The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
The “Uncommon Reader” is a quirky little book about Queen Elizabeth II, who becomes an avid reader in her 80’s, and her life takes a dramatic turn when she discovers the pleasure of reading. At the beginning, the Queen was not a big fan at all; she had never taken much interest in reading, her feeling was that liking books is "something that should be left to other people." Due to this new obsession, she begins to ignore her formal duties much to the dismay of her staff. Her worried staff tries to pry her off her reading obsession as they feel it is hindering her from performing her formal duties and they feel it is inappropriate for a woman of her stature. Though the book features a main character that is living in a much different time and has a completely different lifestyle than most readers, it still manages to be engaging and relatable. In this delightful novel, Alan Bennett, explores reading and their effects on our lives as he develops this imaginative and warmly humorous scenario. Though the "uncommon reader" is the Queen, her reactions to reading are so true-to-life and so plausible that Author accomplishes a feat rarely even attempted, he makes the reader identify with the Queen and root for her success as a bibliophile. This novel captures both the joy of reading and the frustration reader’s face in the company of nonreaders. He also aims to show how much reading can transform a person, as well as how an informed reader can transform a book. It is a gloriously entertaining narrative, but it is also much more a deadly 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 or should that be one to break out from the constraints of upbringing, class and education and lead the life always wanted. As the Queen expands her reading under the direction of Norman, she becomes less interested in day-to-day activities, even...
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