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A Year of Doing Good: One Woman, One New Year's Resolution, 365 Good Deeds
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A Year of Doing Good: One Woman, One New Year's Resolution, 365 Good Deeds

3.11  ·  Rating details ·  159 ratings  ·  38 reviews

Judith O'Reilly, author of the hugely popular blog and book Wife in the North embarks on a year long social experiment in the witty A Year of Doing Good.

Fed up of New Year's resolutions involving diets and exercise abandoned on January 2nd, Judith is attempting to be good. For one whole year.

She embarked on a mission to do one good deed every day. Some called it a

Paperback, 306 pages
Published January 3rd 2013 by Penguin (first published December 20th 2012)
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Average rating 3.11  · 
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Jan 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Judith is an engaging diarist and this her second book is both thought-provoking and funny. Very funny in places! I was sorry to finish it and it left me contemplating the effect we have on each other in life. Small acts of benevolence and kindness can and do change the recipient's day/mindset/life.

It is also personal and poignant - achingly so on maternal love.

I look forward to the day when her novel breaks out of the drawer, I really do -
Sagittarius Scholar
Actual rating 4.5 stars.

I enjoyed reading this and it was very funny and sent me into bouts of laughter. But I skimmed a bit towards the end, because I felt it was repeating itself too much.

I'm genuinely happy right now, just because I finished reading this book.

Now I just need to find Wife in the North...
Apr 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013-books
Found this book in Tesco supermarket and bought it on a whim as I like diary style books. It was really good and I didn't want to put it down. I thought it might be a bit preachy at times bearing in mind the subject matter but it wasn't AND it made me think which was probably what the author wsa aiming to do. It would have been easy for the author to just put money in charity boxes each day and draw the line there but she didn't - she went quite a way beyond that on some occasions. I'm now inter ...more
Vicky Thomasson
Jan 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
I thought the concept of this book was really good. I could relate to a lot of what O'Reilly wrote because I too have lost a child and know how difficult it can be to help people (I recently was told I couldn't help the homeless at christmas because I didn't have the right qualifications!). The only problem I have with this book is that I am a Tory girl through and through! I thought it was funny and realistic. Definitely worth a read.
Feb 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was originally quite put off this book when I realised that it was a factual account of someone doing good deeds for a whole year, explained in detail day by day. However, I soon got into it and loved the author's cheeky sense of humour, occasional expletives and mercifully few deep investigations into the psychology of what she was doing. It was funny, sad, well observed and thought provoking and I was very sad when I reached the end. Very inspirational.
Dec 07, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: unfinished
This was chosen by our book group, so wouldn't normally be something I would go for. I managed up to 6th May before giving up completely.

Really not for me. By reading this diary, I feel that the author would be someone I would not want to spend time with (I am sure she would feel the same about me!).

However the consensus in the group was positive and most enjoyed it, so I think my review probably says more about me than Ms O'Reilly.
Aug 07, 2017 rated it liked it
This book was wonderful in many ways, Judith's witty nature combined with her quest to do a good deed every day was highly enjoyable and I look up to her for being able to reach out and help so many people.
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
Although inspired me a bit to do some good deeds myself, hit the doldrums in this book about halfway through as it's essentially a list of good deeds with a tiny bit of story interlaced - monotonous - has put me well behind on my reading challenge!!
L Clare
May 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: secular, nonfiction
I chose this book from the library's display of 'New Non-Fiction' because Catholicism is mentioned on the back cover but nearly didn't read it beyond the introduction once the author had made her views on some of the Church's teachings clear. I thought Ms O'Reilly and I were too far apart in view to find a common ground and that reading her book would provoke me to anger. I, of course, am a perfect Catholic who agrees with the Church in every detail of her teaching.

No. I am not a perfect Catholi
Jan 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Fed up of New Year's resolutions involving diets and exercise abandoned on January 2nd, Judith is attempting to be good. For one whole year.

She embarked on a mission to do one good deed every day. Some called it a social experiment. At times she called it madness.

Juggling family, friends and a variety of neighbours in the small Northumberland village she calls home, she recounts the ups, downs, moments of doubt and sheer bloody hard work of doing good.

From the small - babysitting a friend's chi
Aug 20, 2013 rated it it was ok
When Judith O'Reilly announces on January first to her family and friends that she intends to do a good deed each day for the entire year, her husband puts his head in his hands and groans; setting the tone for this account of one ordinary, fallible woman inspired by the idea of doing good, doing things for others where she can.

Her writing is honest and humorous. She isn't afraid to let it be known that her good deeds can be frustrating as well as rewarding, and that at times she would really ra
Juliet Wilson
Feb 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Judith O'Reilly made a New Year's resolution to do a good deed every day and in this book she records the deeds she did, how she felt about them and muses on the meaning of doing good. Along the way she makes friends, meets philosophers, carers, lifeboat volunteers and others who spend their lives 'doing good' or in the case of philosophers thinking about doing good.

