The Uncommon Reader
by Alan Bennett
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 2007. 120 pages.
It was the dogs’ fault. The Queen of England’s dogs lost control of themselves and ran into the City of Westminster travelling library. Once there, the Queen felt obligated to borrow a book. Once she had the book, the Queen started reading it. Once she started reading, she finished it.
“That was the way one was brought up. Books, bread and butter, mashed potato — one finishes what’s on one’s plate. That’s always been my philosophy.”
One book leads to another, and another. . . . The Queen learns all kinds of places and times she can fit reading into her life.
“She’d got quite good at reading and waving, the trick being to keep the book below the level of the window and to keep focused on it and not on the crowds. The duke didn’t like it one bit, of course, but goodness it helped.”
Unfortunately, the Queen’s new habit causes great consternation among her staff. Then drastic changes in her habits, her conversations, and even her outlook on life.
This book was chosen as the All Fairfax Reads selection for 2008. It celebrates the joys of reading and the way reading can change a life. The book is short and humorous and good fun. Some food for thought as well!
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