The Uncommon Reader

The Uncommon Reader

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From one of England's most celebrated writers, a funny and superbly observed novella about the Queen of England and the subversive power of readingWhen 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. With the poignant and mischievous wit of The History Boys, England's best loved author revels in the power of literature to change even the most uncommon reader's more

Product details

  • Paperback | 120 pages
  • 116.84 x 177.8 x 10.16mm | 113.4g
  • Picador USA
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0312427646
  • 9780312427641
  • 21,816

Review quote

A delicious and very funny what-if.... a delightful little book that unfolds into a witty meditation on the subversive pleasures of reading.... Mr. Bennett has written a captivating fairy tale ... a tale that showcases its author's customary elan and keen but humane wit. Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times Bennett's jokes are so beautifully modulated.... The Uncommon Reader is a piece of audacious lese majeste which, in an earlier age, would have put its author's head on a spike.... Bennett knows what he is doing. The Guardian A kind of palace fairy tale for grown-ups.... [[Bennett's]] account of the queen's adventures often made me laugh out loud. Jeremy McCarter, The New York Times Briskly original and subversively funny. Publishers Weekly [Bennett's] subtle wit and tonal command show why he is so beloved in his native Britain. Kirkus Reviews Alan Bennett is one of the greatest comic writers alive, and The Uncommon Reader is Bennett at his best--touching, thoughtful, hilarious, and exquisite in its observations. Helen Fielding, author of Bridget Jones's Diary Hilarious and stunning . . . The conceit offered here by Mr. Bennett, the beloved British author and dramatist, is that a woman of power can find and love the power in books. It is a simple equation and one that yields deep rewards. In what is a surprising and surprisingly touching novella, Mr. Bennett shows us why books matter to the queen, his "uncommon reader" and why they matter so much to the rest of us. Carol Herman, The Washington Times Hilarious and pointed . . . The Uncommon Reader is a political and literary satire. But it's also a lovely lesson in the redemptive and subversive power of reading and how one book can lead to another and another and another. . . . But most of all, The Uncommon Reader is a lot of fun to read. Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today One of the most subtly ingratiating prose stylists of our time . . . charming enough and wise enough that you will certainly want to keep it around for rereading--unless you decided to share it with friends. Michael Dirda, The Washington Post Clever and entertaining . . . The Uncommon Reader is a celebration of both reading and its counterpart, independent thinking. Maud Newton, Los Angeles Times "show more

About Alan Bennett

Alan Bennett has been one of England's leading dramatists since the success of Beyond the Fringe in the 1960s. His work includes the Talking Heads television series, and the stage plays Forty Years On, The Lady in the Van, A Question of Attribution, and The Madness of King George III. His most recent play, The History Boys, now a major motion picture won six Tony Awards, including best play, in 2006. In the same year his memoir, Untold Stories, was a number-one bestseller in the United more

Review Text

From one of England's most celebrated writers, the author of the award-winning "The more

Customer reviews

The Uncommon Reader is a novella by novelist and playwright, Alan Bennett. The story starts with the Queen coming across the mobile library van parked near Buckingham Palace, where Norman, a young man from the kitchens, is choosing a book. After making small talk with the driver/librarian and the kitchen hand, she feels duty-bound to borrow a book. Which she, of course, dutifully reads and returns the following week for another. Soon enough, she has Norman transferred from the kitchens to assist her in her new favourite pastime, reading. This delightful dose of British humour speculates on what happens to the royal duties and the royal household as the Queen gives in to her obsession. Full of laugh-out-loud moments, especially the last more
by Marianne Vincent
A lovely easy to read fictional novel which shows us how dangerous it can be if you become an avid reader who then wants to become a writer.......especially if you are the more
by Gillian Camilleri