From one of England's most celebrated writers, the author of the award-winning The History Boys, a funny and superbly observed novella about the Queen of England and the subversive power of readingIn this 120 page long novella, Alan Bennett hypothesises about what might happen should the Queen suddenly become an avid reader. What would happen if she wanted to talk to the influential people that she meets about famous authors, and if suddenly all those affairs of state got in the way of that really good book that she is reading!
When her corgis stray into a mobile library parked near Buckingham Palace, the Queen feels duty-bound to borrow a book. Discovering the joy of reading widely (from J. R. Ackerley, Jean Genet, and Ivy Compton-Burnett to the classics) and intelligently, she finds that her view of the world changes dramatically. Abetted in her newfound obsession by Norman, a young man from the royal kitchens, the Queen comes to question the prescribed order of the world and loses patience with the routines of her role as monarch. Her new passion for reading initially alarms the palace staff and soon leads to surprising and very funny consequences for the country at large.
Whilst many of the events in the novel are pretty unrealistic, the book itself is very readable, and will have a ready made audience in terms of bookworms everywhere, who will appreciate Her Majesty's frustration when the book she is reading goes missing, and when she would rather just stay at home reading than go on a Royal excursion.
This was an entertaining and fun read - just perfect to read when you are not feeling a hundred percent and would struggle to concentrate on anything too long or too hard. I can tell that I am really ill when I can't read, and I picked up several books before this one caught my eye. I managed to read it in a couple of sittings. If I had of been feeling better I could probably have read it quicker, but as it was it met my requirements quite well.
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