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The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

The Uncommon Reader (original 2006; edition 2007)

by Alan Bennett

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4,2594991,164 (3.93)683
Title:The Uncommon Reader
Authors:Alan Bennett
Info:Profile (2007), Hardcover, 124 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett (2006)

Recently added byLiterature_Owl, TheDenizen, msjudy, kh2907, private library, sandrikoti, Dentelle, thefirstdark
  1. 90
    84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (teelgee)
  2. 60
    Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman (fannyprice, _Zoe_)
  3. 42
    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Going in to the bookmobile to apologize for the disturbance created by one of her corgis, Queen Elizabeth II feels it would only be polite to check out a book. When she returns it, she checks out another . . . and then another. One of her pages becomes her abettor in the matter of securing books and reading them. Thus begins an amusing but also thought-provoking saga of how reading can change a person's habits and even outlook.… (more)
  4. 20
    Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson (wisemetis)
  5. 20
    Letters to Alice on first reading Jane Austen by Fay Weldon (smallbrownbushbird)
  6. 10
    Talking Heads by Alan Bennett (akfarrar)
    akfarrar: Both these books explore the byways of characters whilst remaining unsentimental. They both expose weaknesses in modern British society if not in humanity. There is a wit in both and a degree of black humour.
  7. 10
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (raulvilar)
  8. 10
    Mrs. Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn (chazzard)
  9. 00
    La tête en friche by Marie-Sabine Roger (albavirtual)
  10. 00
    The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald (suzanney)
  11. 00
    Mist by Miguel de Unamuno (albavirtual)
    albavirtual: También sobre libros y lecturas, pero sobre todo sobre el juego de la creación literaria, y sobre como los personajes de una novela quieren influir sobre el creador de la misma ¡¡¡¡¡¡
  12. 00
    The Clothes They Stood Up In by Alan Bennett (jannis)
  13. 00
    The Last Reader by David Toscana (Cecilturtle)
  14. 01
    The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Brimming with quirky Britishness, these novels take on the transformative powers of doing something different. While the more humorous, satirical Uncommon Reader imagines the Queen as an increasingly sophisticated reader, the more reflective Unlikely Pilgrimage is moving and poignant.… (more)
  15. 02
    The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana by Umberto Eco (Alixtii)
    Alixtii: Both books having writers getting meta about the nature of writing and reading as a protagonist goes through a process of reading very (and I mean very) many books. Both are written with wit and insight, although Eco's book is better.

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» See also 683 mentions

English (449)  Spanish (12)  Dutch (9)  Italian (9)  German (8)  French (5)  Danish (5)  Catalan (4)  Swedish (2)  Thingamabrarian (the ideal language) (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (505)
Showing 1-5 of 449 (next | show all)
This short story was very up-lifting and kept my attention. It follows the Queen of England in her quest of developing her love of reading. Obviously, as the Queen, she has read many books and tutored in various subjects, but was never raised that reading could be enjoyable or for pleasure. After finding that the palace has a traveling library that arrives every Wednesday. Here is where we meet Norman, her soon to be accomplice in her growing addiction.

Over time the Queen finds that her love for reading expands beyond the normal interest and becomes an obsession. She is disregarding duties, hiding books in cars, and often finding a way to gain more time to read. This creates an issue with the Prime Minister and other members of the court, who find that her time is not being dedicated appropriately. The plot has a slight twist, with deceitful act by her court and an unpredictable Queen's reaction, leaving you wonder how her passion results in her place in the monarchy.

