The Uncommon Reader

The Uncommon Reader❴Read❵ ➳ The Uncommon Reader Author Alan Bennett – Jobs-in-kingston.co.uk 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 Norm 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 The Uncommon ePUB ô Aided by Norman, a young man from the palace kitchen who frequents the library, the Queen is transformed as she discovers the liberating pleasures of the written wordThe author of the Tony Award winner The History Boys, Alan Bennett is one of Britain’s bestloved 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 worldone 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. Utterly charming book about the Queen stumbling across a mobile library that visits Buckingham Palace regularly and being assisted to choose reading matter by the helpful Norman. It's unusual because it shows how limited the Queen is by her very proper job which might not look like one, christening ships, knighting people, opening hospitals, hosting dinner parties and being nice to foreign politicians, but it certainly would feel like one. She escapes not from reality with a book, but into it, into our reality, how we all live.

To say more about the story would spoil this absolute gem of a book. Each facet is a carefully-polished, succinct paragraph of the best of slightly-comic writing on the surface, but there are always glints of Bennett's attitudes, tastes and where he would like to influence the reader with his obviously socialist stance. (Note to Americans, this is quite acceptable, and might even be praiseworthy, in Europe).

Bennett says that the reader creates the character as much as the author, which is, of course, self-evident. It is the reason why films often disappoint - the director's vision has clashed with that of the readers. That said, I would still love to see a play, a small film of this book. No one has ever written about the Queen in quite this way before: someone who would deeply like to be human and explore herself rather than being some sort of demi-god in a gilded cage of utmost comfort and deepest isolation.

In real life the Queen is supposed to have plastic containers of cereals on her breakfast table (placed there by the butler or the footman) and for holidays in a cottage in Scotland actually cooks for and washes up after the family and wears exactly what she pleases. A holiday? Not for us, oh no, she's not like us at all.
This is a wonderfully humorous, subversive and comic homage to literature penned by non other than the great and incomparable treasure that is Alan Bennett. I listened to the audio, charmed by the narration by the author himself. This is a short book, worth its weight in gold, which has Her Majesty, the Queen of England inadvertently discover the mobile library, so beginning her early faltering steps to becoming an avid reader and bookworm. A whole world opens up, in which she is guided by Norman, who works in the kitchens and comes to be the Queens confidant and book guide. However, not everyone is best pleased, her household staff and private secretary, New Zealander Sir Kevin are alarmed and go out of their way to dissuade the Queen from finding pleasure in reading. There is behind the scenes meddling and political machinations as they get rid of Norman. However, nothing will sway Her Majesty as by this stage the unwelcome thought enters her mind that she no longer needs Norman and sets forth her own path in the world of books. Her developments begin to terrify the political establishment as the Queen with a twinkle in her eye, has mischief on her mind. I strongly urge anyone who loves books to read this as Alan Bennett has the Queen reading an extraordinarily diverse range of authors that is bound to catch the interest of any reader. Bennett is an author of gentle wit and a subversive turn of mind. You are missing a treat if you do not read this. Simply Fantastic! The Queen takes a stroll around the grounds of Buckingham Palace with her Corgis. She notices a van parked up outside the kitchens. On further investigation she finds that the vehicle is a mobile library. Intrigued, she enters the van and meets Hutchings the driver and Norman an awkward young kitchen worker and great book lover.
Realising that she virtually never reads books the queen picks up a title or two. So begins a love of reading and an obsession with literature.
This doesn’t go down well with all of her advisors and begins to cause problems as the book bug takes hold.
The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett, one of our most distinguished playwrights and screenwriters, is a gently funny and wise fable

.. and very short.
I can almost hear Bennett’s cultured northern tones and see a twinkle in his eyes behind his glasses, a mischievous smile on his lips.
There’s a little light social comment and a gentle prod at the absurdity of monarchy but it’s all playful. I got the impression that Mr Bennett feels a lot of affection for the Queen and empathises with her singular experience of life.
This whimsical, amusing and beautifully written little book is a must for all book lovers. Alan Bennett brings to life what a world would be like if Queen Elizabeth II started reading voraciously after stumbling upon a travelling library


“You don't put your life into your books, you find it there.”

