The Uncommon Reader – Alan Bennett

Reading is not so common.

Even the Queen does it!

Alan Bennett’s book The Uncommon Reader, is the story of her majesty who one day by chance stumbles across a Mobile Library, intrigued she goes aboard and in keeping with her well brought up duty, she borrows a book.

What then starts, is a plunge into reading, discovering authors, books and prose that had passed her by as she always believed that reading was a hobby. Obviously the Queen can read but all in the sense of duty and not for pleasure. Imagine not being able to read for pleasure?

Bennett’s humour then takes us through the journey of the Queen reading, ably assisted by Norman newly promoted from the palace kitchens until the day all advisers and advisers of the influential feel he is influencing the Queen too much and he must develop his career elsewhere. This however does not stop the Queen reading, and the advisers concoct varying methods to detract from this sudden voracity for reading.  Then the Queen decides that she wants to write and the advisers then have another battle to fight.

Excellent story, well written, humorous, as relevant now as it was when it was first published. It did make me wonder about the Queen because at the end of the day nobody knows what she thinks, she writes and even she reads? If you are a fan of reading, then this book is for you as you can relate to so many of the passages and remarks and it being a novella you can fit it in as soon as you can. A gem in fact a crown jewel!

There was so much I wanted to relay about this book, I would have just basically regurgitated the whole book out in the review. No point in that but I will share some observant passages by Bennett which basically sums up how I feel about reading.

…reading was, among other things, a muscle and one that she had seemingly developed

Now if I tell my personal trainer that I am exercising my muscles by reading, do you think I will get away with it? 

What she was finding also was how one book led to another, doors kept opening wherever she turned and the days weren’t long enough for the reading she wanted to do. 

I think this should also be one blog led to another and then more books were discovered!

Sometimes one has felt like a scented candle, sent in to perfume a regimes, or aerate a policy, monarchy these days just a government-issue deodorant. 

Think that sums up most governments, she must be using a lot of perfume at the moment! 

There are more passages, quips and lines but I know I am going to read the book again and discover more, so I will let others do that as well. 

2 thoughts on “The Uncommon Reader – Alan Bennett

  1. Great review, I’m really intrigued by the book, think it just found it’s way to my TBR list.

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