The Uncommon Reader

The Uncommon Reader

Book - 2007
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'Oh Norman,' said the Queen, 'the prime minister doesn't seem to have read any Hardy. Perhaps you could find him one of our old paperbacks on his way out.' Had the dogs not taken exception to the strange van parked in the royal grounds, the Queen might never have learnt of the Westminster travelling library's weekly visits to the palace. But finding herself at its steps, she goes up to apologise for all the yapping and ends up taking out a novel by Ivy Compton-Burnett, last borrowed in 1989. Duff read though it proves to be, upbringing demands she finish it and, so as not to appear rude, she withdraws another. This second, more fortunate choice of book awakens in Her Majesty a passion for reading so great that her public duties begin to suffer. And so, as she devours work by everyone from Hardy to Brookner to Proust to Samuel Beckett, her equerries conspire to bring the Queen's literary odyssey to a close. Subversive and highly enjoyable, The Uncommon Reader offers the perfect argument for reading, written by one of its great champions, Alan Bennett.
Publisher: London : Faber ; Profile Books, 2007.
ISBN: 9781846680496
Branch Call Number: FIC BENN
Characteristics: 124 p. ; 18 cm.


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Apr 20, 2017

Adorably written, light read. I flew through it and found it highly entertaining. Strongly recommend.

Mar 05, 2017

a quick light amusing read. Good when life is too serious to have a little pause for a smile.

Feb 17, 2017

Funny read, loosely based upon a fictionalized Queen Elizabeth. Quick read and a must for all readers.

Jan 09, 2017

Great story for people who love books. Turning Queen Elizabeth into a bookworm ignoring her other duties makes for a fun short book to read.

Aug 23, 2016

This quirky tale is on my top 10 favorite reads (or audiobooks.) For me it's a bonus that Bennett reads it himself as only AB can. I suppose one is either a fan or not. His humor delights me. Lighten up folks, it's Brit humor.

Jul 10, 2016

This is a charming, interesting book with a plot twist and quirky characters- it just wasn't my thing. I had to struggle through most of it since I wasn't very accustomed to the writing style, and I found the plot painfully slow. Still a cute, unique book though- although it certainly wasn't for me.

Aug 03, 2015

This little book is a lot of fun: droll,tongue-in-cheek English humor at its best. Anyone familiar with Bennett's "The Madness of King George" will likely appreciate this one.

forbesrachel Mar 15, 2015

The Queen has seen and done many things. Due to her lofty position, other people are respectful yet distant towards her, and her life revolves around her duty. Then one day, she discovers a bookmobile on the palace grounds, and being polite, she checks something out. So begins a delightful tale of the Queen and her growing passion for books. Some encourage this love, while others don't understand it and even try to deter her. In fact, the majority of the populace seems to lack interest in books, thus where the conflict comes from. No matter what happens though, the voices of these authors keep calling to the Queen. She considers the reasons for this, and expounds on the importance of books; they are equality. The Queen lives in a very different world than most of us, her language and actions are constant reminders of this, but in those moments with her books, we feel a shared commonality with her. She discovers the same things in them that we do. Enjoyment, empathy, and education. By reading she comes to reflect on her own life, and finally arrives at her own conclusion. Truly a charming, thoughtful, and amusing portrayal of such a well-known personage.

Mar 14, 2015

If you’d like an easy read that will make you laugh then this charming, whimsical novella is worth a look. It tells the story of how the Queen discovers the joy of reading books, albeit somewhat late in life. One day when she is out walking around the grounds of Buckingham Palace she stumbles across a mobile library, pops in for a look and borrows a book – and then another and another. Pretty soon she is hooked on reading and finds that as her enthusiasm for books increases, her enthusiasm for official duties decreases. This causes much consternation to all those around her, including the corgis. Despite the best efforts of everyone to sabotage this new, book-loving Queen, she is undeterred and continues her literary pursuits with vigour and determination. This is indeed a playful and amusing little gem.

WVMLStaffPicks Feb 01, 2015

Short and tartly sweet, this little book feels like a gift to the readers of the world. One day the Queen steps on board a bookmobile on the grounds of Buckingham Palace and just to be polite, she borrows a book. She finishes it because that is ‘the way one was brought up’ and becomes addicted to reading. Full of wonderful, humorous observations and a decidedly bookish take on life.

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