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The Year of Reading Dangerously: How Fifty Great Books Saved My Life by Andy Miller (audio)

Source: Audible
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):

  1. Persuasion by Jane Austen (read in 2014)
  2. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
  3. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  4. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  5. Travels With Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck
  6. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  7. Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte
  8. 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!)

Mailbox Monday #303

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links.  Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

1.  I Am the Beggar of the World, translated by Eliza Griswold, photos by Seamus Murphy from SantaThing at LibraryThing.

Afghans revere poetry, particularly the high literary forms that derive from Persian or Arabic. But the poem above is a folk couplet—a landay, an ancient oral and anonymous form created by and for mostly illiterate people: the more than 20 million Pashtun women who span the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. War, separation, homeland, love—these are the subjects of landays, which are brutal and spare, can be remixed like rap, and are powerful in that they make no attempts to be literary. From Facebook to drone strikes to the songs of the ancient caravans that first brought these poems to Afghanistan thousands of years ago, landays reflect contemporary Pashtun life and the impact of three decades of war. With the U.S. withdrawal in 2014 looming, these are the voices of protest most at risk of being lost when the Americans leave.

2.  The Passage by Justin Cronin from SantaThing at LibraryThing.

An epic and gripping tale of catastrophe and survival, The Passage is the story of Amy–abandoned by her mother at the age of six, pursued and then imprisoned by the shadowy figures behind a government experiment of apocalyptic proportions. But Special Agent Wolgast, the lawman sent to track her down, is disarmed by the curiously quiet girl—and risks everything to save her. As the experiment goes nightmarishly wrong, Wolgast secures her escape—but he can’t stop society’s collapse. And as Amy walks alone, across miles and decades, into a future dark with violence and despair, she is filled with the mysterious and terrifying knowledge that only she has the power to save the ruined world.

3.  Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley from SantaThing at LibraryThing.

Senior year is over, and Lucy has the perfect way to celebrate: tonight, she’s going to find Shadow, the mysterious graffiti artist whose work appears all over the city. He’s out there somewhere—spraying color, spraying birds and blue sky on the night—and Lucy knows a guy who paints like Shadow is someone she could fall for. Really fall for. Instead, Lucy’s stuck at a party with Ed, the guy she’s managed to avoid since the most awkward date of her life. But when Ed tells her he knows where to find Shadow, they’re suddenly on an all-night search around the city. And what Lucy can’t see is the one thing that’s right before her eyes.

4.  Vibrant Words: Ideas and Inspirations for Poets by Erica Goss from SantaThing at LibraryThing.

Vibrant Words is a book of poetry writing prompts intended to spark creativity, banish writer’s block, and inspire new ideas. You’ll find out why you need core strength to write well, that poetry waits in parking lots, and what you can do with just one word.The ideas in this book are tried and true. Like snowflakes, no two are exactly alike, but all are equally valuable. May this book open your writing to new possibilities.

5.  Mister H by Daniel Nesquens, illustrated by Luciano Lozano for review from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

When young Rosana visits the zoo and hears a strange voice speak to her, she is shocked to discover that the voice belongs to a hippopotamus! The hippo, who insists on being called Mister H, politely asks her to release him from his habitat. Once free, Mister H begins to explore the world around him. But how will people react when they see a hippo roaming the streets? And will Mister H be able to find his true home?This funny, one-of-a-kind illustrated novel will keep even the most reluctant readers entertained.

6. The Year of Reading Dangerously: How Fifty Great Books Saved My Life by Andy Miller from Audible for review.

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, when he hadn’t. Books that whispered the promise of escape from the 6.44 to London. And so, with the turn of a page, began a year of reading that was to transform Andy’s life completely.

What did you receive?