Quaint and quiet I think can best describe this. Bennett's usual work is often quite in your face with it's definite humour, but the funny side of this book seems to boil away quietly underneath, rearing it's lovely little head every now and then like a little postage stamp on the edge of a letter.

We follow the Queen of England (and other countries beside) as she becomes a reader, a dedicated reader and finally a rather obtuse reader. I've never read a book about reading before, so can't comment on how this differs or remains similar, but it offers a great insight in to what readers go through as they begin-and continue-their reading journey.

“I think of literature, she wrote, as a vast country to the far borders of which I am journeying but will never reach. And I have started too late. I will never catch up.”

It's kind of like needing someone on the outside to point out that you've got a bit of gravy on your chin, because you can't see it yourself. It's a nice little look in to the world of the Monarchy, as well, without being overly trite and condescending (only the correct amount). It treats them with equal amounts of endearment and contempt, which is a nice way of looking at them. Not always upwards.

I didn't quite get the Bennettesque Wonder and Awe that I usually get with his works, though I can't figure out why. I feel like I need to not be English to like this book a bit more. It's funny and charming and a bit cheeky. It makes you think: about the monarchy, the world in general and yourself as a reader, but it never really went beyond that. It's lovely in it's own way but I feel (countless gay references aside) that if you go from this to any other Bennett work you might be in for a bit of a culture shock. This is a loveable book about love of books It's a small volume (literally), originally a short story published in a British magazine. It starts when the corgis drag the Queen to a bookmobile on palace grounds and Her Majesty feels obligated to take one. In time this seed sown from her sense of duty blossoms into a love of reading for pleasure and which grows into an obsession. For the corgis, the books become objects of jealousy to steal and mangle whenever possible. For Prince Philip they're a target of believably snobby snarky one-liners. At times the changing Queen stumps her subjects and stymies her staff and government.

The transition is steady but not smooth. In her first encounter with Henry James the Queen orders the book to get on with it. And then she's every avid reader, reluctant to stop even when duty calls. She's also all of us who relish reviewing. She says Proust is really someone to whom one would have wanted to say, 'Oh, do pull your socks up.' Towards the end her thoughts turn from reading to writing and Bennett focuses more on reactions to Queen Elizabeth 2.0;. From that point the story drags a bit until its great ending. Almost all of it is clever and witty. It's a most enjoyable book
and for this American, at this time, a great way to get her mind off a different head of state: one who detests reading and writes with a Sharpie. Oh wow. If I could give this book six stars, or heck, even ten, I would. It is so great--there's a lot of subtlety in here that Readers' Advisory librarians will definitely clue into, especially in how society views readers, reading, and books.

A lot of us read, sure. A lot of us really enjoy books. But because we are average joes, commoners, small potatoes, this is nothing groundbreaking. It likely will not become upsetting if we take up reading as a hobby. But what if someone important takes up reading, at a late stage in life? What if that somebody is more than important--what if that person is a figurehead, an influential presence of tradition, or otherwise very powerful, in oblique ways? What if that person happened to be the Queen of England?

That's the premise of this romping little read that has a surprising amount of substance. Queen Elizabeth stumbles across a bookmobile by the palace, feels compelled by good manners to check out a book, struggles through it, returns it, and again feels compelled to take out another. This one she finds delightful, and so the die is cast. This is so completely out of character for the Queen--she allows herself few hobbies and interests that would indicate a preference for anything, and now here she is, preferring books, developing a love for them, and as she reads more and more, developing some pretty heavy ideas that influence the person she is and how she reigns and interacts with her subjects.

But not everyone likes this new habit, hobby, tendency, addiction, whatever. RA librarians will recognize some of the arguments that the Queen's politicians and such make: Reading is selfish. Reading isolates you. Reading will alienate others from you. It's one thing to read this in an RA textbook; it hits home a lot harder when you read it being discussed in a fiction book.


The book is mainly dialogue-driven, with a fair amount of character development being devoted to the Queen. It all gets resolved in a tidy, unexpected, funny, and completely ludicrous manner at the end, and the ending is suitably off-beat, just like the rest of the book.

