The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

December 21, 2009

I don’t know if I could say this any more forcefully: You must go read this book! It’s a novella, and quite easy reading, so it’s perfect for this time of year. What would happen if Queen Elizabeth suddenly and mysteriously became an obsessive reader? Alan Bennett answers that question rather hilariously in this short tale that any reader would enjoy. The Queen’s worldview and her priorities begin to change, and I found myself identifying with her frequently. If she hadn’t had servants, her house would have gone uncleaned, and she was never seen without a book while traveling in the car. Of course, as I read about the Queen’s reading list, I certainly added many more books to my own list. I’m now very excited to read something by Nancy Mitford. The Uncommon Reader makes many poignant observations about what it means to be “a reader;” any frequent reader would find this book amusing; especially at this time of year while we are all compiling our “best of” lists and thinking about how our reading has affected us this year.



  1. This and “The History Boys” made me convinced that I would love Bennett if I ever met him! :D

    • I don’t really know much about “The History Boys,” though I think I remember a move made out of the play. I will have to look into that.

  2. This was such a good, quick and easy read wasn’t it!

    • Yes! And perfect for the end of the year when we’re all reflecting on the books we’ve read.

  3. I enjoyed it–there were somethings I could have done without, but overall, I agree: it was delightful!

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