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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 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 word.The author of the TA 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 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 word.The author of the Tony Award winner The History Boys, 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....

Title : The Uncommon Reader
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781846680496
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 124 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Uncommon Reader Reviews

  • Petra X
    2019-01-14 09:59

    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.

  • Joey Woolfardis
    2018-12-28 02:05

    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 to 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.

  • The Book Maven
    2019-01-10 03:42

    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!

  • Michael
    2018-12-27 07:00

    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.

  • Saleh MoonWalker
    2019-01-05 10:06

    Onvan : The Uncommon Reader - Nevisande : Alan Bennett - ISBN : 374280967 - ISBN13 : 9780374280963 - Dar 120 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2007

  • Richard Derus
    2019-01-02 03:56

    Rating: 4.125* of fiveWitty, 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. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

  • Manny
    2019-01-16 07:07

    Several people had recommended The Uncommon Reader to me over the last year, but somehow I only got around to it this morning. Don't be as slow as I was! The idea is very simple - the Queen gets hooked on reading - but Bennett handles it perfectly. It's a delight, and takes about an hour to read.Maybe a short extract will do the job:'Exploded?' said the Queen. 'But it was Anita Brookner.'The young man, who seemed remarkably undeferential, said security may have thought it was a device.The Queen said: 'Yes. That is exactly what it is. A book is a device to ignite the imagination.'The footman said: 'Yes, ma'am.'It was as if he was talking to his grandmother, and not for the first time the Queen was made unpleasantly aware of the hostility her reading seemed to arouse. 'Very well,' she said. 'Then you should inform security that I shall expect to find another copy of the same book, vetted and explosive-free, waiting on my desk tomorrow morning. And another thing. The carriage cushions are filthy. Look at my gloves.' Her Majesty departed.'Fuck,' said the footman, fishing out the book from where he had been told to hide it down the front of his breeches.

  • Duane
    2019-01-02 09:56

    My first thought was, "I wonder what the Queen thought of this". She probably didn't read it, and if she did, I hope she thought it was funny because it was. In this story she becomes an avid reader after accidentally stumbling upon a mobile library outside the palace. I didn't count them, but Bennett mentions more book titles and authors names than any book I've read. The Queen, much to everyones dismay, spends all her time reading and begins to neglect her queenly duties. She takes on everything from Austen to Proust and her reactions to all this diversity is priceless. Just an all-around fun read.

  • Elyse
    2019-01-21 03:39

    "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.

  • TK421
    2019-01-19 02:02

    What would happen if the Queen started to notice the little things in life? You know, the type of things that seem to only matter to the lower stations. Futhermore, what if she was only noticing these things because she started reading books? That is the premise to this very fast-paced novella from Alan Bennett. Overall, this story has some wonderful insight in to the magic of reading, exploring new worlds and meeting new characters through the written word. Additionally, this slim story is also a warning: What happens to a person when they stop/never read? Both hysterically funny and poignatly sad, THE UNCOMMON READER fulfills every readers niche. I'm confident that as you read this story you will find yourself shaking your head in agreement, snickering, and/or relating to the many off-handed comments and glances the Queen Mother receives because of her newly found passion.To say more would only spoil the story.HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

  • Margitte
    2019-01-11 01:49

    This was a delightful interlude. Indeed, a mischievous wit is driving this novella about the Queen discovering reading and the consequences for the nation.The opening incident in the book with the French president started me off with wicked giggles, and it continued with the subtle parody on staff and politicians gracing her majesty's world. A perfect Sunday afternoon read. Great read for Mother's Day!

