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THE YEAR OF READING DANGEROUSLY: HOW FIFTY GREAT BOOKS SAVED MY LIFE

“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 actually he hadn’t. Books that whispered the promise of escape from the 6.44am 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… ”

READ THE FIRST CHAPTER NOW (PDF)



What they’re saying about The Year of Reading Dangerously:

Delightfully irreverent … very funny … this is High Fidelity for bookworms … Miller’s thesis is universal: we can all be enriched by losing ourselves among the bookshelves. – Christian House, review, Telegraph

Terrific … Miller writes from the heart without mawkishness and he’s very funny … you will emerge enriched. – Lee Randall, review, A History of My Life in 100 Objects

I enjoyed THE YEAR OF READING DANGEROUSLY so much. Not only is it wonderfully funny, but it is also a brilliant take on the whole notion of a living literary culture, and what that might actually mean when we get back to the business of reading. I love its directness and sanity. – Michael Bracewell, novelist and critic, author of England Is Mine: Pop Life in Albion

Brilliant. All these books should count themselves lucky to have been read by Andy Miller. – Stewart Lee, comedian, author of How I Escaped My Certain Fate

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, novelist, author of Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop of Dreams

An inimitable memoir … triumphantly justified … like nothing else I have ever read – a combination of criticism and memoir that is astute, tender, funny and often wickedly ironic. Ignited by its love of literature, it gives in passing one of the best definitions of aesthetic excitement I have ever come across … it conveys something of the pleasure – no, joy – I felt when sharing a year of Miller’s life and rereading some familiar books over his shoulder. – Peter Conrad, review, Observer

THE YEAR OF READING DANGEROUSLY is funny, melancholy, grumpy and profound. It’s all you might want from a book. – Andrew Male, journalist, deputy editor Mojo magazine

I loved this book. THE YEAR OF READING DANGEROUSLY is a must for booklovers – challenging, controversial and very funny. – David Nobbs, novelist, 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, novelist, author of The Humans

A heroic and amusing attempt to get back to the classics … Fandom and enthusiasm are Miller’s forte and flare up brilliantly around certain titles on his list … He goes into orbit so spectacularly about something called Krautrocksampler by Julian Cope that it is impossible not to put down THE YEAR OF READING DANGEROUSLY and go off to check it out. – Claire Harman, academic, review, Guardian

Utterly wonderful. – Linda Grant, novelist, author of The Clothes on Their Backs

Brilliant. – Lucy Mangan, journalist, 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, Miller’s style owes something in its love of footnotes, literary paraphernalia and ephemera to Joe Brainard and David Foster Wallace. – Iain Finlayson, review, Times

The best book of the year … I approached THE YEAR OF READING DANGEROUSLY, given my busy lifestyle, determined to read fifty pages a day. But reader, I failed. I read far more. Congratulations, Mr Miller – you have written a highly entertaining book. – Amy Pirt, review, This Little Bag of Dreams

Miller is always entertaining when he writes about books and there’s always a keen sense of how personal this reading is to him … this isn’t a list of ‘fifty books you must read’; it’s the story of one person rediscovering what he loves about books, and finding a place for them in his life. It’s an inspiring piece of work. – David Hebblethwaite, review, Follow The Thread

I finished Andy Miller’s mad, funny, lovely THE YEAR OF READING DANGEROUSLY and felt like a close friend had announced emigration plans. If you read, read it. – Charlotte Mendelson, novelist, author of Almost English

When I first heard about this book, I thought it was going to be one of those lists of books that you ‘have’ to read to be a Proper, Righteous Reader. But it’s not at all. It’s more of a memoir in books – it’s also about renewing a passion, family, and making changes in life for the better. It’s about books as an exploration of yourself … it’s very easy to explore along with him … Well worth a read if you love reading, or used to and feel like you’ve lost the love, or the time, to do it. It certainly moved War and Peace to my ‘maybe’ list from ‘never’. – Debbie Kinsey, review, Mischief and Miscellany

One year Andy Miller decided to read his way through fifty literary classics which he’d never got round to. This is a readable, often funny account of his response … It’s not so much the content of the books that brings rewards but the process of reading them and the thought this inspires. – Brandon Robshaw, review, Independent

Brilliant to see children’s books championed in THE YEAR OF READING DANGEROUSLY; Andy Miller really gets the joy of childhood reading. If you love books (and who among us doesn’t), you must read this one! – S.F. Said, children’s novelist, author of The Outlaw Varjak Paw

Not just a love letter to books, this is a bracing rebuttal to the critical press-gangs who demand that we must unconditionally revere Jane Austen and worship Samuel Beckett … By the time he was quoting Sondheim and Hancock I was punching the air, yelling “Finally! Someone else sees reading the way I do!” … A lovely read for lovers of books; honest, brave even, frequently hilarious, and should be given to anyone who has to live with someone afflicted by the debilitating disease of staring at sentences. – Christopher Fowler, novelist, author of Paperboy and Film Freak

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. P.S. You’re going to need some bigger bookshelves. – Neil Perryman, blogger, author of Adventures with the Wife in Space

Hugely enjoyable … In his book THE YEAR OF READING DANGEROUSLY, a witty self-help guide to managing one’s bookshelves, Andy Miller counsels against allowing reading choices to be dictated by literary vogue. We do not, in other words, all have to read The Goldfinch at the same time. – Alex Clark, journalist, TLS

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, show business legend, author of Through It All I’ve Always Laughed

A nice, white, middle-class, literary type who eats Bonne Maman jam and reads the Guardian … No Hitler. – Fleur Macdonald, blogger, Spectator



EXPLANATORY NOTE: We made READ as a homage to John Brockman’s (@edge) legendary teaser campaign for the Monkees’ 1968 film HEAD, with a bit of The Parallax View and a Godard-style intertitle or two thrown in. Watch carefully – and play LOUD!