After hearing about The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett ever since it came out a few years ago, I finally decided to try it. I borrowed the audiobook, read by the author, from my local library.
About the Book:
The Uncommon Reader is a brief little novel about what happens when the Queen of England takes up reading. It all begins when she unexpectedly encounters the bookmobile while following her dogs. After investigating, she feels obligated to borrow a book, which she then feels obligated to read. And so begins a new hobby which will make the Queen quite happy but will drive those around her a bit crazy.
I don’t have a whole lot to say about The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett. I think the best way to describe the book is quietly charming. It wasn’t my favorite book, but it was certainly enjoyable. I thought the premise was rather clever, taking a famous figure and speculating about what might happen were she to suddenly discover a passion for books. There were some nice little reading-related details woven throughout the story that made me smile. I really liked the Queen, once she started thinking for herself. Her observations about literature were often amusing, when she mentioned an author I’d read myself. Most of the people around her were sort of caricatured, but still entertaining.
The audiobook was quite good. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m often leery of authors narrating their own books, but Bennett did a nice job. He has the British accent this story required, as well as nice pacing and inflection. Listening to him read his novel was a nice way to pass a few hours.
I think book lovers, in particular, will enjoy The Uncommon Reader, as they will best understand the Queen’s new obsession. I’d recommend the audiobook to anyone interested. And that’s about it!
Have you read The Uncommon Reader or another book like it? What did you think?