READ IT!
How can I not like a book about someone who loves to read? In this case that someone just happens to be the Queen of England .It was clever and really a pleasure to read. There is not too much to say about the plot; its a short read. However,like others,I'll mention a few of my favorite quotes.

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.

Books are not about passing the time. They are about other lives. Other Worlds.

One reads for pleasure, said the Queen. It is not a public duty.

You don't put your life into your books. You find it there.

Who is above literature? You might as well say one is above humanity. The Old Gal, (the Queen), is reading
.'again'!!!!

Reading is untidy discursive and perpetually inviting. Briefing closes down a subject, reading opens it up.


With this dictionary always in hand, Norman read out: 'Opsimath: one who learns late in life'.
It was a sense of making up for lost time that made her read with such rapidity and in the process now making more frequent (and more confident) comments of her own, bringing to what was in effect literary criticism the same forthrightness with which she tackled other departments of her life.

Read ma'ma?
'Books'?
'When I get a chance, ma'am. I never seem to find the time.
'That's what a lot of people say. One must make the time. Take this morning. You're going to be sitting outside the town hall waiting for me. You could read then.'

For my 'reader' friends her on Goodreads
.I've a question: When you walk into Starbucks and see a person sitting quietly reading a book - rather than on their smart-phone or laptop - do you also get a little more 'excited'? Aren't you dying to ask them what are you reading? (and do you?)

This little gem about the Queen's awakening to reading late in life is a delicious treat! My own 'late-in-life-journey' only started 9 or 10 years ago. Rating: 4.125* of five

Witty, irreverent, and completely charming, Bennett's novella is one I would sincerely hope that Her Majesty read and laughed at when it was published.

There are many reviews of this effervescent entertainment, so I will confine myself to noting that the book carries with it a none-too-subtle punch line which I can't imagine would have made Mr. Bennett more likely to be in line for a life peerage, but which I can imagine made him a popular figure around Highgrove.

A delightful bagatelle of a book. Recommended to anyone not connected with the Royal Family.

Creative
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Reading this feels like putting a pot of water on to boil, forgetting about it, and coming back to find a delightful stew. The analogy relates to Queen Elizabeth wandering into a bookmobile, getting hooked on reading books, and the various consequences that ensue.

I have 14 or 16 GR friends now who rate this 4 or better. Must be the word reader in the title that inspires a grab. You can’t go wrong, as it’s a short pleasant read. Very subtle and understated, with humor that builds quietly until you have to burst out laughing. Nothing over-the-top. It’s very realistic for how reading changes your outlook and how one book leads to another.

I would like to convey enough from the book to hook you, but would not like to spoil any of your fun. I choose to share a sample of her reaction to one book, an example of resistance by others to her reading, and one distillation of the appeal of reading to her. Near the beginning the story, it was the second book the Queen read that got her hooked, a romance by Nancy Mitford:

The Pursuit of Love turned out to be a fortunate choice and in its way a momentous one. Had Her Majesty gone for another duff read, an early George Eliot, say, or a late Henry James, novice reader that she was, she might have been put off reading for good and there would be no story to tell. Books, she would have thought, were work.

As it was, with this one she soon became engrossed, and passing her bedroom that night clutching his hot-water bottle, the duke heard her laugh out loud. He put his head around the door. 'All right, old girl?'

'Of course, I'm reading.'

The Queen encounters diverse reactions to her reading and a bit of conspiracy led by her PR manager, Sir Kevin, to thwart her new passion:

‘To read is to withdraw. To make oneself unavailable. One would feel easier about it,’ said Sir Kevin, ‘if the pursuit itself were less …selfish.’
‘Selfish?’
‘Perhaps I should say solipsistic.’
‘Perhaps you should.’

Here is one of the Queen’s insights about the power of reading for her:

The appeal of reading, she thought, lay in its indifference: there was something undeferring about literature. Books didn’t care who was reading them or not. All readers were equal, herself included.

So as you can see, we have a bit of a fable on the subversive power of reading. There are no specific cases of the content of a specific book inciting high passions or inspiring intellectual conclusions that alter critical political choices. The restraint on the part of Bennett in this way somehow makes it more compelling and moving to experience the impact of reading on the Queen’s daily life and empathy for people of different walks of life.

