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#161 ~ The Uncommon Reader

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The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

What would happen if Queen Elizabeth II, the reigning Queen of England, suddenly developed an unexpected and soon insatiable penchant for reading? This is the scenario explored by Alan Bennett in his wonderful novela, The Uncommon Reader. The Queen, quite accidentally, bumps into a bookmobile as it stops near the palace.  She meets Mr. Hutchings, the mobile librarian, and Norman, one of her cook staff while she’s there. Renting a book because she’s uncertain how to act in this situation, the Queen has no idea how innocent jesture will change the lives of her family, staff, and kingdom. It was fun and enjoyable from start to finish. Along the way, I discovered that this book is really is a love letter to insatiable readers everywhere.

This novela made me laugh or giggle out loud more than anything I can remember reading in a very long time.  I could see the Queen or myself in so many of the situations described in this novela.  Most of all, I loved the reaction of Prince Philip. Nearly every time he spoke I laughed. The reaction and consternation that something so relatively harmless as reading had on the Queen’s staff were also hilarious. Simply by picking up a book and reading, the Queen lost her predictability for everyone but Norman, who has become a fixture in her life. 

Alan Bennett knows what it is like to love to read more than you love to breathe. With Queen Elizabeth as his main character, he personifies what happens in everyone’s life when they become a reader who just can’t stop.  In that way, we are all uncommon  readers. This boook is a must read and, I believe, must own for every reader. If you are not an insatiable reader, I suggest you pick this up for yourself.  In only 128 pages you will quickly and enjoyably get an understanding of what life is like for a reader and those who love them.  Who knows, maybe you will discover that you’re an uncommon reader, too.

Behind the Review

queen-readingI chose this book to read during the April 2009 Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-A-Thon and started it around 10:30 PM. I was excited heading into the long night, but I found having my TweetDeck too exciting to turn off, no matter how much I was enjoying the book.  For me, Twitter was a wonderful part of the experience. As a result, The Uncommon Reader was the first book I reviewed via Twitter. It started when I noticed 12 pages in that the book was dogeared.  For fun, I’m including my tweet transcript for the time I was reading the book.  The tweets mainly directly related to The Uncommon Reader. The others I’m included to show you how distracting it is to read with your TweetDeck flashing new messages every minute.  Next time around, I think I’m going to save for some books I’ve already read. Then again, at 2AM, the only thing I’ll be up to reading is Go, Dog, Go by Dr. Suess or the Amelia Bedelia books. LOL!  

Enjoy!

BTW, everyone I reference in my tweets are well worth following if you’re on Twitter, too.

@devourerofbooks Getting ready to start The Uncommon Reader. What’s your status? #readathon
10:48 PM Apr 18th from TweetDeck

Posted: Read-a-Thon ~ Brought to You by Diet Coke http://shortna.me/acab9
11:00 PM Apr 18th from Bird Feeder

Heading out to drink my DC and start Uncommon Reader. Tweet you peeps when I’m done. #readathon
11:01 PM Apr 18th from TweetDeck

Wondering Y some1 would bother 2 rabbit ear pg 12? Can’t find U
11:23 PM Apr 18th from TweetDeck

ACK! Can’t find UR way back to pg 12? Hmmm… See previous for complete story #readathon
11:23 PM Apr 18th from TweetDeck

now pg 18 is dogeared. distracting! can’t this person read for more than a couple of minutes? #readathon
11:31 PM Apr 18th from TweetDeck

@toofondofbooks Exchange through LibraryThing #readathon
11:34 PM Apr 18th from TweetDeck in reply to toofondofbooks

Quote (Uncom Rdr) “Reading is untidy, discursive, and perpetually inviting.” Amen Her Majesty! Amen! #readathon
11:37 PM Apr 18th from TweetDeck

@toofondofbooks You are too nice. LOL! Thank God there’s no underlining – yet. Dear God! Off to check. #readathon
11:43 PM Apr 18th from TweetDeck in reply to toofondofbooks

