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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » The Uncommon Reader: A Novella » User review

A charming, entertaining, and thought-provoking reader

  • Oct 21, 2007
  • by
Rating:
+5
For such a slim novella, "The Uncommon Reader" operates on many levels. Most obviously, it is a charming, comedic story. But it's also a meditation on the merits ... and the limits ... of books and reading as a means of opening one's eyes (as the book's subject might say) and softening one's sensibilities. It's about what an awakening familiarity with literature can do to a person, and also the havoc it can create for people who expect life to be led in certain familiar pattern. That's a lot to fit into a hundred-and-some pages, but Alan Bennett does it extremely well. Though I'd been somewhat familiar with him for some time, this is the first time I've really explored his writing. No wonder he's thought of so highly.

One of the things that most pleased me about this book was the sympathetic and affectionate portrayal of Her Majesty. With so many people evidently taking it for granted that the Windsors are all a bunch of cold-hearted nitwits, Bennett's Queen is -- if admittedly somewhat limited in the breadth of her education -- thoughtful, self-aware, eager to learn, and on the whole a most memorable personality.

I think anyone who enjoys reading and appreciates the power of books will enjoy watching The Queen's royal progress in these pages. But beware: the realization she eventually reaches (about writing as well as reading) is one I believe Bennett wants to lead every reader to, common or otherwise.

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More The Uncommon Reader: A Novella reviews
review by . April 25, 2009
It's good to be Queen, but it does have its drawbacks -- long periods of tedium in slow-moving vehicles, a relentless round of ceremonial duties, and a bird's eye view of everyday life. What better solution to these drawbacks than the pages of a good book?      The Uncommon Reader: A Novella is a quirky little book about Queen Elizabeth II and her discovery of the joys of reading. Pursuing her yapping corgis through the grounds of Windsor Castle, she ends up in the library bookmobile …
review by . April 06, 2008
It's good to be Queen, but it does have its drawbacks -- long periods of tedium in slow-moving vehicles, a relentless round of ceremonial duties, and a bird's eye view of everyday life. What better solution to these drawbacks than the pages of a good book?    The Uncommon Reader: A Novella is a quirky little book about Queen Elizabeth II and her discovery of the joys of reading. Pursuing her yapping corgis through the grounds of Windsor Castle, she ends up in the library bookmobile …
review by . March 27, 2008
This short and sweet novella is many things: humorous, witty, insightful, linguistic, intelligent, and even mysterious. We follow Queen Elizabeth II of England as she discovers a love for reading late in life; her thirst for books is one many a bibliophile can relate to. Those of us who have friends and relatives who occasionally insist that we need to set aside books to "interact" or "try something else" will recognize a kindred spirit in Her Majesty as the queen hides books nearby in order to …
review by . October 20, 2007
Once upon a time the Queen of England was walking her dogs in the Buckingham Palace gardens when they took an interest in the bookmobile parked behind the palace kitchens. When the dogs refused to come back to her, Queen Elizabeth went to retrieve them and decided to borrow a book from the mobile library just to be polite. Before she knew it, one book led to another, and the good Queen became an avid reader and lived happily ever after.    Alan Bennett's The Uncommon Reader is …
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Andrew S. Rogers ()
Ranked #364
Mostly, I'm a moderately prolific Amazon.com reviewer who's giving Lunch a try as another venue for my reviews.
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About this book

Wiki

From the author of The History Boys and The Clothes They Stood Up In
A deliciously funny novella that celebrates the pleasure of reading.
When the Queen in pursuit of her wandering corgis stumbles upon a
mobile library she feels duty bound to borrow a book. Aided by
Norman, a young man from the palace kitchen who frequents the
library, Bennett describes the Queen's transformation as she
discovers the liberating pleasures of the written word. With the
poignant and mischievous wit of The History Boys, England's best
loved author revels in the power of literature to change even the
most uncommon reader's life.
view wiki

Details

ISBN-10: 0374280967
ISBN-13: 978-0374280963
Author: Alan Bennett
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1st edition (September 18, 2007)
First to Review

"Queen Everyman"
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