Alan Bennett’s The Uncommon Reader is a laugh-out-loud novella that does indeed read like a fairy tale at times but the little book packs a lot into its 120 pages. Avid readers will recognize themselves in Queen Elizabeth as she exercises her “reading muscle” and progresses from reading anything suggested to her by others to falling in love with “new” authors and more serious literature. They also will recognize the reactions of the Queen’s family and staff who are somewhat bewildered to find that she carries a book with her wherever she goes and has lost interest in many of the things that previously kept her busy. Not only do they not understand her new love of reading, they come to resent her for it, and some even suspect that she is showing the first signs of senility.
Her move along the road to a new sensibility and self-awareness allows
On another occasion, when being briefed by a befuddled member of her staff who does not understand why she suddenly prefers reading to his briefings, she tells him that “…briefing is not reading. In fact, it is the antithesis of reading. Briefing is terse, factual and to the point.
For a while, the sheer joy of reading is enough for
Rated at: 4.5