Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

Beyond the Fringe alumnus, playwright (the History Boys) and novelist, Alan Bennett has written a perfect little book about what happens when someone becomes a voracious reader. In this case the queen herself, Elizabeth II, happens upon a mobile library (that would be a bookmobile on this side of the pond) while chasing after her infamous Corgis and so begins her journey into literature. The Uncommon Reader, a novella shows the inside workings of the palace, the protocol, the State Dinners, the daily duties of the Royal Family of which the Queen begins to tire. She becomes so involved in reading one book after another that she waves absent-mindedly from her limousine while reading a book on her lap; she no longer cares if she wears an outfit or accessory twice in row and most distressingly she begins to ask people what they are reading rather than sticking to the approved script of, "Did you come far?" "Did you find parking?" and so on.

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