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The Year of Reading Dangerously: How Fifty Great Books Saved My Life Kindle Edition
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‘Like nothing else I have ever read – a combination of criticism and memoir that is astute, tender, funny and often wickedly ironic’ Peter Conrad, Observer
‘Very funny … this is “High Fidelity” for bookworms’ Christian House, Daily Telegraph
‘Brilliant. All these books should count themselves lucky to have been read by Andy Miller’ Stewart Lee
‘A readable, often funny account … This is much more than a succession of verdicts on famous books. It’s also an autobiography told through books … reminiscent both in style and perceptiveness of Nick Hornby. Miller’s theme is that books aren’t separate from life … Perhaps one book never changed anyone’s life; but 50 of them can.’ Brandon Robshaw, Independent
‘Hilarious and touching … If you don’t like to read, this book is probably not for you, but Dan Brown remains on sale’ Jenny Colgan, author of ‘Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop of Dreams’
‘I loved this book … challenging, controversial and very funny’ David Nobbs, author of ‘The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin’
‘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’
‘Brilliant’ Lucy Mangan, author of ‘My Family and Other Disasters’
‘Andy Miller was leading a normal life of quiet desperation when he discovered that he was no longer reading with any plan or pleasure. Usually books about books as therapy are resistible but “The Year of Reading Dangerously” is a sweet exception. Amiable, circumstantial, amusing, charming’ The Times
‘A witty self-help guide to managing one’s bookshelves’ TLS
‘Like Bill Bryson being locked in the British Library for his own good, “The Year of Reading Dangerously” is clever, inspiring and – shh! – laugh-out-loud funny’ Neil Perryman, author of ‘Adventures with the Wife in Space’
‘By turns witty and profound’ Daily Telegraph--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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. His first book ‘Tilting at Windmills: How I Tried to Stop Worrying and Love Sport’ was published in 2002; his acclaimed study of the Kinks’ Village Green Preservation Society LP followed in 2004. In a career spanning twenty years, he has worked with Charlie Brooker, Stewart Lee, the League of Gentlemen, Sacha Baron Cohen and Count Arthur Strong, amongst many others. He lives in Kent with his wife and son.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
- File size : 2498 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Print length : 337 pages
- Publisher : Fourth Estate (8 May 2014)
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B00C0U6WM8
- Best Sellers Rank: 269,591 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer reviews:
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As a 'book about books' this has two major strengths: Miller writes very engagingly about some of the books he read (I found I was able to enjoy very much the chapters on books I didn't know as well as ones I know well) and he's very, very funny. I started this book on a weekend when I was feeling very unwell - within thirty minutes I was laughing so much I felt a lot better! Miller gets a great balance of hilarity (about his wistfully pretentious teenage years, about some of his reading matter - I loved the comparison of Herman Melville and Dan Brown - and about his struggles to read certain books such as Somerset Maugham's 'Of Human Bondage) and serious writing - the stuff on Tolstoy and George Eliot is particularly good. There's some very moving material about Miller's childhood and his father's early death (though I would agree with Judith Kerr that there's no point trying to make her tiger in 'The Tiger Who Came To Tea' anything other than a tiger!) and a lovely section on him and his wife reading 'War and Peace' aloud to each other. There's also some interesting thoughts about book clubs, the benefits or otherwise of Kindles and audio-books and the role of bookshops in the modern world. But - unlike in Ann Morgan's 'Reading the World', for example, Miller rarely lets himself stray too far from the books he's engaged with into vague theoretical questions. And the ending - when Miller, far from intending to cut down on his reading, is already drawing up another list of books to tackle - is lovely and optimistic.
Granted, this isn't a perfect book - but then what is? At times, Miller's personal preoccupations can lead him to ramble somewhat. I'm not sure we needed quite so much on either Krautrock or musicals (though he makes a good case for them, even for someone like me who's not wild about the genre), and the long imaginary letter to Michel Houellebecq feels pure self-indulgence and goes on for ever! It might have been interesting too if Miller had included some material about the different ways in which women and men can read (something I've noticed reading about male and female bibliophiles and talking to friends of both sexes who are keen readers). I also wish he'd talked more about more of the books on his list - in the end we heard about 12 or so out of 50, and I'd have liked to know more (what it felt like to read 'Jane Eyre' for the first time in your forties, for example, or 'Wild Sargasso Sea', and how he found 'The Odyssey').
But these were only tiny quibbles (though I'd advise anyone getting impatient with the Houellebecq chapter to maybe skip it - it is VERY long). On the whole, this is a book that provides a good number of laughs - the Melville and Dan Brown comparison still makes me smile, as do the attempts to explain the plot of 'The Master and Margarita' - and also some thoughtful writing about some great masterpieces of literature. It's definitely a reminder of how much books matter - something we really need in our troubled times today.
Despite the rather overdramatic and irrelevant title, this is quite a funny book. It is part autobiography, part lecture. Miller is an editor and, as such, accords himself with the authority to discuss books 'properly', sometimes getting a bit uppity about those of us who dare to review books without the requisite knowledge or training.
But in the Internet age, where comment is free and everyone is entitle to a wrong opinion, blockheads write zealously, copiously and for nothing.
Still, if anything, this work suggests editors are no more able to be 'right' about books than anyone else. That is the beauty of them. Whatever you think about a novel, to someone else, you will be wrong. You didn't understand it, you didn't 'see' the underlying themes, you missed the point...etc etc. For some, this will not stand! They must defend their favourite book/author to the death.
For me, this is exactly why I read reviews. Not just to find people who agree with me, but to see why people don't. It is the differences in our understanding that are the most interesting. I may disagree but i'm not going to curse your eternal line for daring to opine something individual. Because what you say about books, what you read, why, how, when: all of these things tell me more about you than about the book. Sure, I could read your profile and see the 'facts' you've put there, but I would bet that perusing your reading list and your reviews would better explain just what kind of person you are. What things are important to you. How you see the world. What you think about love/friendship/politics/faith. All these things are hidden in our relationship with books, and how we describe them to others.
Two parts, in particular, stood out for me in this book.
Firstly, that Miller's 'List of Betterment' reflects an attitude towards literature that most of us would recognise. Whether it's the 'new bestseller' or the classic 'i can't believe you haven't read ___', there is an ever growing list of BOOKS WE SHOULD READ. Yet there is no answer about whether we really should, or why. Miller certainly doesn't have the answer.
Secondly, the section on booksellers. For me, it was spot on.
Quote from Orwell: A bookseller has to tell lies about books, and that gives him a distaste for them'.
If you love books more than you love selling them, then eventually that discrepancy will get the better of you.
This feeds directly in to BOOKS WE SHOULD READ by adding BOOKS WE SHOULD SELL. When bookselling changed from recommending books I thought people would love, to selling books that needed to be sold, or were popular, or were on promotion, that was when I was gone.
"Because you've spent over £10 today, would you like this book for £3.49 that your other purchases suggest you probably have no interest in and weren't planning to buy?"
Too many lies. I find the refreshingly honest (for the most part) reviews from 'blockheads' on the internet much more palatable than the faux enthusiasm of someone who wants to sell me something.
Let me leave you with my favourite line from the whole book:
Is it wrong to prefer books to people?
Not at Christmas.
Now ain't that the truth.