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Friday, March 06, 2009

The Uncommon Reader

Bennett, Alan. The Uncommon Reader. A charming and funny novella featuring the Queen of England and books. When the Queen of England becomes a reader there are some amusing consequences that perturb those who prefer life to remain the same.

The Queen's inadvertent discovery of books and her unlikely mentor Norman lead Her Majesty to some "overwhelming question[s]." She recalls meeting various writers and poets (including Mr. Eliot) before becoming a reader and realizes the missed opportunities because she had not read their works and couldn't discuss them with any familiarity.

When she comments on this fact, she is told that she was surely "briefed." The Queen then distinguishes between "briefing" and "reading" with some of my favorite lines:

"Briefing is terse, factual and to the point. Reading is untidy, discursive and perpetually inviting. Briefing closes down a subject, reading opens it up."


Reading this novella was a short, satiric, and delightful experience!

Other Reviews: Nymeth, Dorothy, Kailana, Teabird


Fiction. 2007. 120 pages.

19 comments:

  1. I enjoyed this one as well. It had so many fun quotes and interesting observations about reading.

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  2. Fun read, huh? I am glad that I read it!

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  3. I wrote down a lot of quotes, too - see, I knew you'd like it!

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  4. Delightful is indeed the word :D

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  5. This is a great little book. I laughed aloud several times.

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  6. This book was lots of fun wasn't it!

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  7. I echo most everyone in saying this was a short, fun read. I would recommend it to anyone.

    My own review

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  8. This sounds like a fun read. I read "The Clothes They Stood Up In" by Alan Bennett--it is funny and poignant.

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  9. I just finished listening to the audiobook version of this (read by the author) and loved it!

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  10. Nicole - Yes, there were so many good quotes in this. Bennett did a great job of mixing humor and serious thought!

    Kailana - Me, too!

    teabird - And your were right!

    Nymeth - Would that more leaders would become readers!

    Lisa - It was great fun!

    Marg - Yes, and I'm amazed at how many people have read and enjoyed it!

    J.C. - Thanks for the link, and I, too, highly recommend it.

    Kim - I will have to try The Clothes They Stood Up In; I'm eager to try something else by Bennett.

    Robin - I really need to listen to some books. I could be "reading" while doing other things!

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  11. I'm enjoying your blog. Thanks for the recommendations. I, too, am making an effort to read more widely. I especially think I would like the book about the Great Depression.

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  12. I'm looking forward to reading this book one of these days. It sounds so delightful.

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  13. But which queen is it? A fictional one?

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  14. I've got this one on my wish list. Someday, I'll get to it! I'm glad you enjoyed it. The quote is wonderful.

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  15. Glad you liked this one! I enjoyed how it was as much about reading as it was about the queen -- she is just an interesting device with which to get to other issues.

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  16. CurtissAnn - Thanks! I'm finding reading more widely an unexpected pleasure, and the book about the Great Depression has great relevance right now, doesn't it?

    LF - You would enjoy it. Anyone who loves to read will get a kick out of it!

    Allison - Although fiction, the queen is Elizabeth II. :)

    Bookfool - It takes almost no time to read as it is so short!

    Dorothy - Yes, the queen is an attention getter, but the content is a look at several different issues. Such a wonderful satiric touch.

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  17. I read this a couple of weeks ago - actually I listened to it on audio and it was fantastic! :-)

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  18. joanna - This would be a great one to listen on audio!

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  19. I thought this book was utterly charming.. glad you liked it too!

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