What a little gem of a book.
I picked up The Uncommon Reader purely on whim (as well as being enticed by the slimness of its pages!)
I wont give away any of the good bits except to say that in such a small book, Bennett manages to pack in a whole lot about the joys of reading as well as discussing the relevancy (or not) of the monachy.
A few quick quotes to tempt you…
“…reading purely for pleasure, not enlightenment, though part of the pleasure was the enlightenment.”
“Books did not care who was reading them or whether one read them or not. All readers were equal, herself included.”
“She’d never taken much interest in reading….It was a hobby and it was in the nature of her job that she didn’t have hobbies….Hobbies involved preferences and preferences had to be avoided; preferences excluded people….Her job was to take an interest, not to be interested herself.”
Full of subversive humour and gentle republicanism, Bennett is also not afraid to take a sly dig at authors themselves. A book that trumpets the wonders of books & reading is the perfect choice for me at any time!
Alan Bennett is one of Britain’s best-loved literary voices. With The Uncommon Reader, he brings us a playful homage to the written word, imagining a world in which literature becomes a subversive bridge between powerbrokers and commoners.
By turns cheeky and charming, the novella features the Queen herself as its protagonist. When her yapping corgis lead her to a mobile library, Her Majesty develops a new obsession with reading. She finds herself devouring works by a tantalizing range of authors, from the Brontë sisters to Jean Genet.
With a young member of the palace kitchen staff guiding her choices, it’s not long before the Queen begins to develop a new perspective on the world – one that alarms her closest advisers and tempts her to make bold new decisions. Brimming with the mischievous wit that has garnered acclaim for Bennett on both sides of the Atlantic, The Uncommon Reader is a delightful celebration of books and writers, and the readers who sustain them.