  • Kinga
    2019-01-10 05:06

    What’s better for a book lover than a book about books? It’s like when Xzbit in Pimp My Ride puts a car inside of your car because he knows you love cars.And Alan Bennett puts books in your book. He also puts the Queen there, so you know you are in for a treat. Imagine that the Queen, old as she is, suddenly discovers the joy of reading. She engages a certain Nelson to help her acquire books and guide her through the world of literature. That does sound like a dream job, doesn’t it? To become someone’s personal literary adviser. The Queen is a perfect student, too. Her thirst for books in unquenchable. She doesn’t want to talk about anything else but books and tortures her subjects constantly asking their opinions on this author or another. Don’t I know what it’s like! My friends often shout desperately: ’can we talk about something other than books!?’ To which I say: ‘Sure, fine. What did you have for breakfast then?’. It's only here, on goodreads, that I feel I am understood.Bennett beautifully describes the progress we make as readers, how every book sets a bar higher and we are able to take on more complex and ambitious books. That, of course, will never happen if you just read paranormal romance for the rest of your days.Bennett also proposes a thesis that reading must eventually lead to writing. He believes in supremacy of writing over reading, believes it to be somewhat nobler than reading. I am not sure I agree with this. It takes a whole lot of self-control, modesty (and obviously being a better person than I am) to be satisfied with reading only and not have that grandiose need to write.It was also quite brave of Bennett to take on the Queen as his heroine. And to make her into a human being as well! I applaud you, sir. To be honest with you, if there was a good thing about growing up in a communist country it was that absolute certainty that people are equal. And then I came to UK. I find this whole business of Royal Family and aristocracy extremely funny/sad. In my work I deal with quite a lot of Lords and Ladies and such and was trained in addressing them correctly. I thought it was very cute and funny until I realized that my employers are actually for real. Until I saw the CEO assuming a very submissive tone when speaking to the Earl of ThisorThat. It made me want to scream – it is 21st century! These people are not ACTUALLY better than us! Their blood is really red, not blue! Are you all crazy?

  • Rowizyx
    2018-12-26 06:57

    Libro sottile e che si legge molto rapidamente, ma non per questo una velina: mi è piaciuta molto l'idea di Bennett di rendere la regina un'assidua lettrice e mandare così in crisi tutto l'establishment intorno alla sua persona, perché non sta bene che una sovrana abbia un hobby così solitario e le tante sciocchezze che le ripete il primo ministro (LOL, è davvero Tony Blair). È bellissimo come viene descritto il potere della lettura e il percorso di crescita della regina come lettrice, che mette su dei gusti personali, impara a comprendere sfumature e sottigliezze che a causa della sua educazione le sfuggivano, a riflettere su molte cose a cui prima di cominciare a leggere non notava nemmeno. Ed è frustrante (ma anche spettacolare) vedere come l'atto di leggere volontariamente e per passione sia preso come segno di demenza: un libro è davvero uno strumento potentissimo.Il tutto in uno stile molto british davvero divertente. Bella scoperta, ora devo vedere che altro c'è di Bennett in biblioteca.

  • Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore
    2018-12-27 06:54

    A delightful (and slightly crazy) little novel about books and reading and the many worlds they take the reader into or rather the world they take us away from. When the Queen stumbles upon a mobile library outside one of the kitchen doors, and borrows an Ivy Compton-Burnett book just to be polite, little does she know that this is to be the beginning of a love affair with books. She is delighted, and soon lost as any of us readers are as she moves through Mitford and Ackerley, Dickens and Henry James, Sylvia Plath and Lauren Bacall, Compton-Burnett and Alice Munro, among countless others―no longer as interested in the real world, looking for any chance to escape into the new worlds that books open up to us, for once perhaps, doing something that isn’t her “duty”. With it also begins a “battle” of sorts with her advisors and staff who can’t quite understand what’s happening and try in every which way to get Her Majesty back to “normal”. A fun storyline with many many observations on reading and books (and authors) that one could relate to―a quick and highly enjoyable read. Loved this one![p.s. No prizes for guessing which book I'm reading next- hint: the author's name begins with a P (it helps that this was already on my TBR and part of a personal challenge)]

  • Melki
    2019-01-02 09:58

    There are already thousands of reviews of this delightful book about the Queen's new-found love of reading, so you don't need me to tell you how much fun it is. In lieu of a review, I'll list some of the best quotes about reading I have ever seen, all featured within the pages of this book.'Reading is untidy, discursive and perpetually inviting.''A book is a device to ignite the imagination.''I think of literature,' she wrote, 'as a vast country to the far borders of which I am journeying but will never reach.''Who is above literature? You might as well say one is above humanity.'And this one, which I'm sure Goodreads members who have watched their "To-Read" lists grow staggeringly long will surely relate to: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 all the reading she wanted to do.

