Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Year of Reading Dangerously

Book 34 of my 2015 Reading Challenge
read from June 18 - 28

The Year of Reading Dangerously: How Fifty Great Books (and Two Not-So-Great Ones) Saved My Life by Andy Miller

Summary (via Goodreads)
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 that he actually hadn't. Books that whispered the promise of escape from the daily grind. And so, with the turn of a page, Andy began a year of reading that was to transform his life completely.
This book is Andy's inspirational and very funny account of his expedition through literature: classic, cult, and everything in between. Beginning with a copy of Bulgakov's Master and Margarita that he happens to find one day in a bookstore, he embarks on a literary odyssey. From Middlemarch to Anna Karenina to A Confederacy of Dunces, this is a heartfelt, humorous, and honest examination of what it means to be a reader, and a witty and insightful journey of discovery and soul-searching that celebrates the abiding miracle of the book and the power of reading.

My Opinion
One of my rare one-star ratings.  Normally I would take the notes I jot down as I'm reading and try to edit and organize them into common themes/complete thoughts.  But I don't want to spend any more time on this book so here are my random reactions (can you pinpoint the moment in the book where I just gave up???)...

  • The intro warns the book has spoilers for the books mentioned, good to know.
  • Good explanation of how and why books were chosen for his list, as well as the suggestion to make your own list instead of responding with "why wasn't..." or "how could you include...".
  • Will I find out what makes it reading dangerously?
  • How strange, he doesn't even talk about all the books he reads.  And the title isn't correct since he only read one not-so-great one.  Instead of suggesting we scratch out the 'Two' in the title and replace it with 'One', why not just change your title?
  • I'm very nervous about what I'm getting into.  But wait, don't be scared off by the intro; it's settling into a nicer writing style even though I still have no idea what this is about.
  • For not liking Dan Brown, he talks about him A LOT.
  • Seriously, more little asides about Dan Brown.  Put him out of your mind, it's better for your well-being.
  • Maybe I should stop taking notes, I don't want to try to make sense of this any more.
  • I like the part about his childhood.
  • He looks down on blogs but he has one?
  • It's not his writing style, it's this book.  It's pointless.
  • So he suspended his blog while reading these books so he could enjoy without critiquing them but now he's writing a book reviewing them?
  • Oh wait, he mentions a few times how stupid bloggers are for writing for free.  So he's found a way to get paid for essentially what his blog was providing for free.
  • The number of days it took me to read this isn't accurate because most of that time was me convincing myself to just finish it and get it over with.
  • There's a book writing style only men enjoy?  "Like many women, I suspect, Tina does not have much time for the Contradictatorial School. It does seem to be a style of writing that is practised and enjoyed almost exclusively by men, a fact which disappoints me."  He made that term up to describe the writing style that he and a few other authors he mentioned use.
  • The following suggested discussion question for reading groups: "Did you understand what Andy Miller was trying to achieve in The Year of Reading Dangerously? If not, whose fault is that? Yours or his?"  Mine, obviously.  As a woman and a book blogger, I'm surprised I could even figure out how to open the book...I so stoopid.
A Few Quotes from the Book
I wrote some page numbers down to quote from as I usually do, but no.  I'm not opening the book again.

No comments:

Post a Comment