The Uncommon Reader

Bennett, Alan

(Book - 2008)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Uncommon Reader
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.
Publisher: New York : Picador/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008.
Edition: 1st Picador ed.
ISBN: 0312427646
Characteristics: 120 p. ;,19 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Dec 05, 2014
  • JANET FLAPAN rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

The Queen of England becomes an avid reader ...and what happens as a result, very droll and fun!

Jul 11, 2014

How bad could it be to have the Queen become an avid reader?

Apr 24, 2014
  • gopherguts rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Light. Witty. Well written.
Good short vacation read.
4 1/2 stars

Apr 03, 2014
  • KarenW rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

While the subject matter could be written with a preachy undertone, it is a perfect tale told unabashedly and with humor. The Queen coming across a mobile library, checks a book out, and then finds that reading is so all consuming she starts to subtly neglect her duties. She goes from reading whatever she likes, to challenging herself with more and more literary fare, she realizes she wants to write a book. And where that will lead her makes for a very surprising and delightful ending. This small book is one of the best novels I have read. Proof that small is just as worthy as more common sizes...

Feb 15, 2014
  • texasbooks rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

this was a wonderful book to read. I would like to read more books by this author. I hope you enjoy this book too if you get a chance to read it.-+

Jan 21, 2014

It’s a lovely little story about a late-in-life reader who discovers the joy of reading…and yet…I found myself arguing with the abrupt ending. It made the entire book feel oddly off putting. If the Queen were as dedicated to duty as Bennett takes pains to make her appear, would she truly entertain the thought she voiced to her council?

Jan 01, 2014
  • bibliotechnocrat rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

The queen, out walking her corgis, stumbles across a mobile library and against the odds takes up reading for pleasure. This is not approved of by her staff since it makes her go off script during public or state meetings (asking people what they've been reading, or asking the French president what he thinks of Jean Genet). The staff collude to discourage her from this unseemly behaviour.

When her secretary raises the issue, he comments that reading is a way for her majesty to pass the time though he thinks she's lost focus as a result. '"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"' (p. 30).

This is a charming little book; Bennett uses the Queen's development as a reader to humanize her. For book people, it's a reminder of the power of reading to change perspectives (and history).

Sep 09, 2013
  • sess430 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

As a reader it was fun to identify with the behaviors & feelings the Queen experienced while reading good books. Because the author is British, he uses their unique vocabulary, i.e. googly, chivvy and hoover ~ always amusing!! Reading caused the Queen to become more empathetic, which illustrates how good books can encourage us to extend our understanding to others.

Jul 26, 2013
  • gracindaisy rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Queen Elizabeth becomes an avid reader late in her life resulting in surprising consequences.

May 20, 2013
  • Toonie21 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A wonderful read about the power of books,the joy that reading can bring and excellent prose. Highly recommend.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add a Notice

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Find it at CLEVNET


Powered by BiblioCommons.
app02 Version nodvandig Last updated 2015/03/05 16:13