  • Angela M
    2018-12-30 04:52

    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."

  • Claudia
    2018-12-24 08:43

    Let me kiss the Queen! :) Deutsche Rezi dahinter.A highly recommendation. What a funny and warm-hearted book.It's an explanation of love to reading.The Queen, looking after her corgis, discovers a mobile library parked near her Palace. She feels obliged to borrow a book - and then she borrows another and another...The servants around her are very confused and think it's the beginning of Alzheimer's disease.The story is very humorous and tells how reading can change people and life.Run, don't walk, to get this book. :)Queen Elizabeth entdeckt in einem Hof des Palastes zufällig einen Bücherbus und nimmt aus Höflichkeit ein Buch mit. Sie liest es eher aus Pflichtbewusstsein, nichtsdestotrotz, sie hat´s erwischt. "Wie weit sind eure Majestät denn gelangt?"-"Na bis zum Ende. Wenn ich ein Buch anfange, dann lese ich es auch bis zum Schluss.:) So bin ich erzogen worden: BÜCHER, BUTTERBROTE, KARTOFFELBREI - was auf dem Teller ist, wird aufgegessen.Sie kann von nun an nicht mehr die Finger von den Büchern lassen. Ständig hat sie eins dabei: in der Tasche, in der Kutsche, hinter einem Kissen versteckt....Sogar ihre eigene Bibliothek nimmt sie plötzlich wahr. Mit ihrem neuen Hobby treibt sie so manchen Angestellten und Premierminister an den Rand der Verzweiflung, die alles versuchen, die neu gewonnene Leselust zu hintertreiben.In diesem Buch geht es vor allem darum, wie Lesen den Menschen verändert. Die Wahrnehmung der Welt wird geschärft, man beginnt die Menschen sowie geschichtliche Zusammenhänge zu verstehen.Lesen als Lernprozess. Je mehr sie liest, desto kritischer wird sie. Sie beginnt, sich Notizen zu machen und die Texte kritisch zu hinterfragen. Der letzte Schritt ist das Schreiben, weil das Lesen allein ihr nicht mehr genügt.Ihre Bemerkung zu PROUST:"Das Merkwürdige bei ihm war, wenn er seinen Kuchen in den Tee tunkte (abscheuliche Angewohnheit), dann stand ihm plötzlich sein ganzes bisheriges Leben vor Augen. Ich habe es auch versucht, und bei mir hat es keinerlei Wirkung gezeigt.""Sie knipste das Licht wieder an und schrieb in ihr Notizbuch:" Man legt sein Leben nicht in seine Bücher. Man findet es in ihnen."

  • ·Karen·
    2019-01-21 09:08

    What a change from the 800 page behemoths that seem to be fashionable at the moment. Sly humour, warmth, thoughtfulness, alongside a revolutionary vision, and all within the space of around 120 pages.I re-read this for a group that actually pay me to come and talk booktalk to them. There is always a limit on the length of any work due for discussion. This one slides in under the wire with ease: we shall see if we manage to fill 90 minutes talking about it. Questions, anyone?That won't fly the monkey.

  • Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
    2018-12-26 09:54

    A short novella that’s odd and original and wise; chalk full of clever, understated and so typically British humour. The Queen accidently stumbles across a bookmobile and despite the disapproval of her advisors, decides to take up reading.“I feel, ma’am, that while not exactly elitist, it sends the wrong message. It tends to exclude.’ Reading that becomes a passion bordering on obsession.She’d got quite good at reading and waving, the trick being to keep the book below the level of the window. The duke didn’t like it one bit of course. An obsession with consequences that soon has the entire palace staff in a tizzy. (view spoiler)[ Her fashion sense is the 1st to suffer as she takes to wearing the same shoes on consecutive days, next she’s ignoring the corgis; it escalates to both disinterest and tardiness in the attendance of her public engagements.(hide spoiler)]I won’t ruin your reading pleasure with any detail, enough to say that the author has taken a very simple premise and spun it into gold. My 1st time reading Alan Bennett - I want more. Oh, and if you’re Canadian you’ll have fun with the pokes at Canada. (view spoiler)[ Upon the discovery that she must conduct her tour without any reading material (all her books having been ‘regrettably’ misplaced) she falls into a major sulk. “Don’t you want to see the St. Lawrence Seaway?” said her husband. ‘I opened it 50 years ago. I don’t suppose it’s changed.’ Even the Rockies received only a perfunctory glance, and Niagara Falls was given a miss altogether. (hide spoiler)]Side note:True life reflecting fiction? Yann Martel, award winning author of Life of Pi has been sending Canada’s ultra conservative Prime Minster 2 books a month for years. Nice effort… most are studiously ignored. Link if you’re interested - I think his book selections are pretty funny “http://www.whatisstephenharperreading...

