Thursday, 2 October 2008

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

More a 'novella' than a novel. The subject of the story is the Queen, and she is portrayed here as being intelligent, witty and an avid reader after she chances on a mobile library at Windsor. She gradually becomes convinced of the transforming power of reading - and how it could transform her own life. The reader can almost imagine that this story could be very close to the bone of truth.

The Uncommon Reader is a wonderfully entertaining comic narrative, but it is also much more: a serious manifesto for the potential of reading to change lives, for its ability to broaden horizons, to imagine oneself in others' shoes, and to enable one to break out from the constraints of upbringing, class and education and lead the life you've always wanted. And, Bennett wonders, who might need that more than the Queen?

This is a book to curl up with on a winter's day in front of the fire with a cuppa. Read it in one sitting and enjoy!