The Uncommon Reader PDF ´ The Uncommon  ePUB ô
    The Uncommon Reader PDF ´ The Uncommon ePUB ô 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 worldone 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. Utterly charming book about the Queen stumbling across a mobile library that visits Buckingham Palace regularly and being assisted to choose reading matter by the helpful Norman. It's unusual because it shows how limited the Queen is by her very proper job which might not look like one, christening ships, knighting people, opening hospitals, hosting dinner parties and being nice to foreign politicians, but it certainly would feel like one. She escapes not from reality with a book, but into it, into our reality, how we all live.

    To say more about the story would spoil this absolute gem of a book. Each facet is a carefully-polished, succinct paragraph of the best of slightly-comic writing on the surface, but there are always glints of Bennett's attitudes, tastes and where he would like to influence the reader with his obviously socialist stance. (Note to Americans, this is quite acceptable, and might even be praiseworthy, in Europe).

    Bennett says that the reader creates the character as much as the author, which is, of course, self-evident. It is the reason why films often disappoint - the director's vision has clashed with that of the readers. That said, I would still love to see a play, a small film of this book. No one has ever written about the Queen in quite this way before: someone who would deeply like to be human and explore herself rather than being some sort of demi-god in a gilded cage of utmost comfort and deepest isolation.

    In real life the Queen is supposed to have plastic containers of cereals on her breakfast table (placed there by the butler or the footman) and for holidays in a cottage in Scotland actually cooks for and washes up after the family and wears exactly what she pleases. A holiday? Not for us, oh no, she's not like us at all.
    This is a wonderfully humorous, subversive and comic homage to literature penned by non other than the great and incomparable treasure that is Alan Bennett. I listened to the audio, charmed by the narration by the author himself. This is a short book, worth its weight in gold, which has Her Majesty, the Queen of England inadvertently discover the mobile library, so beginning her early faltering steps to becoming an avid reader and bookworm. A whole world opens up, in which she is guided by Norman, who works in the kitchens and comes to be the Queens confidant and book guide. However, not everyone is best pleased, her household staff and private secretary, New Zealander Sir Kevin are alarmed and go out of their way to dissuade the Queen from finding pleasure in reading. There is behind the scenes meddling and political machinations as they get rid of Norman. However, nothing will sway Her Majesty as by this stage the unwelcome thought enters her mind that she no longer needs Norman and sets forth her own path in the world of books. Her developments begin to terrify the political establishment as the Queen with a twinkle in her eye, has mischief on her mind. I strongly urge anyone who loves books to read this as Alan Bennett has the Queen reading an extraordinarily diverse range of authors that is bound to catch the interest of any reader. Bennett is an author of gentle wit and a subversive turn of mind. You are missing a treat if you do not read this. Simply Fantastic! The Queen takes a stroll around the grounds of Buckingham Palace with her Corgis. She notices a van parked up outside the kitchens. On further investigation she finds that the vehicle is a mobile library. Intrigued, she enters the van and meets Hutchings the driver and Norman an awkward young kitchen worker and great book lover.
    Realising that she virtually never reads books the queen picks up a title or two. So begins a love of reading and an obsession with literature.
    This doesn’t go down well with all of her advisors and begins to cause problems as the book bug takes hold.
    The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett, one of our most distinguished playwrights and screenwriters, is a gently funny and wise fable

    .. and very short.
    I can almost hear Bennett’s cultured northern tones and see a twinkle in his eyes behind his glasses, a mischievous smile on his lips.
    There’s a little light social comment and a gentle prod at the absurdity of monarchy but it’s all playful. I got the impression that Mr Bennett feels a lot of affection for the Queen and empathises with her singular experience of life.
    This whimsical, amusing and beautifully written little book is a must for all book lovers. Alan Bennett brings to life what a world would be like if Queen Elizabeth II started reading voraciously after stumbling upon a travelling library


    “You don't put your life into your books, you find it there.”

    Quaint and quiet I think can best describe this. Bennett's usual work is often quite in your face with it's definite humour, but the funny side of this book seems to boil away quietly underneath, rearing it's lovely little head every now and then like a little postage stamp on the edge of a letter.

