The Year of Reading Dangerously

Andy Miller

‘I loved the writing and the characterisation, oh, and the plot – yeah, all really pithy. Really great’: sound familiar? Andy Miller has been living a lie. But then again, who hasn’t? How many books have you claimed to have read but never actually finished, or started, or even heard of? Books you’ve really wanted to read, or should have read, but never had the time, or the inclination? Tackling the canon single-handedly, Miller decides to rectify his twenty odd years of lies and silence his nagging guilt and become the literate man he’s always claimed himself to be. The Year of Reading Dangerously is an inspired and witty tour of literature from all genres: classic, cult and Dan Brown. A comparative reading of The Da Vinci Code and Moby Dick somehow seems inevitable, the Charles Arrowby cookbook becomes a terrifying possibility and an explanation of the curious unreadability of Catch-22 is attempted. We travel from the mires of inaccessibility, incomprehensibility, commodification and confusion to moments of enlightened, ecstatic wonder. It becomes unavoidable to consider how we buy, borrow, steal and generally use and abuse books for our own complicated ends. Written with characteristic sharp and honest humour, The Year of Living Dangerously is an affirmation of the pleasure of reading and a challenge to everyone who loves books but has forgotten how to read. Out of serious enquiries into commercialism, mediocrity and our literary prejudices emerges a very funny account of one man’s attempt to read more dangerously.

Reviews of The Year of Reading Dangerously

  • ‘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