@mawbooks I’m so jealous! Didn’t think to pick myself up a treat. Sigh…
11:47 PM Apr 18th from TweetDeck in reply to mawbooks

@BiblioBrat I love the queen! #readathon
11:49 PM Apr 18th from TweetDeck in reply to BiblioBrat

@blondierocket We can do it!
11:49 PM Apr 18th from TweetDeck in reply to blondierocket

ARG! Keep forgetting my #readathon
11:50 PM Apr 18th from TweetDeck

dogear pg 32 #readathon
11:57 PM Apr 18th from TweetDeck

No, but 28 – 30 did. Hmmm.. No underlining. Phew… #readathon
11:59 PM Apr 18th from TweetDeck

LOL pg 33 #readathon
12:01 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck

LOL pg 34 as well #readathon
12:02 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck

@TiBookChatter How was the Diet Dr. Pepper? #readathon
12:02 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck in reply to TiBookChatter

dogear pg 38 #readathon
12:08 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck

dogear pg 44 #readathon no discernible connection 2 quotes. short attention span?
12:21 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck

@TiBookChatter And what did you think of it? #readathon
12:28 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck in reply to TiBookChatter

snigger pg 48 #readathon
12:29 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck

@TiBookChatter I didn’t care for the ending at all. Enjoyed the audio book to that point, though. I loved the idea of the letters.
12:31 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck in reply to TiBookChatter

dogear ppg 53 #readathon
12:47 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck

giggle pg 54 #readathon
12:40 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck

dogear pg 60 #readathon
12:38 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck

@DevourerofBooks Oh no! half way done and loving it – despite the d0gears. So many for such a short book. Spoiled by ARCs…
12:53 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck in reply to DevourerofBooks

@DevourerofBooks What are you reading now? #readathon
12:53 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck in reply to DevourerofBooks

All readathoners – what are yuo reading now? #readathon
12:54 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck

giggle pg 63 #readathon
12:55 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck

@jennsbookshelf Is it good? I’ve not heard of it #readathon
12:58 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck in reply to jennsbookshelf

@theseventhl I bet that is really funny. #readathon
12:58 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck in reply to theseventhl

@Tasses Dump it! Read-a-Thon is too short for crap! LOL #readthon
12:59 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck in reply to Tasses

@DevourerofBooks You’ve been reading a good deal of Plaidy. Is she good?
12:59 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck in reply to DevourerofBooks

@Shannan79 Enjoy your snooze. Get in a few zzzzs for me, please. :) #readathon
1:06 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck in reply to Shannan79

@TiBookChatter That’s always the best way. #readathon
1:14 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck in reply to TiBookChatter

dogear pg 75 #readathon
1:15 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck

Seriously chewing bubble gum to stay awake. #readathon
1:32 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck

@DarElaine Not so much after the sugary taste left… What r kids going 2 say when it’s gone? 3AM road trip to Exxon station #readathon
1:47 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck in reply to DarElaine

One of my non-readathoners just posted about sleeping in her own bed. The dark side is calling me! #readathon
1:48 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck

@muse2323 If I eat any more of my kids’ candy tonight, they will tar and feather me tomorrow. I’m telling ya, kids these days are vicious!
1:50 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck in reply to muse2323

@TiBookChatter SOS! please slap me or something…
1:59 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck in reply to TiBookChatter

@SayHelloBeanty LOL!!!! They mostly come out at night. Mostly. #readathon
2:00 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck in reply to SayHelloBeanty

@DevourerofBooks You go, girl! I’m fizzling out right now. I need a breath of fresh are soon or it’s over for me.
2:00 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck in reply to DevourerofBooks

dogear pg 84 #readathon
2:03 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck

@Worducopia Shall we wager on the number of seconds that will take? :) #readathon
2:05 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck in reply to Worducopia

giggle pg 89 #readathon
2:07 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck

dogear pg 90 #readathon
2:08 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck

