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The Uncommon Reader

Bennett, Alan (Book - 2008 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Uncommon Reader


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"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 ... 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."--Provided by publisher.
Authors: Bennett, Alan, 1934-
Title: The uncommon reader
Publisher: New York :, Picador/Farrar, Straus and Giroux,, [2008]
Edition: 1st Picador ed
Characteristics: 120 p. ;,19 cm
Statement of Responsibility: Alan Bennett
Notes: Originally published: London : Faber and Faber Ltd., 2007
"A novella"--Cover
Summary: "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 ... 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."--Provided by publisher.
ISBN: 0312427646
9780312427641
Branch Call Number: FICTION BENNETT 2008
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Report This Apr 03, 2014
  • KarenW rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

While the subject matter could be written with a preachy undertone, it is a perfect tale told unabashedly and with humor. The Queen coming across a mobile library, checks a book out, and then finds that reading is so all consuming she starts to subtly neglect her duties. She goes from reading whatever she likes, to challenging herself with more and more literary fare, she realizes she wants to write a book. And where that will lead her makes for a very surprising and delightful ending. This small book is one of the best novels I have read. Proof that small is just as worthy as more common sizes...

Report This Feb 15, 2014
  • texasbooks rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

this was a wonderful book to read. I would like to read more books by this author. I hope you enjoy this book too if you get a chance to read it.-+

It’s a lovely little story about a late-in-life reader who discovers the joy of reading…and yet…I found myself arguing with the abrupt ending. It made the entire book feel oddly off putting. If the Queen were as dedicated to duty as Bennett takes pains to make her appear, would she truly entertain the thought she voiced to her council?

Report This Jan 01, 2014
  • bibliotechnocrat rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

The queen, out walking her corgis, stumbles across a mobile library and against the odds takes up reading for pleasure. This is not approved of by her staff since it makes her go off script during public or state meetings (asking people what they've been reading, or asking the French president what he thinks of Jean Genet). The staff collude to discourage her from this unseemly behaviour. When her secretary raises the issue, he comments that reading is a way for her majesty to pass the time though he thinks she's lost focus as a result. '"Pass the time?"said the Queen. "Books are not about passing the time. They're about other lives. Other worlds. Far from wanting time to pass, Sir Kevin, one just wishes one had more of it"' (p. 30). This is a charming little book; Bennett uses the Queen's development as a reader to humanize her. For book people, it's a reminder of the power of reading to change perspectives (and history).

Report This Sep 09, 2013
  • sess430 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

As a reader it was fun to identify with the behaviors & feelings the Queen experienced while reading good books. Because the author is British, he uses their unique vocabulary, i.e. googly, chivvy and hoover ~ always amusing!! Reading caused the Queen to become more empathetic, which illustrates how good books can encourage us to extend our understanding to others.

Report This Jul 26, 2013
  • gracindaisy rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Queen Elizabeth becomes an avid reader late in her life resulting in surprising consequences.

Report This Jun 22, 2013
  • WVMLBookClubTitles rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Original and subversively funny, this novella from popular British writer Bennett sends Queen Elizabeth II into a mobile library van in pursuit of her runaway corgis and into the reflective, observant life of an avid reader. Guided by Norman, a former kitchen boy and enthusiast of gay authors, the queen gradually loses interest in her endless succession of official duties and learns the pleasure of such a common activity. With the dawn of her sensibility, plots are hatched by the prime minister and the queen’s staff to dispatch Norman and discourage the queen’s preoccupation with books. Ultimately, it is her own growing self-awareness that leads her away from reading and toward writing, with astonishing results.

Report This May 20, 2013
  • Toonie21 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A wonderful read about the power of books,the joy that reading can bring and excellent prose. Highly recommend.

Report This Mar 28, 2013
  • Tamaralynne rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

A very enjoyable read with dry wit and humor. Highly recommended.

Report This Mar 28, 2013
  • bwortman rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Bennett's novella is a delight. The discovery of the wonder that comes from reading books and the attendant worries of never getting to them all is beautifully described. Full of sentences that will resound with any avid reader, Bennett easily brings the behaviours with which many of us are familiar into a royal context. Brief shafts of humour shine through as we follow the Queen through her forays into literature. A short read that will charm anyone that considers themselves a reader.

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