Review: The Uncommon Reader

Alan Bennett (2007)

When the Queen happens upon the bookmobile parked at Buckingham Palace, she picks up a book, just to be polite, and embarks on a reading jag nearly to the exclusion of all else. Her royal duties—touring a cheese factory, opening a hospital, even her weekly meetings with the Prime Minister—become obstacles to her reading. Heads of state, family members, and advisors are flummoxed by the Queen’s new hobby, which they see as a royal inconvenience.

More than a hilarious imagining of the British monarch turned voracious reader, Bennett’s novella is a delightful homage to the act and art of reading. As the Queen becomes a better, more thoughtful reader, her perspective changes; she’s drawn out of her insulated realm and ponders her literary legacy. A treat from start to finish.


3 thoughts on “Review: The Uncommon Reader

  1. This is one of my books of 2007. The idea of Her Maj sitting in bed reading Proust is a profoundly alluring one. I found this book very very funny but quite touching as well

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