  • DeB MaRtEnS
    2019-01-04 09:48

    I don't know how this little novella ended up on my radar, but it was a sweet grin of a book. Queen Elizabeth, in her eightieth year, discovers the joys of reading literature quite accidentally when she happens upon a book mobile in the process of trying to round up her barking Corgis. Norman, a cook from her Royal kitchen, is a borrower and a friendship ensues, with him becoming the purveyor of the world of pleasurable books. As the Queen's interest becomes more avid in the plethora of fiction that she has missed in her life, the duties which she has graciously and energetically fulfilled suddenly lose their attraction. Her reading sends ripples of discomfort through the staff and all levels of government, which is treated with a delightful comedic touch and gentle satire. "You don't put your life into your books. You find it there.", the Queen notes to herself eventually, having travelled a considerable distance in self-discovery near the book's conclusion. The Uncommon Reader ends with tart wit, and had me smiling as I closed its cover. A charming, British treat. Four stars.

  • Alana
    2019-01-15 08:43

    I really didn't like this book at all. I picked it up because so many people seem to like it and I thought it would be probable that I would like it too. However, I found it to be extremely boring. This author is supposed to be a great wit and I just didn't "get" his humor in writing style or otherwise. This book seems to be an endless author and book review which I didn't like. The book moved along so slowly that I was surprised to find that I was halfway through the book still waiting for the plot to begin. There were also a few swear words and a disgusting comment that surprised me because they didn't need to be there. All in all, this book was dry and dull and not at all what I expected. I should make a new category and put it in the "I can't believe I finished this book!" section!

  • Carol Clouds ꧁꧂
    2018-12-29 05:41

    Who would have thought! I have something in common with the Queen of England!Well, kind of! I wasn't a non reader (which is how Bennett portrays the Queen) but for eight long years I worked in our local supermarket, originally on checkouts (soul destroying) & then managing the Bulk Bins. This was the hardest I had ever worked in my life. One of the few perks we had in what is essentially a miserable way to make a living was we were able to read the unsold magazines. (at work only - that was your job gone if you tried to take the mags home!) When I went home I collapsed face first on my bed, only waking when my husband arrived home. No whining I swear, but that job cost me eight years of reading time!So I rediscovered my joy in reading much the way The Queen discovers it in the first place! Wonderfully warm & witty we follow Her Majesty on her journey where she becomes not only a reader but (view spoiler)[ a writer! (hide spoiler)] On her way Bennett takes a few pot shots at everything, including New Zealanders! “Books are not about passing time. They're about other lives. Other worlds. Far from wanting time to pass, one just wishes one had more of it. If one wanted to pass the time one could go to New Zealand.”I'm going to treasure that gem!If Bennett hasn't adapted this for performance he should!

  • Dhanaraj Rajan
    2019-01-06 01:59

    May be Three and half stars.It is a funny little novella that speaks of the pleasures of reading. To expound this thesis, the author's creative imagination and liberty had sought the help of the Queen. Yes, Her majesty, the Queen is the main protagonist of this novella and the story is about how in her older days she gets enchanted by the pleasures of reading.All through the book there are some interesting observations on reading. And they are certainly a delight for the regular reader. Here are few examples:"Briefing closes down a subject, reading opens it up.""Books are not about passing time. They're about other lives. Other worlds.. Far from wanting time to pass, one just wishes one had more of it.""A book is a device to ignite the imagination."But other than such delights, the novella seemed very simple. It is a straight forward story and a quick read. It engages you as you read and after reading it except for few phrases the novel does not much affect you. As a concluding remark let me also add this: I chose this book in the bookshop, seeing that it was about the act of reading itself. As I bought it, I was thinking of another book that I had read earlier on the same theme (the act of Reading) -- Italo Calvino's If on a Winter's Night a Traveller -- and so my expectation was my undoing. Or else, I think I might have given this book another star.

