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And then there are the titles he wants to like if only he could muster the enthusiasm, such as Pride and Prejudice and One Hundred Years of Solitude (“neither realistic nor magical”).
But no one provokes his ire like Somerset Maugham, who is dismissed as a patronising “penis-toting” snob.
“You may erode your integrity to a point,” explains Miller, “where you sincerely believe the difference between saying you have read a book and actually reading it is little more than semantics.” The book’s title and subtitle – “How 50 Great Books Saved My Life” – are self-evidently daft.
As his book progresses, autobiographical interjections tell the tale of a middle-class boy from Croydon who grows up loving his parents, Douglas Adams and the local municipal libraries, insights that explain many of his later literary decrees.
He toils through Robert Tressell’s socialist epic The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, mirroring the masses in their labour (“on and on and on it goes”).