The Uncommon Reader, CD-Audio
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


It was the corgis' fault. When they strayed through the grounds of Buckingham Palace, the Queen discovered the City of Westminster travelling library.

The Queen has never had much time for reading - pleasure's always come second place to duty - 'though now that one is here I suppose one ought to borrow a book'.

She is about to discover the joys of literature, albeit late in life.

One book leads to another and the Queen is soon engrossed in the delights of reading.

However, this uncommon reader creates an uncommon problem.

The royal household dislikes the Queen's new interest; it makes them uneasy.

Books are devices that ignite the imagination. And devices like that are likely to explode. Alan Bennett reads his new story about HM the Queen's all-consuming new interest, as heard on BBC Radio 4.

This exclusive and extended edition is twice as long as originally broadcast.




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My enjoyment of this little gem of a book was considerably enhanced by listening to it being read by the author. <br/><br/>Essentially a parable about the life-changing potential of an appreciation for good literature, it displays Bennett's caustic intelligence and wit to great advantage. Choosing Queen Elizabeth II as his protagonist gives Bennett amazing scope for making his point about reading good books. After all, if the Queen's life can be changed in both small and monumental ways through reading, so can the life of anyone who falls in love with literature. Through the use of the Queen as a character, Bennett is also able to weave into the narrative a sharp but entertaining commentary on British politics and society. <br/><br/>And of course, from the books that Bennett has the Queen love, like and not really care for, I suspect that I now have a pretty fair idea of Bennett's own tastes in literature. Possibly not the main point of the novel, but something to store away for future reference. <br/><br/>Highly recommended for anyone who knows what it's like to be obsessed with books. Oh, and it's full of very quotable quotes about writers, books and the joys of reading.

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