The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett


“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 too late. I will never catch up.”

The Uncommon Reader tells the story of the Queen who stumbled upon a mobile library one day. Kind of obliged to borrow something from it, she ended up going from one book to another, until it attracted the attention of the people around her, who were not quite happy about the fact that she loved reading. They think it somewhat distracts her from her duties.

This is a delightful tiny novella. I enjoyed reading it. I’d say the most interesting about the story is the setting, with the Queen as the character. It’s nice for a change to enjoy a story with royalty setting that is not that serious. Humorous even. I like all the references to various books that she read as well, though I’ve only heard of a fraction of them.

I read many blog reviews that said the book took only about an hour to finish. That’s quick! I took about a few days to finish (didn’t sit for more than half an hour at a time though).

I can’t remember where I first heard about the book, but it could very well be from Dewey’s blog. There’s a challenge going on in the remembrance of Dewey, which I have not joined, but found myself have already read 2 books that I knew from Dewey for this year. Might as well join the fun, yeah? I guess I can join unofficially… (I just avoid challenges these days to take the pressures off my reading list.)


Rating: 4 out of 5
Pages: 124
Publication year: 2007

First line
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.

Last line
‘But… why do you think you’re all here?’


“Briefing is terse, factual and to the point. Reading is untidy, discursive and perpetually inviting. Briefing closes down a subject, reading opens it up.” ~p22

Also reviewed by

Dewey | Nymeth | Chris | Rebecca | Eva | J.C. | S. Krishna | Kailana | Maree | M | Bluestocking | Julie P. | 3M | Melody | Matt | Tricia | Tammy

ps: Somehow I found tons of blog reviews! Is this a popular book or what?

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