    We follow the Queen of England (and other countries beside) as she becomes a reader, a dedicated reader and finally a rather obtuse reader. I've never read a book about reading before, so can't comment on how this differs or remains similar, but it offers a great insight in to what readers go through as they begin-and continue-their reading journey.

    “I think of literature, she wrote, as a vast country to the far borders of which I am journeying but will never reach. And I have started too late. I will never catch up.”

    It's kind of like needing someone on the outside to point out that you've got a bit of gravy on your chin, because you can't see it yourself. It's a nice little look in to the world of the Monarchy, as well, without being overly trite and condescending (only the correct amount). It treats them with equal amounts of endearment and contempt, which is a nice way of looking at them. Not always upwards.

    I didn't quite get the Bennettesque Wonder and Awe that I usually get with his works, though I can't figure out why. I feel like I need to not be English to like this book a bit more. It's funny and charming and a bit cheeky. It makes you think: about the monarchy, the world in general and yourself as a reader, but it never really went beyond that. It's lovely in it's own way but I feel (countless gay references aside) that if you go from this to any other Bennett work you might be in for a bit of a culture shock. This is a loveable book about love of books It's a small volume (literally), originally a short story published in a British magazine. It starts when the corgis drag the Queen to a bookmobile on palace grounds and Her Majesty feels obligated to take one. In time this seed sown from her sense of duty blossoms into a love of reading for pleasure and which grows into an obsession. For the corgis, the books become objects of jealousy to steal and mangle whenever possible. For Prince Philip they're a target of believably snobby snarky one-liners. At times the changing Queen stumps her subjects and stymies her staff and government.

    The transition is steady but not smooth. In her first encounter with Henry James the Queen orders the book to get on with it. And then she's every avid reader, reluctant to stop even when duty calls. She's also all of us who relish reviewing. She says Proust is really someone to whom one would have wanted to say, 'Oh, do pull your socks up.' Towards the end her thoughts turn from reading to writing and Bennett focuses more on reactions to Queen Elizabeth 2.0;. From that point the story drags a bit until its great ending. Almost all of it is clever and witty. It's a most enjoyable book
    and for this American, at this time, a great way to get her mind off a different head of state: one who detests reading and writes with a Sharpie. Oh wow. If I could give this book six stars, or heck, even ten, I would. It is so great--there's a lot of subtlety in here that Readers' Advisory librarians will definitely clue into, especially in how society views readers, reading, and books.

    A lot of us read, sure. A lot of us really enjoy books. But because we are average joes, commoners, small potatoes, this is nothing groundbreaking. It likely will not become upsetting if we take up reading as a hobby. But what if someone important takes up reading, at a late stage in life? What if that somebody is more than important--what if that person is a figurehead, an influential presence of tradition, or otherwise very powerful, in oblique ways? What if that person happened to be the Queen of England?

    That's the premise of this romping little read that has a surprising amount of substance. Queen Elizabeth stumbles across a bookmobile by the palace, feels compelled by good manners to check out a book, struggles through it, returns it, and again feels compelled to take out another. This one she finds delightful, and so the die is cast. This is so completely out of character for the Queen--she allows herself few hobbies and interests that would indicate a preference for anything, and now here she is, preferring books, developing a love for them, and as she reads more and more, developing some pretty heavy ideas that influence the person she is and how she reigns and interacts with her subjects.

    But not everyone likes this new habit, hobby, tendency, addiction, whatever. RA librarians will recognize some of the arguments that the Queen's politicians and such make: Reading is selfish. Reading isolates you. Reading will alienate others from you. It's one thing to read this in an RA textbook; it hits home a lot harder when you read it being discussed in a fiction book.


    The book is mainly dialogue-driven, with a fair amount of character development being devoted to the Queen. It all gets resolved in a tidy, unexpected, funny, and completely ludicrous manner at the end, and the ending is suitably off-beat, just like the rest of the book.

    READ IT!
    How can I not like a book about someone who loves to read? In this case that someone just happens to be the Queen of England .It was clever and really a pleasure to read. There is not too much to say about the plot; its a short read. However,like others,I'll mention a few of my favorite quotes.

    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.

    Books are not about passing the time. They are about other lives. Other Worlds.

