Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

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 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.
In 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!

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.

Other Blogger's Thoughts:

It's All About Books

Hidden Side of a Leaf
A Striped Armchair
Stuff As Dreams Are Made On
A Reader's Respite
Things Mean a Lot
Melody's Reading Corner
The 3 Rs: Reading, 'Riting and Randomness
Just Add Books
Literate Housewife


  1. I enjoyed this book too. And I know what you mea about not being able to read when you're sick. Take care of yourself.

  2. I had this book in my hand at the bookstore yesterday and then put it back. It looks like a cute little book - glad you enjoyed it!

    =) Jill

  3. I have to read it. It is my next buy when I visit the book store.

    Be well!

  4. I've got this one of my wishlist to be buy soon and read for a couple challenges. Thanks for the review.


  5. I want to read this. Maybe when I use some more of my gift card I will pick this book up.

  6. I have been wanting to read this book,. I have it on hold at the library. Everyone has given it fairly good reviews.

  7. I loved this one, Marg. Thought it was the perfect stocking stuffer for friends and family!

  8. I really look forward to reading this. I'm glad to heat you enjoyed it!

  9. I think that this is a book that most people would enjoy reading!

    Michele, I've linked to your review.

    Thanks for stopping by everyone.

  10. Sounds like a great story! I’ll have to add it to my list.

  11. I really enjoyed this book. It was a fun read and I though about my own reading habits as well. Hope you feel better.

  12. I hope you find your copy of Cry, the Beloved Country! It's a great book. Thanks for commenting on my review!

  13. I'm so sorry that you haven't been feeling well Marg. I hope you feel better soon!

    This book is on my TBR. Really nice review! Thanks.

  14. I'm hoping to read this in January. Thank you for the review. I hope you're feeling better soon!

  15. Sound fun to read Marg. I"ll look for it! Thanks for the recommendation.
    Saludos from Mexico.

  16. This is another of those books that is on the TBR list that I have yet to get from the library or bookstore. I guess I will have to make it a priority.