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Review: The Uncommon Reader

December 27, 2008


While the Queen was out with her dogs one day, the dogs took off and started barking at the traveling library (bookmobile) that was on the Palace grounds.  The Queen feels duty bound to go over and apologize for her dogs’ actions.  While she was in the bookmobile she met a young man who works in the Palace kitchen.  She also feels obligated to check out a book, so she leaves with The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford.  She becomes so engrossed in the book that she feigns illness so she could stay in bed to read.  Thus began the Queen’s love affair with books in The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett.

The Queen’s love of books doesn’t please everyone, though, because she is running late for engagements and isn’t paying as much attention to appearances as she used to.  The young man from the kitchen is promoted to help her choose and keep up with her books.  By the end of the book, the Queen has become interested in writing too, and what happens at the very end will surprise you.

This novella was an absolute delight.  Readers will love sentences like this, “Books have enriched my life in a way that one could never have expected.”  It made me think about how reading affects the reader and others around them and how other people view readers.  I was able to relate to the Queen’s obsession with books.

25 Comments leave one →
  1. December 27, 2008 10:57 am

    I’ve been reading good things about this book. I’ll likely get to it one of these days!

  2. December 27, 2008 11:09 am

    Is it fiction or based off a true story?

  3. December 27, 2008 12:04 pm

    I really enjoyed this book too.

  4. December 27, 2008 12:44 pm

    I have been wanting to read this one for a while. Great review. It is nice to relate to another woman’s passion for books.

  5. December 27, 2008 1:01 pm

    I’ve seen this on the bookstore. It’s a short, little thing isn’t it?

  6. December 27, 2008 1:40 pm

    I really can’t wait to read this book.

  7. December 27, 2008 2:49 pm

    This one always sounds so cute when I hear about it. I may have to snap it up sometime this coming year.


  8. December 27, 2008 5:17 pm

    I’d love to read this. Hearing a book described as a “delight” definitely intrigues me.

  9. December 27, 2008 6:35 pm

    Sounds like a great story! I’ll have to add it to my list.

  10. December 27, 2008 6:36 pm

    I’ve been eyeing this book for awhile and it is on my wishlist. I’m glad that you liked it and I look forward to reading it.

  11. December 27, 2008 7:15 pm

    I really liked this one too. It made me thinking a lot about reading and what it means to me, but also how i is perceived by others.

  12. December 27, 2008 7:54 pm

    I saw this in the bookstore and couldn’t believe how little it is! It sounds like a delight!

  13. December 27, 2008 10:04 pm

    I’ve added this to my wish list, too! I could use a quick novella right about now …

  14. December 27, 2008 10:11 pm

    I can’t wait to read this myself. 🙂

  15. December 27, 2008 10:40 pm

    Great review Kathy. I can’t wait to read this one!

  16. December 28, 2008 1:17 am

    This really is a phenomenal book, isn’t it? I think any book lover would really enjoy it, and it’s just chock full of great quotes (like the one you mentioned). Glad you liked it, too!

  17. December 28, 2008 9:11 am

    I had heard good things about this book when it was originally published, and the favorable opinions of other book bloggers put it on my wish list – I bought a copy a couple of months ago, so it’s currently in TBR Purgatory. Glad to know how much you enjoyed it!

  18. December 28, 2008 11:23 am

    Great review Kathy – I haven’t seen this book yet, but would love to read it, so I’m going to add it to my wish list. It sounds great!

    🙂 Wendi

  19. December 28, 2008 5:14 pm

    This does sound like a delightful book. I am looking forward to reading it.

  20. December 29, 2008 9:59 pm

    What a great review – I’ve stumbled it! I really want to read this one.

  21. December 30, 2008 12:27 am

    I’ve been waiting patiently for this to magically appear on my book pile. I may have to give a few more hints to hubby. Alan Bennett is a fellow Corgi owner so I can only imagine the trouble the Corgis get into.

  22. December 30, 2008 5:32 pm

    Wasn’t this book just delightful? Really one of my favorites, which surprised me. I laughed out loud at a few passages. 🙂 Nice review!

  23. January 5, 2009 8:24 am

    I’d love to read this one. Thanks for the great review!

  24. January 17, 2009 6:08 pm

    This sounds like a fun read – I love the idea of all the things that might happen to a person as a result of their love of books.

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