Thursday, December 27, 2007


The Uncommon Reader, Alan Bennett, Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2007, 120 pp

I read about this book in the NYT Book Review, picked it up at a bookstore that week and read it in an evening. What a cool surprise of a book!

Bennett is primarily a British playwright and wrote "The History Boys" which became a movie; one I haven't seen yet. I certainly had never heard of him before. This novella is a fictional account, a "what if" story, about the Queen of England getting into reading and speculates on how reading changes her, makes her aware of people around her and humanizes her.

He is brilliant on all the little details of the monarchy and its ways, politics and English society in the 21st century. The book is funny, charming and an impassioned defense of reading and literature in its power to increase awareness in people, even Queens. I loved it.

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