  • Carol
    2019-01-07 06:00

    When the Queen of England stumbles across a traveling bookstore, her newly developed appetite for books turns into an obsession.......and the fun begins.There are many great lines and phrases for us readers to enjoy in this short story.....my favorite: "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." Amusing little novella!

  • Cecily
    2019-01-13 08:40

    Beautiful novella, imagining the effect on courtiers, corgis and protocol if the Queen develops a reading habit. The books she chooses are carefully chosen by Bennett to illuminate her metamorphosis. The main danger is reading it too quickly to savour it as it deserves. Bennett at his best.

  • Anna [Floanne]
    2019-01-05 05:02

    "Un libro è un ordigno per infiammare l'immaginazione."

  • Srividya
    2019-01-19 08:49

    The Queen is bored. The Queen needs a hobby. However, instead of pursuing a queenly hobby (ahem, don’t ask me what that is), she stumbles upon a mobile library just outside her gates and pursues reading; what ensues thereafter is a barrel full of fun, at least until the very end.Alan Bennett’s, The Uncommon Reader, has been on my TBR since a very long time. To be honest, I don’t remember when or why I added it to my TBR as I don’t even remember reading the blurb, which incidentally is true of most of my TBR additions. *ahem* don’t kill me for this. Anyway, I needed a book with a crown on the cover for a challenge and was struggling with the book that I had picked, when a friend of mine, Margaret, suggested that I read this book. Her recommendation was based on the fact that this was small and hence a very quick read. Short it is and a quick read it was, full of funny events that take place once the Queen takes up reading as a hobby and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it.Bennett makes The Queen the protagonist of this book and through her explains the delight that most booklovers experience and feel when they are reading. The book is peppered with quotes that are truly a reader’s delight. Being a reader, ever since I could hold a book in my hands, I enjoyed these quotes and references a lot. Let me give you a few examples;“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.”Don’t we all experience that when we read? I, for one, have gotten many of my book recommendations through references made in other books that I am reading or have read. My constantly increasing TBR is proof to the fact that no matter how much you read, the options are endless, which is both exciting and intimidating. The Queen goes onto describe her passion and addiction with these words;“To begin with, it’s true, she read with trepidation and some unease. The sheer endlessness of books outfaced her and she had no idea how to go on; there was no system to her reading, with one book leading to another, and often she had two or three on the go at the same time. The next stage had been when she started to make notes, after which she always read with a pencil in hand, not summarising what she read but simply transcribing passages that struck her”All of us do this as well. When I read physical books, I use the same method of transcribing quotes that have a special place in my heart. With the Kindle it is so easy to simply highlight it and come back to it whenever I want. I thrive on highlighting and often wonder why I can’t do the same with physical books. Lol. Jokes aside, wanting to immortalize in our minds, what we have read, especially those special parts, is something that is dear to all readers and Bennett has exquisitely put forth this truth in his book.The Queen’s addiction creates havoc among the palace staff and also the ministry. Where they used to find a complacent Queen quietly listening to their reports, they now had a well read Queen ready to debate on various topics and worse asking them whether they had read a particular book or not. Ministers, dignitaries from other countries and even the palace staff are not spared from these musings, which results in a merry tale that has the reader in splits. The Queen spares none and through her Bennett doesn’t spare them either, be it those who show disdain towards readers or those who read to simply pass the time. Through the Queen, here is his fitting reply;“Pass the time?” said the Queen. “Books are not about passing the time. They’re about other lives. Other worlds. Far from wanting time to pass, Sir Kevin, one just wishes one had more of it. If one wanted to pass the time one could go to New Zealand.”This is definitely a praise worthy book but somehow it lost its pace towards the end. What started off as a humorous account of the Queen taking up reading turned into something that felt contrived and out of place towards the end. It was as if the author was trying to say something but his message did not get across as easily as it did in the previous pages. It became serious all of a sudden and took away all the fun and frolic that was there in the initial pages, which irked me a lot. Nevertheless, this is a good book to read, especially as we are all bibliophiles and enjoy reading books about books and reading.

