The Uncommon Reader Paperback – 26 Jun 2008
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For all its hilarity The Uncommon Reader has a heartfelt tone. It offers a lament on old age, some thoughts on reticence and a backward glance at a life wasted. (Sunday Times)
An exquisitely produced jewel of a book. (The Times)
Pure gold ... you would be hard put to find a defter satire on British philistinism ... the dialogue is priceless. (Mail on Sunday)
Light, fresh, witty and warm. (Daily Telegraph)
Alan Bennett's The Uncommon Reader would make a perfect stocking filler for just about anyone. (Monica Ali The Guardian 2008-11-29)
What would happen if the Queen became a reader of taste and discernment rather than of Dick Francis?See all Product description
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It has relevance today with the queen as a nonagenarian as it did when she was the octogenarian in this brilliant little book!
Like much of Bennett's work, there is a gentle humour throughout, much of which comes from the conflict between our ignorant assumptions of the real Queen's habits and beliefs and those of the very different character Bennett has created. But most importantly, far more important than it being entertaining (which it is), or it being beautifully written (it's that too), it is a paean to the joy of reading, and that it doesn't matter what you read as long as you enjoy it.
I bought this on my Kindle on Christmas Eve at my father's recommendation, read it all the way through in one sitting, and loved it so much that I promptly ordered the hardback edition as well. I know that you'll love it too.
This has a definite Bennett voice, with charm and wit. Making you smile while making you think. And perhaps inspiring the reader to expand their own horizons, to think about what reading might give you, and where that might lead.
The books and Bennett's/the Queen's comments on them are constantly entertaining. "Am I alone in wanting to give Henry James a good talking-to?" says the Queen. She is disappointed that her passion for reading is not shared by others in her sphere (except the wonderful Norman). Her interest in books is even seen as dangerous by some of the civil servants.
It is Alan Bennett at his best - funny, perceptive and gentle. And there is even a nice twist at the end.
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