The Uncommon Reader
By Alan Bennett
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Hardcover, 9780374280963, 128pp.)
Publication Date: September 18, 2007
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From the author of The History Boys and The Clothes They Stood Up In
A deliciously funny novella that celebrates the pleasure of reading. When the Queen in pursuit of her wandering corgis stumbles upon a mobile library she feels duty bound to borrow a book. Aided by Norman, a young man from the palace kitchen who frequents the library, Bennett describes the Queen's transformation as she discovers the liberating pleasures of the written word. With the poignant and mischievous wit of The History Boys, England's best loved author revels in the power of literature to change even the most uncommon reader's life.
Alan Bennett is a renowned playwright and essayist whose screenplay for The Madness of King George was nominated for an Academy Award. He lives in London, England.
- Does your group meet regularly? If so, how do you think the Queen, as fountain of honor, would appraise your list of reading so far?
"A delicious and very funny what-if.... a delightful little book that unfolds into a witty meditation on the subversive pleasures of reading.... Mr. Bennett has written a captivating fairy tale ... a tale that showcases its author’s customary élan and keen but humane wit."--Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times "Bennett's jokes are so beautifully modulated.... The Uncommon Reader is a piece of audacious lèse majesté which, in an earlier age, would have put its author's head on a spike.... Bennett knows what he is doing."--The Guardian "A kind of palace fairy tale for grown-ups.... [[Bennett's]] account of the queen’s adventures often made me laugh out loud."--Jeremy McCarter, The New York Times "Briskly original and subversively funny."--Publishers Weekly "[Bennett's] subtle wit and tonal command show why he is so beloved in his native Britain."--Kirkus Reviews