Genre: Non-Fiction, Comedy, Auto-Biography
For fans of: BOOKS! and High Fidelity, Dave Eggers
It is the cast left by the bookworm.
Without quite knowing what this book was about, I picked it up simply because there was a quote from the Daily Telegraph on the front cover that said “High Fidelity for bookworms”. I ask you bookworms – what could sound more appealing? (and if you haven’t read High Fidelity, why haven’t you?)
Whether it is great in itself will depend on whether, as you turn the pages, the machine begins to hum; on whether it comes alive and speaks to you.
The Year of Reading Dangerously is a kind of book-led auto-biography for editor turned born-again reader Andy Miller. After realising how often he embellished the truth about his reading habits he decided to embark on The List of Betterment – 50 books that he had always intended to/been told he should read- over the course of a year.
So besides the obvious (over 300 pages of bookish goodness!), what I love about this book is the way in which Miller peppers it with his own autobiographical references. It is truly the autobiography of a bibliophile, with our narrator having been in the role of bookseller, editor and reader at different points in his life. He doesn’t just talk about reading the book – he evokes the memories and experiences from when he first heard about it or the sense of nostalgia he would feel when re-reading a book he had initially tackled at another point in his life. I think any reader can identify with that.
I felt the unmistakable certainty that I had been in the presence of great art and that my heart had opened in reply.
Andy Miller’s writing style is so lively and compelling that you can’t help but get swept along with his narrative – I found myself ensuring I took my lunch hour at work in order to read more of The Year of Reading Dangerously (much like he does in the book). There’s one part of the book which especially spoke to me in which Miller admits he began to find it difficult to read new novels due to the pressure of writing up a review for his blog.
I love writing this blog but I think sometimes it is easy to get swept in new releases or proofs you’ve been sent by publishers because it’s flattering/you want to continue getting proofs/you want to get up a post about that book that was released days ago! Yet sometimes I do just want to re-read a favourite or delve into a well-known classic and that’s just what I’m starting to do again thanks to Andy Miller’s influence.
Reading is a broad church. But it is still a church.
I think sometimes you can get too caught up in how many books you’re reading or whether you’re reading the latest bestseller, that you forget to listen to your instinct and just get sucked into a good book. In The Year of Reading Dangerously we’re reminded that it’s okay not to finish a book we’re clearly not enjoying, or that we don’t need to read every “classic” – these things are exactly what make up a person’s tastes.
What was the difference between saying I had read Patrick Hamilton and finally reading him? The answer was pleasure […]
Enthralling from start to finish, I think anyone would find it hard not to be captivated by this read – it’s definitely a book that will speak to you. Whether you’re already a bookworm or not, I can pretty much guarantee that after reading The Year of Reading Dangerously you’ll want to pick up another book straight away. So I’ll leave you with one warning…this book will definitely add to your To Be Read list!