Alan Bennett – The Uncommon Reader

the uncommon reader

publisher: Profile Books
published 2007
pages: 121

Book on Amazon


Led by her yapping Corgis to the Westminster travelling library outside Buckingham Palace, the Queen finds herself taking out a novel by Ivy Compton-Burnett. Duff read though it is, the following week her choice proves more enjoyable and awakens in Her Majesty a passion for reading so great that her public duties begin to suffer. And so, as she devours work by everyone from Hardy to Brookner to Proust to Beckett, her equerries conspire to bring the Queen’s library odyssey to a close.

In (Very) Short:

+ the Queen as main protagonist – that in itself should be enough
+ a story about the love for reading
+ what would happen to the Queen if her life was dominated by books
+ a little conspiracy thrown into the novella

My Opinion:

A lot of people have recommended this short book to me. Somehow I was afraid, that I would not like it as much as I was supposed to. And though I really enjoyed it, I was not so blown away as many wanted me to be. But I cannot say why.

It was a lovely book and lovely story: the Queen discovers her passion for reading. While that might be fine for many people, her staff and her people were not as thrilled. If you always wanted to know what her life would look like, if books ruled the world, pick Bennett’s story up.

I felt for her when her staff tried to discourage her habits, looking down on her new hobby. Something that I have somehow experienced myself, but to a lesser degree. I loved her desire to read, her tenaciousness about it, and the witty comments on particular authors whom I felt similar about.

The writing is wonderfully fluent and for the lack of a better word fluffy. I felt like the words carried me through the story and I felt very safe. There is something so serene and beautiful about the writing. The story idea is unique (I’d like to say) and the conspiracy gives it a little bit of spice. But for some reason I can’t help to like Gin O’Clock more and I know that is a very different genre.

Bottom Line:

All in all, this was a great and entertaining read. I thoroughly enjoyed it.


rating 4


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