Some of the good deeds are small, like letting people in front of her in queues, some are large (and ongoing) like teaching a disab
Rosie Amber
Apr 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read about this book a while a go, then entered a competition to try to win a copy, finally I got my book! It is a true inspiration, written with humour and honesty. It is not pious or in your face, it's about everyday human life. The day I started reading it I began writing down any good deeds I had done that day, it's not easy it often requires effort, but at other times you can surprise yourself with the ease of doing something good for others. Having now finished, I intend to hunt out a ja ...more
I signed up for this ring, and the irony is that while I was reading it I attended a conference at which one of the speakers confirmed one of the premises of this book - ie doing good does good, and not just for the recipient. I had a number of loud chuckles when I began reading this, but have to confess that after a while I found it a bit of a slog. Some parts were quite interesting, and the question of who benefits the most was worth contemplating. I found I engaged more again towards the end, ...more
Jan 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Interesting idea & one I'd thought of s a New Year's resolution so it seemed an apt time to read the book.

On one hand, she did a lot of good and made a lot of effort. On the other, some of the deeds - randomly posting books and phoning relatives, not to mention the poor ex-pats who get a rough deal- or at least a lousy reputation, seem like a bit of a cop out.

I had thought of doing the same, but on a quiet Sunday with family you resort to flinging a couple of quid at the nearest charity to save
Easy, enjoyable read that has made me think about goodness and kindness. Find myself lacking of course-big time. And I don't have children or sick parents to stop me. Landscapes and towns of Northumberland which I know and love so well, clearly drawn and atmospheric. Strongly drawn relationships -particularly teaching Chryssie to write-and learning so much from her. I do think Judith should write the screenplay next and leave the novel until later. Surely One Day's Author would help as his good ...more
Apr 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
Perfectly fine book, easy to read but somehow it didn't work. I wanted to be left overall feeling inspired but actually my end point feeling was a tad of envy of the author because she has this amazing network of family and friends! Just missing something to give it that elusive appeal that the author is one of us all along ...
Jul 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved this - it was honest and down to earth - and it was about every day people not something pie in the sky. It makes you think about your contribution and yes I have a jam jar on the go..... love this and my favourite bit - Northumberland all big skies and sheep It captures this part of the world perfectly!
Jan 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Judith O'Reilly pledges to do one good deed a day for a whole year. Despite the occasional resentment or reluctance to carry out certain good deeds which entail a substantial degree of personal inconvenience, she carries them out regardless and remains true to her pledge. A lovely and inspiring read; would recommend to anyone.
Feb 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
This book would be a good read for a sour puss thinking know, those people who struggle to see the "good" in mundane things & think you have to always be challenged. But does it really count to write down things you do naturally? Haha I snicker with some of the ideas having cause myself thinking parallel to what was written a time or two ;) ...more
Apr 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Very enjoyable and engaging read of one woman's goal to do a good deed each day. Throughout it she also researches why people do good deeds. I especially enjoyed the scientific and religious studies research that she did in her year and the personal stories of many everyday people living their lives through successes and trials.
Jun 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, humour
The author had a wonderful way of telling her year long quest, without making herself seem flawless in the process. Her curiosity and her discussions with leading experts makes it a delight to follow along. Certain passages resonated with me. Even after finishing the book they were still turning around in my mind, making me think more seriously about the deeper philosophical questions of life.
Christine Dee
Jan 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Loved this book very inspirational ... sad in places but mainly made me smile a lot and laugh out loud often! I think there are sections in the book which everyone will be able to associate with .... overall enjoyable read and a pleasant change form doom and gloom in lots of novels.

May 14, 2013 rated it it was ok
I didn't even bring myself to finish the book. I personally felt the good deeds would be more than putting money in charity tins and picking up her friends kids from school. I found the book very uninspiring which is a shame because I bought it thinking it would be.
Jul 30, 2016 added it
Shelves: 2016
This is a memoir and the author is really irritating (and her descriptions of disability whilst honest are really shocking in this day and age) but I still had to finish it because I wanted to know what happened.
Pippa Ainsworth
Jan 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017, pre-40
An engaging and thought provoking read which sees the author undertaking a good deed every day for a year. The book examines the various ways in which people 'do good' and the effects and motivation for doing so.
Jan 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyable account of the author's attempt to spend a year of her life doing one good deed a day.
Erica Fairs
Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Ms O'Reilly never disappoints. Beautiful, funny and sometimes so sad. It's not so easy doing good deeds!
Feb 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
I just could not get into this. I couldn't relate to the writer and gave up after 134 good deeds. Many of these were repeated and some of which i would consider work not good deeds.
Sally Duffy
May 27, 2013 rated it it was ok
Dull. Didn't get one star as I didn't hate it.
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Read the book then do the deed? 1 8 Jan 30, 2013 04:45AM  

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