with his customary dry sense of humour and a deprecating wit. It's both a light-hearted, autobiographical romp through his year and also some interesting musing on the value of reading real books, (I guiltily read mine on Kindle...) and the intertwined roles of author, publisher and bookseller. Thought provoking!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Year of Reading Dangerously 2 Jun 2014
Happily ensconced in family life yet living a repetitive, lengthy commute away from a job he disliked, former bookseller and, indeed, former booklover Andy Miller (not that one) realised that he had not read a good book (he had managed a couple of Dan Brown’s) in ages and felt that his life was the worse for it. He therefore came up with a List of Betterment, a compilation of twelve (that would eventually grow to fifty) great books that he felt would change his life for the better. The Year of Reading Dangerously is Miller’s account of his return to the classics and of the impact that this dedicated, improving reading had on his life and library. It’s a very funny literary odyssey and Andy Miller is a great guide to the joys of readings as well as to the merits of his particular book choices. Whether you’ve already read (or at least claimed to have) Miller’s fifty picks or if you’re on the hunt for recommendations, The Year of Reading Dangerously is a bookish delight that is sure to inform and entertain.
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