Book Review: The Year of Reading Dangerously

The Year of Reading Dangerously: How Fity Great Books (and Two Not So Great Ones) Saved My Life
By: Andy Miller
Published By: Audible Studios
Publication Date: December 9th, 2014
Page Count: 256
Source: ARC Kindly Provided By Publisher
Audience/Genre: Non-Fiction
 Buy it at Audible, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Indiebound.

Andy Miller used to lie to people about the books he'd read, and they were never the wiser, but he always was. This is the story of a man, a handful of books, and a life rededicated to reading. And the book that inspired me to join yet another book club. (At this rate, book club reads will account for over half of my 75 book Goodreads Challenge goal. *rolls eyes at self*)

Overall, I thought the idea of this book was fantastic: a life told in books. What reader wouldn't love that? The problem was that the idea I had about the book after reading the synopsis, of a memoir told through the author's experiences with books, wasn't the book Miller wrote. I was expecting more memoir and less essay, but I'm not sure I can fault the author for my own expectations.

There were a few chapters/titles that saved the book for me (the chapters covering Moby Dick and Anna Karenina were my favorites). And Miller does a nice job weaving his commentary on the value of -- and demise of -- books and reading in our culture throughout the book. If the book is approached as more of an essay collection than a memoir, I think the readers will enjoy Miller's commentary on e-readers, classics like Pride and Prejudice and some lesser known (at least on this side of the pond) titles like The Master and Margarita.

My advice? Read The Year of Reading Dangerously as a collection of stories and essays, taking those that you connect with and leaving the rest. And then start your own book club inspired by the book; one where each member picks a classic that they've always wanted to read, but have never gotten around to reading. I'm vacillating between Moby Dick and Anna Karenina for my picks, and I think Miller would approve of those choices

Summary via Goodreads
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 that he actually hadn't. Books that whispered the promise of escape from the daily grind. And so, with the turn of a page, Andy began a year of reading that was to transform his life completely.

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 a witty and insightful journey of discovery and soul-searching that celebrates the abiding miracle of the book and the power of reading.


  1. I agree, the premise does make it sounds so very promising. Sorry it wasn't all you hoped for. Great review!


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