@Worducopia Good luck with that. I wouldn’t make it to get both earplugs in… LOL!
2:08 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck in reply to Worducopia

great gigles for Prince Phillip pg 97 #readathon
2:18 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck

Surprised no one has snagged A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick yet. from the book prizes. Would be one of my first picks. #readathon
2:23 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck

@Vasilly I’m with you. My arms are getting sluggish. How many pages now? #readathon
2:27 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck in reply to Vasilly

@Vasilly Just 348, but I have 1 hour & 45 minutes of audio also. Lagging after finishing Boneman’s Daughters. Enjoying Q Eliz II Unco Rdr
2:32 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck in reply to Vasilly

@DevourerofBooks I would, but then I’d get too comfortable. I could fall asleep right now as it is. :)
2:35 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck in reply to DevourerofBooks

“Who is above literature? You might as well say one is above humanity.” pg 114 Another great royal quote Uncom Rdr #readathon
2:45 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck

The Uncommon Reader – Finished and Enjoyed #readathon
2:52 AM Apr 19th from TweetDeck

*******
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13 Comments

  • At 2009.05.12 07:38, rhapsodyinbooks said:

    It sounds like a delightful book, and your tweets were fun to read!

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    • At 2009.05.12 07:56, Violet said:

      I have been wanting to read this book too, glad you enjoyed it too. Wasn’t Twitter so much fun during read-a-thon. Loved reading your tweets.

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      • At 2009.05.12 08:12, Sandy said:

        I keep hearing about this book again and again, and has been toted the “book lovers book”. I don’t much more persuasion.

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        • At 2009.05.12 08:48, Kathy said:

          Your Twitter review is too much fun. I really enjoyed The Uncommon Reader too.

          • At 2009.05.12 10:22, Vasilly said:

            The Uncommon Reader is such a great book. It was a library book when I read it or else there would have been passages underlined on every other page.

            I had to laugh reading the tweets. Twitter was such a great part of the read-a-thon this year.

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            • At 2009.05.12 17:19, Marg said:

              This is definitely a fun book, and definitely a book lovers book!

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              • At 2009.05.13 13:09, Serena (Savvy Verse & Wit) said:

                i really adored this book. I’ve added a link to your review here: http://www.savvyverseandwit.com/2009/02/uncommon-reader-by-alan-bennett.html

                This would have been a great book to read during the read-a-thon…too bad I already read it by then. Thanks for this review.

                I really loved how Bennett made it easy to relate to the queen and her love of reading.

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                • At 2009.05.13 16:29, Sheri said:

                  I read and reviewed this one, too! I borrowed it from Lisa at Books on the Brain. I know that she reviewed it as well. Here’s my review: http://anovelmenagerie.com/ghost/2009/03/30/book-review-the-uncommon-reader/

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                  • At 2009.05.14 10:49, Jen - Devourer of Books said:

                    I really wish I’d actually picked up this book, instead of the audio. A book that is a love letter to books and readers should be experienced first hand, I think, not with someone else reading it to you.

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                    • At 2009.05.21 21:50, Marcia said:

                      This is another one that’s been hanging out on my wish list for a while.

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                      • At 2009.05.25 07:31, Dawn - She is Too Fond of Books said:

                        LOL at the transcript from Twitter during readathon … that was so much fun!

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                        • […] Chaucer, the cockatiel on his shoulder all day long (again, presumed).  I had wanted a new copy of The Uncommon Reader since the dog-ears on the second-hand copy I had nearly drove me whacky.  He didn’t have a […]

                          • At 2010.04.06 18:56, The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett said:

                            […] Blanket Behold, the thing that reads a lot A Comfy Chair and a Good Book One Literature Nut Literate Housewife Bibliofreak Copyright of Serena M. Agusto-Cox at Savvy Verse & Wit 2007-2010. This is not […]

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