I rate this 4 stars. The writing style is easy to comprehend and written with a modern twist. There is humor threaded throughout the story and the Queen is as entertaining as in real life. I would suggest this for 16 and up, because of some sexual innuendos hidden throughout the story. ( )
  Literature_Owl | May 31, 2016 |
The Uncommon Reader – Alan Bennett - 120 pg. 12/07/09
3 stars
I feel that The Uncommon Reader is somehow an unfinished book. The Queen walks into a book mobile. This is an amusing premise for a joke or a fresh idea for satirical, social commentary. The Uncommon Reader is something in between. There are so many interesting thoughts presented in this book; so many potentially lovable caricatures. All of it seemed underdeveloped. I kept hoping for more.
( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
This book was a joy to read from beginning to end. As soon as the Queen's badly behaved dogs ran into the traveling library and she discovered it's existence, I was hooked. Her transformation from nonreader, to passionate reader, to writer was truly beautiful to read. One of the most delightful parts of the book was how the Queen's advisors tried to secretly sabotage her reading and her reaction to their attempts.

One of my favorite parts was when she hid her book behind the cushion in her carriage during an event. When she returned, the book was gone. When she found out that her security had thought the book might be a "device" and destroyed it (really it was just hidden from her), she simply declared that a new copy had better find its way to her desk by morning and continued her journey, leaving behind a very unhappy staff member. It was a perfect moment.

I often found myself chuckling out loud as I read some of Her Majesty's responses to her staff and their bumbling attempts to discourage her reading. I will not give away any more of the story but I highly recommend picking this book up. I may even read it a second time! ( )
  Lagnella | Mar 4, 2016 |
A twee tale about Queen Elizabeth II's growth into a prodigous reader. It has some nice aphorisms about reading, but it was a little too lightweight for my taste. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
Bennett also wrote the play [The History Boys] and again focuses on gay issues. This novella is a different approach, however, and has a nice little twist at the end. There are some real tidbits to think over. Still, it's VERY English in its dry humor. ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 26, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 449 (next | show all)
Det är träffsäkert, roligt och nästan oanständigt underhållande...
Bennett manages to touch on some pointed issues in this little volume: life experience versus book experience; the pleasure of reading versus the sterility of being briefed; the riddle of what is "natural" behavior when a person lives so much in the public eye. And he makes you whoop with laughter while he's at it.
In recounting this story of a ruler who becomes a reader, a monarch who’d rather write than reign, Mr. Bennett has written a captivating fairy tale. It’s a tale that’s as charming as the old Gregory Peck-Audrey Hepburn movie “Roman Holiday,” and as keenly observed as Stephen Frears’s award-winning movie “The Queen” — a tale that showcases its author’s customary élan and keen but humane wit.
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.
This time, his odd, isolated heroine is the queen of England. The story of her budding love affair with literature blends the comic and the poignant so smoothly it can only be by Bennett. It’s not his very best work, but it distills his virtues well enough to suggest how such a distinctive style might have arisen.

» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bennett, Alanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Boda, SofiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Damsma, HarmTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Herzke, IngoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ménard, PierreTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miedema, NiekTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pavani, MonicaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Salojärvi, HeikkiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Steinz, PeterForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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At Windsor it was the evening of the state banquet and as the president of France took his place beside Her Majesty, the royal family formed up behind and the procession slowly moved off and through into the Waterloo Chamber.
Reading is untidy, discursive and perpetually inviting.
Had she been asked if reading had enriched her life she would have had to say yes, undoubtedly, though adding with equal certainty that it had at the same time drained her life of all purpose.
She read, of course, as one did, but liking books was something she left to other people. It was a hobby and it was in the nature of her job that she didn't have hobbies. Jogging, growing roses, chess or rock climbing, cake decoration, model aeroplanes. No. Hobbies involved preferences and preferences had to be avoided; preferences excluded people.
The appeal of reading, she thought, lay in its indifference: there was something undeferring about literature. Books did not care who was reading them or whether one read them or not. All readers were equal, herself included.
Indulged and bad-tempered though they were, the dogs were not unintelligent, so it was not surprising that in a short space of time they came to hate books as the spoilsports that they were (and always have been).
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Book description
From the back cover: 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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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312427646, Paperback)

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. 

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:42 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

When Queen Elizabeth becomes hooked on reading, neither she nor England will ever be quite the same.

(summary from another edition)

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