    One reads for pleasure, said the Queen. It is not a public duty.

    You don't put your life into your books. You find it there.

    Who is above literature? You might as well say one is above humanity. The Old Gal, (the Queen), is reading
    .'again'!!!!

    Reading is untidy discursive and perpetually inviting. Briefing closes down a subject, reading opens it up.


    With this dictionary always in hand, Norman read out: 'Opsimath: one who learns late in life'.
    It was a sense of making up for lost time that made her read with such rapidity and in the process now making more frequent (and more confident) comments of her own, bringing to what was in effect literary criticism the same forthrightness with which she tackled other departments of her life.

    Read ma'ma?
    'Books'?
    'When I get a chance, ma'am. I never seem to find the time.
    'That's what a lot of people say. One must make the time. Take this morning. You're going to be sitting outside the town hall waiting for me. You could read then.'

    For my 'reader' friends her on Goodreads
    .I've a question: When you walk into Starbucks and see a person sitting quietly reading a book - rather than on their smart-phone or laptop - do you also get a little more 'excited'? Aren't you dying to ask them what are you reading? (and do you?)

    This little gem about the Queen's awakening to reading late in life is a delicious treat! My own 'late-in-life-journey' only started 9 or 10 years ago. Rating: 4.125* of five

    Witty, irreverent, and completely charming, Bennett's novella is one I would sincerely hope that Her Majesty read and laughed at when it was published.

    There are many reviews of this effervescent entertainment, so I will confine myself to noting that the book carries with it a none-too-subtle punch line which I can't imagine would have made Mr. Bennett more likely to be in line for a life peerage, but which I can imagine made him a popular figure around Highgrove.

    A delightful bagatelle of a book. Recommended to anyone not connected with the Royal Family.

    Creative
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Reading this feels like putting a pot of water on to boil, forgetting about it, and coming back to find a delightful stew. The analogy relates to Queen Elizabeth wandering into a bookmobile, getting hooked on reading books, and the various consequences that ensue.

    I have 14 or 16 GR friends now who rate this 4 or better. Must be the word reader in the title that inspires a grab. You can’t go wrong, as it’s a short pleasant read. Very subtle and understated, with humor that builds quietly until you have to burst out laughing. Nothing over-the-top. It’s very realistic for how reading changes your outlook and how one book leads to another.

    I would like to convey enough from the book to hook you, but would not like to spoil any of your fun. I choose to share a sample of her reaction to one book, an example of resistance by others to her reading, and one distillation of the appeal of reading to her. Near the beginning the story, it was the second book the Queen read that got her hooked, a romance by Nancy Mitford:

    The Pursuit of Love turned out to be a fortunate choice and in its way a momentous one. Had Her Majesty gone for another duff read, an early George Eliot, say, or a late Henry James, novice reader that she was, she might have been put off reading for good and there would be no story to tell. Books, she would have thought, were work.

    As it was, with this one she soon became engrossed, and passing her bedroom that night clutching his hot-water bottle, the duke heard her laugh out loud. He put his head around the door. 'All right, old girl?'

    'Of course, I'm reading.'

    The Queen encounters diverse reactions to her reading and a bit of conspiracy led by her PR manager, Sir Kevin, to thwart her new passion:

    ‘To read is to withdraw. To make oneself unavailable. One would feel easier about it,’ said Sir Kevin, ‘if the pursuit itself were less …selfish.’
    ‘Selfish?’
    ‘Perhaps I should say solipsistic.’
    ‘Perhaps you should.’

    Here is one of the Queen’s insights about the power of reading for her:

    The appeal of reading, she thought, lay in its indifference: there was something undeferring about literature. Books didn’t care who was reading them or not. All readers were equal, herself included.

    So as you can see, we have a bit of a fable on the subversive power of reading. There are no specific cases of the content of a specific book inciting high passions or inspiring intellectual conclusions that alter critical political choices. The restraint on the part of Bennett in this way somehow makes it more compelling and moving to experience the impact of reading on the Queen’s daily life and empathy for people of different walks of life.
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  • Hardcover
  • 124 pages
  • The Uncommon Reader
  • Alan Bennett
  • English
  • 07 September 2019
  • 9781846680496