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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An original and brilliant book for our times
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...
Published 5 months ago by Sam

versus
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Not as good as the promise on the cover! Funny in places though.
Published 1 month ago by Mrs. Katharine Lee


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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
This review is from: The Year of Reading Dangerously: How Fifty Great Books Saved My Life (Hardcover)
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
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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
4.0 out of 5 stars The Year of Reading Dangerously: How Fifty Great Books Saved My Life, 8 Jun 2014
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Damaskcat (UK) - See all my reviews
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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
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This review is from: The Year of Reading Dangerously: How Fifty Great Books Saved My Life (Hardcover)
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
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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
This review is from: The Year of Reading Dangerously: How Fifty Great Books Saved My Life (Hardcover)
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you like books about books..., 9 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The Year of Reading Dangerously: How Fifty Great Books Saved My Life (Hardcover)
Fascinating and inspirational. I love reading other peoples views about books, and have added some of the choices to my reading list
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Laugh and smile - a book that affirms the value of reading great literature., 27 July 2014
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A book that made me laugh. The author conveys brilliantly the ups and downs of his quest to read fifty great books. At the end, we know it was worth the effort.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The finest book about books ever written; amusing, audacious and useful., 21 July 2014
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lilysmum "lilysmum65" (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Year of Reading Dangerously: How Fifty Great Books Saved My Life (Hardcover)
I am grieving, because I have finished reading this book. The irony (or contradictoriality) of this fact is that I wouldn't even have bought it, had I not picked it up in the rather fine independent bookseller, Broadhursts of Southport, on an impulse. I had read about Andy Miller's work of staggering genius on the internet, and clearly not recognised it as such, because I had made the decision not to buy it, based solely on the fact that the books the author asserted he needed to read were not those which I have read myself (unless I lie about what I've read, which, unlike the author of this book, I don't).
I opened the book in the bookshop and read the first couple of pages, and saw this quote from Homer Simpson: "What's the point of going out? We're just going to wind up back here anyway," and I knew I was hooked.
I haven't read a lot of the books Miller talks about, such as: The Master and Margarita, Post Office, The Sea, The Sea, Moby Dick, A Confederacy of Dunces, or The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, but if you haven't either, don't let that stop you buying this book.
Miller talks so very engagingly about all the books, and his life, and his family, that I was captivated, to the extent that I begrudged every moment I spent away from the book. I bought it on Saturday afternoon, and I finished it this afternoon (Monday).
As well as talking about the books which Miller thinks he *should* have read, as he reads them, he also muses on philosophical questions such as the value of literature, and the whole life vs. art thing, and reading groups, and working in bookshops, and being an editor, and music, and painting, and more. It's kind of like The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Whilst at first glance it appears to be a chirpy and humorous tale of a forty something chap catching up with some reading, in actual fact, it's about much more than that - art, philosophy, science, life, history. It's deeply thought out but deftly written with a lightness of touch.
I don't think I will read a better book this year, and I already feel like I am going to have to read it again.
This year, I have tried an experiment of my own, on a much smaller and less ambitious scale than Miller. I have been trying to follow Mr Gove's advice to school pupils to "read a book a week". It's the end of July and I am on book number 26 of 2014. Miller attempts something far more interesting - to read 50 great books (and a Dan Brown) in a year.
I think it's clear I am a huge fan, Mr Miller, and I'm writing this in frank admiration.
The only error I spotted was the misspelling of the Groke in the passage about the Moomin books (a childhood favourite of mine), which for some reason was spelled "Groak" in the book. Or, was this a deliberate error?
I am going to have to read some of the books on the list, starting with, I think, Michel Houellebecq's Atomised.
If I could give this six stars, I would. Reader, I could marry him.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!, 16 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The Year of Reading Dangerously: How Fifty Great Books Saved My Life (Hardcover)
Loved this book. Really entertaining and thought provoking. Glad I bought it. I would recommend it to any body. Enjoy!
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