  • Salma
    2018-12-28 02:52

    من خلال مكتبة متنقلة تقف قرب قصرها، قررت الملكة استعارة كتاب... لينفتح أمام ملكة بريطانية المسنة عالم جديد... عالم القراءة... الباب الذي إذا انفتح فلا مغلق له... فالكتاب صار شغلها الشاغل و تحولت إلى قارئة نهمة... و لكن هذا الشغف الجديد بدأ يؤثر على حياتها و مهامها، و يثير حفيظة كل من حولها و امتعاضهم، مثل كل قراء العالم! شخصية الملكة و بفعل القراءة بدأت تتطور، إذ أخذت تنتبه لأشياء لم تكن لتنتبه لها سابقا، و صارت تضفي العمق على ملاحظاتها و تصرفاتها و تغفل الكثير من الشكليات... مما زاد في قلق من حولها، أوليس محور حياتها الشكليات و المظاهر؟ حتى خشي أن يكون ما ألم بها بداية الخرف! الملكة بدأت تشعر بأن الكلمات أخذت تملؤها فصارت تدون بعض ملاحظاتها، و الملاحظات أخذت تتطور داخلها... إلى أن صارت فكرة تأليف كتاب عن حياتها تلح عليها... لكن هل كانت لتكتب كتابا _و هي التي باتت تتأمل كثيرا في واقعها_ عن سيرة حياتها بطريقة استعراضية كالدور الذي ألبسوه لها طوال حياتها؟ لا، لم يكن ليكون أي سيرة ذاتية ملكية عادية! 0و في عيد ميلادها الثمانين جمعت كل مستشاريها و رؤساء الحكومات المتعاقبة عبر خمسين سنة من الحكم... لتشكرهم عن كل نصائحهم و... نفاقهم و تعلن زهدها في منصبها... هذه الخاتمة أضفت المعنى على كل الرواية... الملكة البسيطة الغافلة أصبحت ترى...0هذه النهاية جعلتني أتساءل، هل بات من المستحيل في عصرنا لنزيه ذي بصيرة أن يقتحم العمل السياسي؟ هل لم يعد يحتمل البقاء بين أروقة الساسة و مكائدهم إلا عمي الأبصار، فالمرء بمجرد أن تزال الغشاوة عن عينيه، يزهد بها و ينفر؟لا أنكر أن الرواية فيها الكثير من الذكاء، و هناك الكثير من العبارات اللماحة و لكنها باردة جدا و طريقة السرد بليدة، بحيث أني لم أفسد عليكم ذكري للنهاية، فهي على أية حال سواء _عرفت النهاية أم لا_ رواية تثير السأم في النفس، و شخصية الملكة بدت ساذجة و مملة و بطيئة حد التثاؤب، بحيث لا يوجد صعود و لا هبوط و لا تشويق من أي نوع في ثنايا الكتاب، و كل ما قلبت صفحة أقول ربما يبدأ الحدث الآن، أصبت بخيبة أمل، حتى أيقنت ألا حدث! فضلا عن ميل واضح في بداياتها نحو الشواذ مما جعلني أقرف منها بزيادة. و لذلك مضت أشهر و أنا أراوح بين صفحاتها القليلة مجبرة نفسي على القراءة، و مرات و مرات حدثت نفسي بتركها، لولا التصبر، فضلا عن رغبة داخلية بقراءة شيء ممل خال من أي حركة و حدث ليخفف من جرعة الأدرينالين الزائدة التي سمم بها الواقع بأحداثه المتوحشة دمي... و لكن بعد قراءتي لخاتمتها الذكية، أشعر بأني قد أحسنت بالاستمرار بها حتى نهاية الطريق...0على كل لا أحبذ عادة أن أقرأ بالانكليزية إلا ما يحمل تشويقا، لأن قراءتي بها أبطأ بكثير من العربية و بالتالي فإني بالكاد أملك الصبر الكافي لقراءة كتاب ممتلئ بالتشويق، فما بالك بكتاب خال منه! كما أن لغة الكتابة لم تخل من عسارة فهي تحمل سمات الثقافة الشعبية البريطانية المعاصرة و كثير من مصطلحات الكلام العامي، مما جعل الكثير من التلميحات في الجمل _و التي يفترض بها أن تكون طريفة_ غير مفهومة بالنسبة لي، لأني لست مطلعة على الجو العام هناك...0بأية حال الرواية و إن كانت مملة إلا أن الفكرة بشكل عام لا بأس بها... 0تقول الملكة ملخصة سنوات حكمها الخمسين أمام الملأ الذين جمعتهم، متحدثة عن نفسها بهذه الصيغة الرسمية: 0"لقد أعطى المرء يده بقفازها الأبيض لتمسكها أياد منقوعة بالدم، و تحدث بأدب مع رجال قد ذبحوا الأطفال بأنفسهم، و لطالما خاض عبر البراز و الدماء المتخثرة. و كثيرا ما اعتقدت أنه لكي تكون ملكة فإن أهم أداة تتجهز بها هي جزمة يصل طولها للفخذين. 0"

