Thursday 1 December 2011

Bennett, Alan "The Uncommon Reader"

Bennett, Alan "The Uncommon Reader" - 2007

The driver of a mobile library meets Queen Elizabeth II who finds her passion for books, almost an obsession, she reads all the time and neglects her duties as the monarch.

A little satirical, a little funny, overall a pleasant book. I quite liked the references given to different other authors and novels.

And it's not just about the Queen but also about the question: How selfish is a reader? Do we exclude the real world by venturing into literature?

From the back cover:

"From one of England's most celebrated writers, the author of the award-winning The History Boys, a funny and superbly observed novella about the Queen of England and the subversive power of reading

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 (from J. R. Ackerley, Jean Genet, and Ivy Compton-Burnett to the classics) 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.

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