Audio, 9+ hours
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The Year of Reading Dangerously: How Fifty Great Books Saved My Life by Andy Miller, narrated by the same, is a memoir about reading and books. It begins with the “List of Betterment,” on which he lists books he has talked about in the past or claimed to have read, but has not. These books reflect the type of person he envisions himself to be. He reads 12 of the 13 books completely and is awed by them, but to complete the list and be “like” Mr. Darcy and have integrity, he must complete Of Human Bondage as his penance, or so he tells his wife.
“It would be a good thing to buy books if one could also buy the time to read them; but one usually confuses the purchase of books with the acquisition of their contents.”
There are a number of footnotes in the book, which the audio calls attention to with an audible ding so that readers do not become confused. However, because of these footnotes, it may be easier for readers to see them on the page, but I didn’t mind the alerts and digressions since most of us digress in traditional conversation and that’s what many of these footnotes seemed to be.
“A love of books and a love of reading is not the same thing,” Miller says, but even so, he is seriously enthralled and expands his list of books. Of particular interest to me were his comments on One Hundred Years of Solitude, which is the first book I quit after not quitting any books in 2014. His comments rung true to me, though he also piqued my interest in the overall meaning of the novel and perhaps renewed my interest in returning to it at some point.
The Year of Reading Dangerously: How Fifty Great Books Saved My Life by Andy Miller, narrated by the same, is a fantastic read on audio or in print or ebook for any book lover and reader. Many of us are reading to escape our lives, but what if we read deliberately? Would we be able to achieve our goals and what books would be on your list of betterment?
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. He lives in the United Kingdom with his wife and son.
A list of betterment (or books I wanted to read):
- Persuasion by Jane Austen (read in 2014)
- Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
- Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
- The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
- Travels With Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck
- Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
- Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte
- Villette by Charlotte Bronte (I started this in a read-a-long, had a baby, and never got back to it — it’s been 3+ years; I may have to start over!)