  • Joey
    2019-01-22 08:50

    You may not be such a voracious reader if you could not relate to this novella.The story is simple but interesting. It is about the queen of England, an UNCOMMON READER (look its meaning up in Wikepedia), who will fall to reading books when she meets across a travelling library. There she meets Norman, the kitchen boy, who will introduce her to different writers she has never met yet. The queen will completely immerse herself in books, derelict in her duty as Her Majesty of England. Ad nauseam because of her special advisor, Sir Kevin, she will be in a quandary over whether reading affects her duty or not.Like Her Majesty, I prefer to be left to my reading. I don’t want to be disturbed. I don’t want to procrastinate reading, but I do procrastinate doing the job I must do.Like Her Majesty, I make excuses not to do anything else because I want books be under my nose all the time.Like Her Majesty, I’d rather read a book on a vehicle or whenever I travel, carrying a stack of books I try to catch upon than watch a movie or strike up a conversation with my friend/s.Like Her majesty, I sleep through my books because they keep me awake, but half awake with the books I find kitsch, so I lay them aside until they get caked with dust bunny.Like Her Majesty, I read a book with a pad and a pencil close at my hand to take notes the words I haven’t known yet and to underline the quotes boggle my mind at the same time.Like Her Majesty, I love frequenting my favorite stomping ground to check upon the unknown in my world.Like Her Majesty, I am brainwashed by the totally ridiculous opinions of the significant others, unenthusiastic about books. To them, reading is time killing.Like Her Majesty, it is too late to learn a lot of things more since she had been up to her nose with her duty, in my case, poverty. Thus, we are both OPSIMATHS as she puts it.I bet my boots you bear complete resemblance to Her Majesty, don’t you?But unlike Her Majesty, I will never give up on my “natural or learned’ inclination till Kingdom come despite my demanding job. ^___^Out of 29 authors mentioned in the novella, I should proudly say that I am very familiar with 17 of them such as:• Anita Brookner• Thomas Hardy• Winifred Holtby• Henry James• Alice Munro• The Brontës• Marcel Proust• Philip Roth • Vikram Seth• William Shakespeare• Charles Dickens• William Makepeace Thackeray• Jane Austen• George Eliot• E. M. Forster• Ian McEwan• A.S ByattWell, could I be an UNCOMMONER in the world of literature? (wink!)

  • Kim
    2019-01-16 07:40

    My enjoyment of this little gem of a book was considerably enhanced by listening to it being read by the author. Essentially a parable about the life-changing potential of an appreciation for good literature, it displays Bennett's caustic intelligence and wit to great advantage. Choosing Queen Elizabeth II as his protagonist gives Bennett amazing scope for making his point about reading good books. After all, if the Queen's life can be changed in both small and monumental ways through reading, so can the life of anyone who falls in love with literature. Through the use of the Queen as a character, Bennett is also able to weave into the narrative a sharp but entertaining commentary on British politics and society. And of course, from the books that Bennett has the Queen love, like and not really care for, I suspect that I now have a pretty fair idea of Bennett's own tastes in literature. Possibly not the main point of the novel, but something to store away for future reference. Highly recommended for anyone who knows what it's like to be obsessed with books. Oh, and it's full of very quotable quotes about writers, books and the joys of reading.